Parental alienation occurs almost exclusively with family separation or divorce, particularly where legal action is involved.

Legal Recourse To Parental Alienation

In the state of California, parental alienation is seen as an act in which a parent may attempt to isolate their child/children by keeping them away from their spouse or the other parent. This can be done through the use of certain behavior or words that lead to estrangement and hostility or create a rift between the child and the parent.

The issue of parental alienation is a very serious one and could have a long-term impact on the child(ren), including poor self-esteem, depression, self-hatred, addiction and self-abuse. It is critical to identify the signs pointing towards parental alienation at an early stage. Doing so may help prevent it from causing significant damage.

Psychologists suggest that parental alienation is usually initiated by four categories of parents:

1) Narcissistic parent from an unseparated family

2) Rejecting/abusive parent from an unseparated family

3) Narcissistic parent from a separated or divorced family

4) Rejecting/abusive parent from a separated or divorced family

The Legal Solution To Parental Alienation

It is important to understand that the American Psychological Association does not recognize Parental Alienation as a syndrome. Hence, it is not legally a type of mental disorder. However, regardless of whether ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’ exists as a real syndrome or not, the courts in California acknowledge the damaging effects of alienation of a parent. When faced with alienation claims, the Court usually begins the course of action by determining the reason for the child being alienated. It then goes on to find ways of remedying and repairing the estranged relationship so that each parent’s role can be established in child-raising.

According to experts, parental alienation may occur at three different levels: mild, moderate, and severe parental alienation. When there is mild or moderate parental alienation, therapy is often suggested as the first solution to undo damages. The child/children and the estranged parent are also made to spend more time with each other to rebuild their relationship.

In such cases, experts usually provide child custody evaluations in order to comprehend the seriousness of the case. Once these evaluations are completed, they make recommendations such as therapy and certain times shared for improving the child-parent relationship.

When the parental alienation case is extremely serious, the only actual solution is the removal of the child/children from the alienating parent’s house and placing them with the victimized parent. The parent who is initiating the alienation in such cases usually lacks remorse and empathy. He/she will not stop damaging the child/children and will do everything possible to prevent them from establishing a healthy relationship with their other parent.

Finding Witnesses To Prove Parental Alienation

Proving the occurrence of parental alienation is critical. For this, you need to look for witnesses who can testify regarding the abrupt change in the attitude of the child/children towards you.

Besides this, your attorney should also call upon a psychologist and mental health expert as a witness. He/she will be able to testify that the alienating parent has attempted to influence the child/children against you. Several judges in California may order a detailed psychological assessment that brings forth the flagrancy of the issue.

When dealing with parental alienation, here are some things you should keep in mind:

1) Avoid getting angry

2) Create a detailed log of daily events, particularly those including instances of abuse or domestic violence

3) Don’t bring up any legal matters when talking to your child

4) Instead of blaming the child, offer maximum support to them. This may include taking them to an experienced child therapist who has dealt with parental alienation before

5) Obey every court order, such as child support and visitation time


Shulman Family Law Group