Child Custody Issues: What is Parental Alienation?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

October 23, 2020

Child custody and visitation negotiations often bring out the ugly in people. When you are faced with a court order that only allows you to see your child part-time, you are likely to feel angry and bitter. These emotions may even lead to parental alienation syndrome, which can create a major rift between you and your child.

If you suspect your child’s other parent is alienating your son or daughter against you, reach out to a child custody lawyer right away. At Breeden Law Office, we will listen to your situation and help determine the best course of action. To schedule a consultation, call our office at (919) 661-4970, or reach out online.

With over 20 years experience and local offices in Raleigh, Garner, Angier, and Smithfield, attorney Jonathan Breeden has helped countless individuals successfully resolve their custody issues so they can move on with their lives.

Parental Alienation: Causes & Consequences

Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to turn their child against the other by telling the child hurtful lies. Alienating parents may manipulate their children into believing their other parent is not a good person and doesn’t love them.

Parental alienation can be devastating, and it can cause children to:

  • Refuse to see the alienated parent, even if visitation dictates that they must
  • Get disproportionately angry at the alienated parent for small slights
  • Ignore or refuse gifts or special treats from the parent
  • Consider the alienated parent to be a bad person, while maintaining that the alienating parent is a good person
  • Disbelieve any evidence that refutes the claims that the alienated parent is an unsavory character

Examples of Parental Alienation

The alienating parent will often fill their child’s head with negative thoughts about their other parent, potentially causing irreparable damage to their relationship. Alienating parents may even resort to extreme measures, such as:

  • Refusing to allow the child to see the alienated parent
  • Punishing the child for defending or spending time with the alienated parent
  • Withholding affection from the child when they spend time with the alienated parent
  • Heaping privileges on the child when they reject the alienated parent

How to Deal with Parental Alienation

Because it is not recognized as an actual disorder, parental alienation can be difficult to prove in court. But that does not mean you cannot do anything if you suspect your child’s other parent of alienating you.

It’s important to remember that your custody agreement cannot be modified unless you request a modification from the court or mutually agree to amendments. If your child is being kept away from visits because their other parent is attempting to alienate you, you can take legal action.

Below are some remedies to explore:

  • Seek custody modification from the court. The court generally doesn’t modify agreements unless a significant change has occurred, so be sure to come prepared. Keep a log of the visits your child has missed, or show proof that you requested in writing that your child’s other parent allows you to see your child and you were denied.
  • Request the court find your child’s other parent in contempt. If the other parent is not abiding by the visitation agreement, they can be found in contempt of court and possibly impose sanctions against them.
  • You can ask the court for counseling. If your relationship with your child has been damaged, you can request that the court provide a counselor to help you rebuild it.

Contact a North Carolina Family Lawyer Today

If you’re a victim of parental alienation, don’t take matters into your own hands. Instead, seek help from a North Carolina child custody lawyer at Breeden Law Office. Attorney Jonathan Breeden has years of experience helping families across North Carolina, and he is prepared to help you.

He will do what we can to end your mistreatment and restore a loving relationship with your child.

To schedule consultation, contact us today at (919) 661-4970.


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