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Are You Guilty of Parental Alienation?

When spouses get divorced, it’s not uncommon for them to harbor a lot of resentment. Often, such resentment stems from infidelity, lying, financial irresponsibility, emotional abuse, narcissism, and so on. While it’s healthy to vent about these frustrations to a licensed therapist, it’s not healthy for parents to project their emotions on their children because when they do, it hurts their kids and it can hurt their divorce case.

Parental alienation is a common byproduct of divorce, especially a contested divorce, and it’s the act of one parent putting down the other parent to their children. Complaining or making harsh and sometimes “truthful” comments are human nature, but when it comes to parenting and divorce, they can backfire in more ways than one.

Examples of parental alienation include:

  • Badmouthing the other parent to the children
  • Scheduling activities and parties during the other parent’s court-ordered parenting time
  • Telling the children they don’t have to listen to or obey the other parent
  • Speaking poorly of the other parent’s significant other
  • Starting fights with the alienated parent during pick-ups and drop-offs
  • Intentionally withholding information about the children from the alienated parent
  • Not letting the children contact the alienated parent whenever they want

A lot of parents engage in parental alienation unconsciously. If you’re doing any of the above and you’re in the middle of a divorce or you’re already divorced, our advice is to stop immediately. In recent years, the courts have become highly aware of parental alienation and they do not view it in a favorable light.

Parental Alienation & Child Custody

As we mentioned earlier, the courts are very aware of parental alienation. In some cases, an alienating parent can be charged with contempt of court and they can even lose custody. This is because the courts know that parental alienation can have long-term psychological effects on children.

Next: Best Advice for Divorcing Parents

If you need legal advice or representation in a child custody or divorce case, contact Cutter & Lax at (818) 839-2533.


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