If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are not able to come up with a custody arrangement during your divorce negotiations, you may have to ask a judge to decide for you. In New York, judges have a legal obligation to determine what is in the best interests of the children. Parental alienation certainly is not.
According to many child psychologists, parental alienation is a form of emotional child abuse. When a parent engages in alienating behaviors, he or she actively tries to turn the kids against the other parent. If you have evidence of parental alienation, a judge may intervene to protect your kids.
How does parental alienation look?
It is impossible to identify a single behavior as parental alienation, as this type of parental misconduct requires a pattern or practice of bad acts. Still, if your ex-spouse does one or more of the following regularly, you may be the victim of parental alienation:
- Telling your kids you are a bad, untrustworthy or dangerous person
- Asking your children to spy on you and disclose details
- Preventing you from attending normal parental functions and activities
- Prohibiting your kids from talking to you
- Keeping you from seeing your children
How does parental alienation affect child custody?
When determining what is in the best interests of the children, judges look at a number of factors. Nevertheless, a parent who sabotages the other parent’s relationship with the kids is probably not acting in their best interests.
Ultimately, proof of alienating behaviors may give you legal grounds to seek sole custody, supervised visitation or other arrangements that do not harm the kids.