As a Louisiana parent who has filed for divorce, you want what’s best for your children. The court has your children’s best interests in mind and will make decisions accordingly. In a perfect world, parents would amicably negotiate terms of agreement for child custody, visitation and support, then part ways peacefully and move on in life. If one parent is not adhering to terms of agreement or is trying to turn the kids against the other parent, however, big problems can arise.
Parental alienation is a phrase that refers to an intentional scheme by one parent to turn children away from the other parent in a divorce. Such schemes can cause severe emotional and mental health trauma for kids, as well as for the parent who has fallen victim to the plan. In many cases, the parent doing the alienating may be disregarding a child custody order, in which case the court may decide to hold him or her in contempt.
Children fare best when parents share child custody
Unless your former spouse is an unfit parent (i.e., has a substance abuse problem, is abusive, etc.), the court may determine that you should have a shared child custody arrangement because this is typically the best scenario for most kids following a divorce. Depriving you of seeing your children without legitimate (and legally acceptable) reasons is unlawful and may be damaging to your children’s well-being. The following list shows examples of ways one parent might try to alienate children from their other parent:
- Telling kids that their other parent doesn’t love them and blames them for the divorce
- Denying children access to a parent or vice versa
- Not adhering to custody transfer but telling the kids the other parent didn’t show up or doesn’t want to see them
- Causing children to fear their other parent
- Constantly bad-mouthing the other parent
- Relocating the child without permission and refusing to provide contact info to the other parent
If you believe that your former spouse is trying to alienate your children from you following a divorce, you can bring the matter to the court’s attention.
How do children act when a parent is alienating them?
Uncovering a parental alienation scheme in a divorce can be difficult. It’s also challenging to prove allegations if you inform the court that you suspect your ex of such behavior. Your children might show symptoms of alienation, including those listed here:
- Refusing to see you
- Making excuses and always defending the other parent’s behavior
- Exhibiting anger and being argumentative toward you after spending time with the other parent
- Accusing you of not loving them or of lying to them
- Blaming you for the divorce
- Not calling, texting or communicating with you at a scheduled time
- Becoming reclusive when they’re in your home (e.g., staying in their room or not coming to the dinner table)
It can take a long time to recover from a parental alienation scheme following a Louisiana divorce. This is true for both children and victimized parents. The sooner you reach out for child custody support if you suspect this is happening, the better able to restore your relationship with your children you might be.