Our Family and Custody Lawyers Help with Parental Alienation in California

Research has shown that in the vast majority of circumstances, it is strongly in a child’s best interests to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents after a separation or divorce. The California courts have recognized the importance of children maintaining both parental relationships as well, and, for this reason, in divorce and separation proceedings, neither parent is inherently favored over the other.  

Unfortunately, in some circumstances, parents will attempt to put distance between their children and their former (or soon-to-be-former) spouse or partner. While a controversial term, this effort is often referred to as “parental alienation.” 

What Constitutes Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation involves undertaking intentional efforts to create a divide between a child and his or her other parent. Typically, parents attempt to engage in alienation because they believe that it will help preserve their relationship with their child following a separation or divorce. By convincing the child that spending time with their other parent is unsafe or that their other parent does not love them as much as they do, the goal is to somehow come out more favorably concerning custody, visitation and the meaningful time they spend with their child.

Such attempts can have devastating and long lasting negative effects on children. Parental alienation can be psychologically harmful to the child, and, if proven, it can impact custody in favor of the non-alienating parent. Efforts that can lead to these consequences include:

  • Blaming the other parent for the parties’ separation or divorce;
  • Telling the child that the other parent has been violent or is otherwise dangerous;
  • Calling the other parent names or making other negative comments about the other parent;
  • Making false statements about the other child, such as saying that their other parent doesn’t care about them or doesn’t want to live with them; and,
  • Involving the child in separation or divorce proceedings so that he or she “can see” what the other parent is “doing to the family.”

How Can You Prove Parental Alienation in California?

If you believe that your current or former spouse or partner may be engaging in attempts at parental alienation, you should consult with an attorney promptly. It generally is not advisable to attempt to deal with your child’s other parent directly, and you need to make sure you do not do anything that could be viewed as an attempt at retaliation.

At Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy, our Irvine family lawyers can advise you of what to do, and we can undertake appropriate efforts to gather evidence of your child’s other parent’s attempts at alienation. Some of the types of evidence that can be used to prove parental alienation include:

  • Voicemails, emails and text messages
  • Social media posts
  • Testimony from friends and relatives
  • Testimony from a custody evaluator
  • A report from an appointed minor’s counsel
  • In appropriate circumstances, testimony from your child

Speak with an Irvine Family Lawyer at Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy

If you need to speak with an attorney about responding to your spouse or partner’s (or former spouse or partner’s) attempts at parental alienation, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation. To speak with an Irvine family lawyer at Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy as soon as possible, call 949-474-0800 or inquire online now.