How Can I Prove Parental Alienation?
A parent may cause long-term harm to their child by manipulating or disrupting their relationship with their other parent. Children benefit from close, loving relationships with both parents. Absent abuse or another legitimate reason for restricting a parent’s access to their child, California courts prefer joint parenting plans that ensure both parents play active roles in their children’s lives.
How Does Parental Alienation Work?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent uses various techniques to cause a child to reject the other parent. The parent may lie to the child, use fear, or avoid contact with the other parent.
For example, a mother may tell a child that his father does not love him because his father always misses visitation and special events. However, the mother purposefully gives the father incorrect information about events and sends the child away from home during scheduled visitation periods. Or, a father may tell a child that her mother’s new boyfriend hurts animals by shooting them. In reality, the boyfriend is a hunter and has animal heads mounted around the house.
Parental alienation is abusive, dangerous, and harmful. It can cause long-term emotional and psychological problems for the child.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove allegations of parental alienation. A parent should focus on maintaining a close, loving relationship with their child so their child trusts them.
At the same time, the parent can take steps to prove parental alienation. With the help of a family law attorney, the parent can petition the court for sole custody or a modification of the parenting plan to protect the child’s best interest.
Ways That You Can Prove Parental Alienation in California
If you suspect that your ex-partner is manipulating your child to fear or hate you, contact a child custody lawyer immediately. The first thing you need is legal advice. You need to understand your legal rights and options.
Your attorney may advise you to take specific steps to gather evidence of parental alienation.
If you have not spoken with an attorney yet, these tips can help you right now:
Keep Detailed Records
You need records of every conversation and interaction with your child’s other parent. Print out text messages, emails, call logs, and any other documentation with your ex and your child. Ask to see or speak to your child in writing so that you have a record of the number of times your ex-spouse denied you access to your child.
It is crucial that you keep detailed records and evidence of every disparaging remark made by your ex. Include the details of any comments your ex made to your child about you. Write down the date, time, and comments made to your child.
Keep detailed logs of the time you spend with your child, including the date, what you did, and the duration of the visit. Keeping copies of receipts and taking pictures of the two of you together can help refute allegations by your ex-partner that you do not spend time with your child. You should document every telephone call, video conference, and visitation that your ex-partner thwarted.
Preserve Social Media Evidence
Make copies of all posts and comments made through social media. In most cases, you may not be included on your ex-spouse’s social media accounts. However, if you have a trusted family member or friend who has access to the account, ask them to make copies of your spouse’s incriminating social media posts.
It is also a good idea to monitor your child’s social media accounts for posts. They may share posts made by your ex that could help support your claims of parental alienation.
Make a list of witnesses for your attorney. Provide a detailed description of what the person witnessed.
Potential witnesses may include:
- Family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings
- Nannies and caregivers
- Teachers and coaches
- Close friends
- Therapists and counselors
- Child custody evaluators
The witnesses may be on your ex-spouse’s side. However, when they are placed under oath, they may be compelled to tell the truth.
Follow Your Family Lawyers Advice
It can be frustrating to know that your children are being turned against you. You may want to lash out when you see your ex-partner. It is understandable to become angry during mediation or counseling sessions. You may even want to disparage your child’s other parent to the child custody evaluator.
However, you must remain calm and level-headed. You want to show the therapists, custody evaluator, counselors, and the judge that you are the opposite of what your ex-spouse alleges. It is essential to come across as a sound, loving, and steady parent.
Your lawyer will guide you through the process and offer advice. Do not go off on your own. If you have an idea or concern, call your lawyer. Taking matters into your own hands could make it more difficult to prove parental alienation.