Parental Alienation in Hanover Child Custody Cases
In many parental alienation cases, aggrieved ex-partners punish the other parent by emotionally or physically separating them from their kids. Fathers may manipulate children into believing their mothers do not care for them properly, or mothers might refuse a father’s rights to reasonable visitation by making the children believe their father was abusive and controlling. Whether you’re the person you are supposed to be co-parenting with is taking these harmful actions because they seek a leg up during litigation, want to hurt you, or wish to have control over you, a dedicated family lawyer could raise a parental alienation claim in your Hanover child custody case. With over 25 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our experienced child custody attorneys are prepared to handle various scenarios involving the different levels of parental alienation and take legal action if the other parent is impacting your ability to see your children.
What is Parental Alienation?
Building a healthy parent-child relationship requires co-parents to support each other’s access to their children and encourage the children to love each parent regardless of the parent’s relationship ending. This support may include facilitating weekly video calls, encouraging the children to spend time with the other parent, and ensuring both parents stay involved in the major decisions over the child’s life. Parental alienation occurs when one parent acts in a manner to interfere with the children’s relationship with the other parent. At a low level, these types of actions may be done without malice; for example, if there are little negative comments made to the children, “God, you’re so much like your mother – you cannot listen to anything” or “Go talk to your father, he doesn’t pay enough in child support to actually support you.” Those habits tend to advance as both the person saying them and the children start to internalize them.
At a high level of alienation, the child may actually believe the negative things that have been told to them by the custodial parent to the point the child blatantly refuses to see the parent. When it gets to this point, it is very hard to address because the child’s beliefs about the other parent have to first be remedied and then a new relationship must be built. Hard does not mean impossible, but if you’re in a situation where you believe your child’s other parent is interfering with your relationship, it is better to act early.
While Massachusetts General Law Chapter 208, §31 states that courts should typically assume that it is in the child’s best interests for both parents to have equal legal and physical custodial rights, this is not true in parental abuse and misconduct cases. There have been a number of judges who are looking at this direct interference at the same level of physical abuse and removing children from the home of the parent purposefully manipulating the children. A Hanover attorney can help parents who have been unlawfully alienated from their children request, modify, or enforce a child custody order.
Submitting Evidence of Alienation in Child Custody Cases
If one parent violates a court order or takes action contrary to the child’s best interests, this may constitute grounds to file a contempt action or alter the current custody arrangement. Judges must consider the parents’ abilities to work together when making shared custody determinations, and attempted alienation of children goes can greatly influence this decision. Our local attorneys may recommend gathering the following evidence of parental alienation during child custody cases:
- Texts and phone records between the two parents
- Emails, texts, or other messages to children and their responses
- Any evidence of attempted contact or relationship building, such as cards and birthday gifts
- Sworn statements from friends, neighbors, or family members with direct knowledge of the attempted alienation
- Direct statements from alienated parents about attempts to enforce their rights
- Medical or educational records showing that the custodial parent is making unilateral legal decisions
Solutions to Emotional and Physical Alienation of a Parent
Many times, when there is a dispute about a parenting schedule, parents may attend mediation with a qualified lawyer to discuss their concerns and draft a new parental responsibilities plan. In cases involving parental alienation, mediation is not possible in the beginning because parental alienation is often about manipulation and control, not working together to resolve disputes fairly. In most of these cases, the parent who is being alienated must get the court to intervene as early as possible.
During these proceedings, a judge may warn the guilty party about the consequences of continued parental alienation and monitor the child custody case for additional violations. These cases are not easy and are emotional to go through. The sooner the behavior is addressed, the quicker you can usually see results. The longer the behavior has been ongoing generally requires a much longer path within the court system. One of our lawyers in Hanover can also file an order to show cause that requests the parent accused of alienation to explain their behaviors and remedy them as necessary through a contempt action. Generally, if one parent shows a blatant disregard for a co-parent’s rights, the court may alter the legal and physical custody arrangement. However, if you’ve waited years to address this type of behavior, be aware that there is no quick fix.
Speak with a Hanover Attorney about Parental Alienation during Child Custody Cases
Children suffer the most when they lose access to a parent during critical developmental years. The other parent has a responsibility to work with you to facilitate a parent-child relationship, especially when children are being difficult. A lawyer from O’Connor Family Law can review your situation and determine how to approach parental alienation during your Hanover child custody case. Whether you need help negotiating a new custody plan, defending against abuse allegations, or enforcing your visitation and custody rights, contact our extraordinary team today because we can help you.