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How to Fight Parental Alienation in Child Custody

by | Jan 28, 2020 | Family Law Attorney, News and Events

Difficult child custody matters can take a turn for the worse when one parent begins to manipulate a child to dislike or even hate the other parent. This is called parental alienation and can be devastating for both the alienated parent and the child.

It’s estimated that 11-15% of divorces with children involve parental alienation. This manipulation can cause children to experience anxiety, depression, self-harming behaviors, and may result in the development of more challenging disorders, such as borderline or narcissistic personality disorder.

If your child has been weaponized against you by the other parent, here’s what you can do.

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How to Fight the Manipulation of Your Child Against You

Challenging parental alienation is difficult but necessary to preserve the relationship between you and your child. Maintaining a meaningful relationship with both parents is in your child’s best interests and essential to their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Make sure you:

Keep a Detailed Journal of Interactions

Keep a journal that details the interactions between you and your child’s custodial parent. Write down dates, times, and what you remember about conversations, even if they’re pleasant. It’s particularly important to record information about interactions when the custodial parent denies you access to your child and what excuse they used. You should also write down any concerning interactions between you and your child that could indicate manipulation, such as your child repeating verbal abuse toward you that they heard from the other parent.

Do Not Violate Any Court Orders

Don’t give your ex any ammunition to use to further alienate you from your child. Be sure to adhere to all court orders, even if your child’s other parent does not. It may be tempting to keep your child past the agreed-upon drop-off time if your ex does allow you visitation, but this could result in parental kidnapping charges, even if you didn’t intend to keep your child much longer.

Communicate with Your Child’s Other Parent in Writing

Avoid phone calls to your ex as much as possible and communicate with them in a form that has a paper trail, such as texts or email. Ideally, you’re using a co-parenting app that logs all communications and can be accessed by the court at any time. Insist that any agreement be made in writing, even if it’s something seemingly small like taking your child to a particular place during your visitation time.

Attend Counseling

Being alienated from your child by their custodial parent can be emotionally draining. Seeking counseling can help you deal with overwhelming emotions in a healthy way. Being proactive about obtaining mental health and support services can also strengthen your case. Consider inviting your ex to also attend counseling to show the court you’re working toward amicable co-parenting.

Remain Persistent

Fighting against parental alienation can take a long time. Child custody cases tend to be drawn out and expensive, and the parent doing the manipulating often has the upper hand with primary physical and legal custody. It can be discouraging to feel like you aren’t making progress, but it’s important to continue to pursue your child’s best interests as long as you’re able.

Work with an Experienced Long Island Child Custody Lawyer

Legally, your child’s custodial parent cannot violate your court order, even if they consider it to be in the child’s best interests to remain in their custody as much as possible. If your ex does not allow you to see your child during court-sanctioned visitation times, you may be able to have your ex held in contempt. Work with an experienced custody lawyer who can aggressively pursue the maximum penalty against your ex for the violation of your court order.

Call Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Today for Help Fighting Parental Alienation

Is your ex manipulating your child to turn against you? You’re not alone. Many frustrated and heartbroken Long Island parents also deal with the issue of parental alienation. Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. can help you protect your rights as a parent and fight for your relationship with your child. We’ve helped numerous alienated parents restore parent-child relationships and prevent their exes from manipulating their children to hate them. Call now for a consultation at 631-923-1910.


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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
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Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
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Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
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Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
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Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
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