Even though most parents prioritize the emotional well-being of their kids, everyone makes mistakes. You may even lie awake at night thinking of things you could have or should have done differently. Still, as long as you provide for the best interests of your kids, you may have a good shot at receiving the custody arrangement you want.
Sometimes, though, divorced or divorcing parents use the kids as pawns. That is, one parent either intentionally or inadvertently tries to turn the children against their other parent. Known as parental alienation, this type of behavior may be catastrophic for a child custody case.
Common examples of parental alienation
Parental alienation is not usually a single comment or off-handed action, as alienating behaviors are typically part of a disturbing pattern. Still, if you or your children’s other parent do any of the following regularly, parental alienation may be an issue:
- Preventing the other parent from seeing the kids
- Excluding the other parent from ordinary parent-child activities and functions
- Telling the kids they cannot trust the other parent
- Making up false information about the other parent
- Asking the children to choose sides or spy on the other parent
Your child custody case
If you and your children’s other parents cannot come up with an acceptable custody agreement, a judge may have to intervene. In New York, judges must make custody determinations that align with the best interests of the involved children. Because it often constitutes psychological child abuse, parental alienation is not in any child’s best interests.
It can be difficult to change behaviors, but you do not want to engage in parental alienation. Ultimately, though, if your children’s co-parent continues to misbehave, evidence of his or her parental alienation may persuade a judge to award custody to you.