Parenting during and after a divorce can be challenging for anyone. After all, you have to work diligently to ensure that your kids have the tools they need to adjust to a new way of life. Furthermore, you may have to put up with a co-parent who behaves irrationally. Either way, you must know about parental alienation and how it may affect your custody matter.
In California, parental alienation is serious business. Parental alienation occurs when one parent denigrates the other parent to harm that parent’s relationship with the children. Judges in California typically do not look fondly on this type of behavior, at it poses the risk of causing long-term emotional harm to the kids.
Types of parental alienation
Emotions are often raw before, during and immediately after divorce proceedings. That is, either you or your ex-spouse may have strong feelings. Still, no one should use the kids as pawns. While parental alienation can take many different forms, here are some common types:
- Asking the kids to monitor the other parent and report back.
- Telling the children that the other parent does not care for them.
- Intentionally excluding the other parent from important childcare activities.
- Ranting to the children about the other parent's actions.
The effect on custody disputes
If you and your former partner disagree about either legal custody or physical placement, you may need a judge to intervene. Unfortunately, if there are allegations of parental alienation, the judge may appoint a guardian ad litem to conduct an investigation. If the investigation finds the existence of parental alienation that runs counter to the best interests of the kids, the alienating parent may lose some custody rights.
Clearly, if you want to raise well-adjusted kids, both you and your ex-spouse should never engage in parental alienation. If it is present in your custody dispute, though, there may be a significant effect on the outcome of the matter.