Can Gift Giving Be Parental Alienation?

Parents that purposefully compete with an ex-spouse in buying the best presents for the children may be participating in an illegal activity called parental alienation. The courts will typically value a child's opinion of which parent he or she wants to remain with post-divorce. In the midst of the divorce, parents may use gifts as a way to bribe children to their side.

For example, Mom buys her daughter a brand new bicycle for Christmas. The pink bike is everything that the child has ever wanted, and she is elated. When Dad hears about the bicycle, he decides he needs to top Mom, and purchased a puppy for the child. When he presents the little dog to her for Christmas, the father reminds her that the puppy must remain at his home, and that she cannot have the puppy if she lives with her mother. This is considered parental alienation because the father in this example is trying to sway his daughter to his side.

In other situations, a mother may buy her son a brand new Xbox, knowing that his father is only buying him a few new outfits. Young children often put a lot of value on gifts they are given, and may effectively make a decision for custody based on the gifts that they receive. If you suspect that your spouse is committing parental alienation, then you have the right to contact an attorney and start taking legal action.

If your ex-spouse is guilty of parental alienation, the courts may get involved or may disqualify that parent from being a contender for custody of the children. A San Fernando divorce lawyer at Cutter & Lax can help you to work through this situation following the holidays. Call the firm today to get a free case evaluation and get started working through this post-divorce dispute!