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Divorcing Parents And Understanding Parental Alienation

family law attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmWhen one parent tries to turn a child against the other parent it is called parental alienation. Parental alienation can occur in a divorce especially if there is a custody battle going on.  Sometimes one parent hopes to gain full custody of the children by poisoning their minds against the other parent and hoping the children will choose not to stay with that parent.  Behavior that amounts to parental alienation can and usually does  backfire and you could lose custody in the process if proven.

What happens during parental alienation? 

There are three sides involved in parental alienation; the alienating parent is the one who is poisoning the child’s mind, the target parent is at the receiving end, and the child or children caught in the middle. When a couple has divorced they might get joint custody of a child or one might get full custody and the other visitation rights. In a case where one parent is not happy with the arrangement and wants the other parent out of the child’s life completely he or she might resort to parental alienation.

If for example the mother who has custody doesn’t want her ex involved with her children in any way she might tell her children unpleasant things about their father. Talking about their father as irresponsible, lazy, abusive and maybe even violent could make the children not want to see their father again. It is possible that the mother is not wrong but there could be a different way to approach the situation like supervised visits or requesting that the father get rehabilitation.

The other scenario is that the mother is making up a lot of things just to turn her children against their father. But what she is doing in both cases is depriving the children of one parent and also causing them a lot of emotional distress. Constant alienating tactics could emotionally scar children for the rest of their lives.

What are the consequences? 

If it can be proven that the alienating parent is emotionally damaging the child or children it is quite possible that Child Protective Services could remove the child from his or her custody. Alienating a former spouse simply to eliminate them from your life completely could cost you losing your kids altogether. Parental alienation can be considered a form of child abuse and the parent responsible might lose all contact with their child or children as a result of it.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated! Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

divorce_attorneyGerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.

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