The Law Offices of Brian A. Grady, P.C.
Attorney At Law
Itasca Bank & Trust Building
9 East Irving Park Road
Roselle, IL. 60172
Phone:(630) 351 - 4466
Fax: (630) 894 - 2528
During the process of a divorce or separation, the experience can be painstaking
and grueling; but nothing can be more awful than when the process begins to
negatively effect your children. It's sad but true that children can become pawns in the
game of divorce. Your son or daughter should never be subjected to such
manipulation. That is why courts are beginning to recognize a phenomenon called
"parental alienation" or "hostile aggressive parenting".
Parental alienation, in its most common form, is when the custodial parent fosters
negative feelings in his/her child toward the other parent. Parental alienation may be
happening if one parent is having these thoughts or feelings:
- "My ex is manipulating my kid."
- "My ex is turning my kids against me."
- "My ex "talks trash" behind my back to our kids."
- "My ex is not letting me see my son or daughter."
- "My ex humiliates and disrespects me in public."
Sadly enough, most children are not mature or keen enough to see what is really
going on. Most commonly it is the custodial parent who is the manipulator, because
they have the most opportunity, though that is not always the case.
"Parental alienation" has some profound impacts on the affected parent's life.
First, the court (depending on the age of the child) may listen to the wishes and desire
of the manipulated child when deciding a visitation schedule. Second, visitation
orders may pennit a child to forgo a visit with the non-custodial parent if the child
does not want to go. Third (and most importantly), a child may write off the other
parent and the relation becomes irreparably damaged.
Is there hope? Yes. Courts are beginning to admit evidence and theories of
"parental alienation". Some courts have determined that the phenomenon of "parental
alienation" has gained enough credence in the psychological community that it must
be considered by the court when making its decision about custody and visitation.
Although courts have given credibility to such a theory, the affected parent still must
prove his or her case. That is why having an experienced and knowledgeable family
law attorney is paramount to proving your side of the story.
What difference will proving "parental alienation syndrome" have on my case?
Depending on the circumstances, it most likely will have a significant impact. When a
court is determining custody and visitation, it tries to determine what is in the best
interest of the child. Having a malicious parent that is trying to use their child for their
own selfish end, that is not in the best interest of the child. Depending on the exact
circumstances, the court may order counseling or it may grant the other parent custody
of the child/children.
The most important resource you can rely on is your family law attorney.
An experienced family law attorney will know:
- which expert should be consulted;
- What facts should be recounted in order to prove your case;
- the laws regarding the admissibility of evidence; and
- the best legal strategy for your situation.
It is also important for the affected parents to have other resources as well. You can inform
yourself on parental alienation through websites such as this one,
http://www.paawareness.org. It also crucial to have emotional support through family,
friends, and support groups. Finally and most importantly, do not stoop to the level of
the other parent if you believe your ex is turning your child against you. It may feel
good to get back at your ex, but it will only hurt you and your children in the long run.