Parental alienation syndrome is when one parent bad-mouths the other, forcing negative thoughts into their child’s mind. Though it is not a form of physical abuse, the results devastate the child and the alienated parent.
A judge’s view on parental alienation is that it is treated like a child abuse case, and the result will move toward the benefit of what is best for the child in any abuse situation. There are three things a judge will consider when reviewing the case.
- The thoughts, feelings, emotions, and wishes of the child.
- Is the child exposed to harm?
- Are both parents able to care for the child? The court will look for instabilities in parenting techniques.
The Damages Parental Alienation Does to a Child
Everyone who has children or has been around children knows they are sponges. They constantly watch and learn everything, whether you realize it or not. Unfortunately, many pick up bad habits from their parents. One of those habits is known as parental alienation syndrome.
Divorce and separations happen at an alarming rate, according to the statistics. When this happens, one parent may have harsh feelings toward the other and put down negative or false impressions in the child’s mind. The sad thing is that parental alienation can still occur even though a divorce attorney isn’t brought in, a separation doesn’t happen and the couple is married and still together.
The alienated parent will not get the child’s complete affection, love, and respect they deserve. Likewise, the child will miss out on a relationship with the alienated parent, and when or if the child realizes it one day, they will turn on the parent who puts the negative thoughts or falsehoods in their mind.
It is a mind game of control from one parent over the other, and the child is stuck in the middle. This causes a lost relationship between the child and both parents. It will take a long time to heal that relationship; some never do. All parties get hurt in the end.
Proving Parental Alienation Syndrome in Court
Since there is no physical evidence left on the child, it will take effort on the alienated parent’s part to prove parental alienation syndrome in court. An attorney who handles these cases will know what to look for and how to assist.
Testimony of Witnesses
In alienation cases, the parent who is the victim is a witness, and the child who is used as a pawn in the mind games is the primary witness. All of the information from the parent, who is the victim, is the testimony in court.
If the child is of age to speak, the judge may communicate with the child or have a professional counselor discuss their findings from the child’s point of view if it is not too far gone. The only time the child will not be a credible witness is when the alienation has gone too far. Usually, it is the time when the child becomes a teenager and is brainwashed.
Other family members or friends may also be witnesses if they notice something troubling the child. They can speak on behalf of the victim as testimony, and the judge will consider all the information from both sides.
There are several ways a court uses the documentation from the alienated parent to prove their case. Emails and text messages are the primary sources, but some can go as far as social media.
The alienated parent can also use a calendar or a journal to document dates and times along with brief notes as to the occurrences of each situation. Children over 13 have journals and social media these days, which are also included as evidence of documentation.
Undergoing Therapy for Reunification
It is challenging to change the mind of anyone brainwashed into stepping back into what is real. A child who relies on their parents for teaching and lessons in life must learn how to forgive. It is hard for adults, but it could take years for therapy to work in some situations where the child is told wrong.
Reuniting with an alienated parent can be an awkward situation. A child can go so far as to resent the parent who is alienated, and the same applies to the one who is the alienator. It only takes a few phrases to harm a child, but the repercussions sometimes take years to erase.
Sometimes the judge may not even have to speak with the child. The therapist’s testimony alone will suffice. If the judge sees that the therapy is working, they will order continued therapy for healing in the broken family.
The Litigation Process
If therapy is going to be a long process or may show signs of not working correctly, litigation may be the only option left. The victim must stay in contact with their attorney, and the attorney will reach out to the alienating parent or their attorney to inform them of the following steps: litigation.
The victim’s attorney will discuss the findings, evidence, and possible outcomes the court may decide. It is the first impression to all the parties involved on which direction the case will take. Knowing that the victim’s lawyer is weighty on the stance taken, the alienating party may back down or fight back in court.
It will make the parent think about their options if they can lose child custody because of parental alienation. Since it is a form of child abuse, the alienating parent will lose custody if the case is proven in court.
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If one parent resents the other, it is their responsibility to make it work for the parent who does not have custody. No loving parent should be pushed away from their child and vice versa. They have the right to be a part of the child’s life, too, as long as they are not abusive or harmful to the child.