Parental Alienation – Bribery
It is devastating to have your relationship with your child damaged by the other parent or have them cause “parental alienation” between you and your children. When a parent continuously makes disparaging remarks about you to your child, it can destroy one of life’s most treasured relationships. The courts do not look kindly upon parents who are found to be actively working to turn a child against the other parent.
Some parents take parental alienation even further, using bribery to manipulate a child. The parent engaging in this activity uses gifts to become the “favorite.” Expensive toys, outings, clothing, electronic devices, and other items children love may be used to attempt to influence the child, particularly in cases in which custody, move-away cases, or visitation are pending resolution.
How Can You Prove Parental Alienation?
When parents split up, it is well established that the process can have a negative emotional impact on the children. When one parent is continuously making less of the other within earshot or directly to the children, it cannot help but impact the child’s viewpoint in some way. When gifts are used to influence a child toward one parent – and away from the other – an investigation should occur about the number and type of gifts given to the child, and how often it happens.
If the alienation is related to disparaging remarks, proving parental alienation may require having your child interviewed by a professional. If you believe your child is the victim of these acts, retain legal counsel at once. If it is established that a parent is using this abusive, damaging behavior – which is known to damage a child’s emotional health – the court may choose to alter an existing agreement in favor of the victim parent.
What Evidence Could Prove Parental Alienation?
Various types of evidence can be used to prove a parent is engaging in severe parental alienation, including:
- Email messages
- Sworn statements
- Professional child interview reports
Examples of Parental Alienation with Bribery
The bribery of children can take on many forms. For a younger child, a parent who purchases many toys, or takes a young child shopping and tells them they can “buy any toy they want,” could be attempting to manipulate the child. For a teenage girl, the parent may offer a clothes-shopping spree, buying hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of clothing, or the latest cellphone. For boys, the most appealing purchases are often video games, expensive, trendy sneakers, and electronics.
If these purchases are being made to influence a child to favor the parent, it can be a challenging situation to resolve. A new kitten, a puppy or other pet could lead a child to want to spend more time at the home of one parent. Parental alienation with bribery is often most evident at birthdays and during holiday gift-giving but can happen at any time.
Is Parental Alienation Illegal in California?
Parental alienation, whether by words or through bribery, is considered abusive behavior. The California courts recognize that some parents engage in this harmful activity, and if the actions can be proven to be consistent, ongoing, and severe, and to have caused damage to a parental relationship, the court may choose to modify the existing child custody order in favor of the victim parent.
If you believe your child is being turned against you by the other parent, legal action should be initiated before your relationship with your child is damaged further. Contact us at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., by calling (858) 458-9500. As a top-tier family law firm in San Diego, we take on challenging cases with confidence, including cases of parental alienation and child custody.