Are you contemplating divorce or in the middle of a divorce, or do you have a custody order already from your divorce? And are you experiencing a child who’s suddenly showing up at your house hostile and parroting your ex’s views about you? Hi, I’m Marie Drake of The Drake Law Firm, and today I’m going to talk to you about what we call parental alienation here in Colorado, and not just talk to you, but tell you how to prevent it, and what to do if it’s occurring.
What is parental alienation in Colorado? Well, it can be where one parent inappropriately tries to turn the child against the other parent, either by criticizing other parent in front of the child or lying about the other parent in front of the child or exaggerating or telling inappropriate facts about the other parent to the child. All of it has the same goal. And that goal is to increase the loyalty of the child to the parent who’s doing the alienating and to turn the child against the other parent. That’s the goal.
Another example of parental alienation is when you are spending your parenting time with your child and doing something fun or not or just sitting down for dinner, and the other parent won’t stop pinging and DMing and texting and calling your child. And that’s during your parenting time to interrupt it and to constantly sort of try to control things. When that’s going on that can be deemed parental alienation as well.
Unfortunately, parental alienation is more common than you think. 13.4% of parents report that they have experienced some kind of parental alienation from one or more of their children. And of those, of that 13.4%, 48% of those parents say it’s severe and extreme. This can be prevented. You two can sit down. You can actually talk first and say, “Hey, let’s make sure we’re not discussing anything in front of the kids.” Even teenagers, maybe especially teenagers, but you just want to behave like adults. And remember, you need to co parent these kids for a number of years following the divorce unless everybody’s exactly nineteen years old. So get it together, behave like adults, and don’t engage a parental alienation.
If you’ve already tried to work this out in a reasonable manner, tried coparenting, and it’s still going on, and it is, of course, parental alienation, then you can bring it to the attention of the court. Courts take a dim view of a parent who’s doing this because it’s an intentional, deliberate way to try to alienate what’s called the affection of the other parent. Don’t do it. But if you’ve already tried to reason out with your ex and they won’t do it, then it’s time to bring it to the attention of the court. And the court will punish the alienating parent. I’ve seen it over and over again. They hate to see this happen. So don’t let it.
If you suspect your spouse or soon-to-be-ex spouse is trying to alienate your child from you, then call an experienced child custody lawyer. We here at The Drake Law Firm are standing by, and our team is ready to take your calls on this. We like to try to nip this in the bud and recommend to our clients to do that. So give us a call today. We look forward to talking to you and to making sure this doesn’t happen in your relationship with your child.