San Diego Parental Alienation Attorneys
Parental Alienation and Child Estrangement
Divorce causes emotional distress and impacts your children in many ways. Messy custody battles may result in parents engaging in conduct that degrades the other parent in front of the children. California's family courts do not approve of either parent attempting to "turn" the child against the other parent. Psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner dubbed this type of behavior "Parental Alienation Syndrome" (PAS) all the way back in 1985. Today, PAS is a recognized problem of contentious coparenting.
If your child has been affected by this type of behavior or you are accused of alienating your child, contact the San Diego child custody lawyers at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. today. Remember, it is sometimes possible to change a custody agreement because of the improper treatment you have received. In a severe case, parental alienation can be a form of child abuse.
"Been very helpful with my custody case dealing with alienation claims. Very thorough, well informed and caring."
- Anonymous from AVVO
Here are answers to some of the questions we get frequently asked by clients. We hope they help you understand parental alienation and what you can do about it.
Parental alienation is a deliberate effort by one parent to cause the child to withdraw from or reject the other parent. Parents who indulge in this type of behavior may use harmful words or conduct to create a division between the other parent and the child. They may create estrangement or even hostility between the child and the victimized parent.
The perpetrating parent may use many methods of causing the child to completely withdraw from the other parent. For example, conditional love; involving the child in adult issues; involving the child in a confidence with the perpetrating parent against the victim parent; lying to the child about the victim parent; and other techniques.
There are many events and acts that can destroy the balance of peace between divorcing or divorced parents, for example, arguments between the parents involving the child; encouraging the child to take sides in the divorce. Typically, there is a grooming period where the perpetrating parent seduces the child to enter into this unhealthy condition.
Below are some of the examples and symptoms of alienation:
- Children show a sudden negative change in attitude toward one parent.
- Children perceive one parent as the cause of all problems.
- Children have knowledge of private details related to the legal aspects of the divorce.
- Children appear uneasy around one parent.
- Children are unhappy, withdrawn, depressed while at the same time withdrawing from a parent.
- The alienating parent allows the children to decide who they want to stay with when that was not part of the deal.
- The alienating parent pushes for enforcement of the parental schedule in a manner meant to hurt the other parent.
- The alienating parent asks the children to choose one parent over the other.
- False allegations of abuse against the victim parent.
California courts have acknowledged parental alienation as a real problem; however, such cases are not assumed and must be established to the court. Typically, an attorney who specializes in parental alienation cases will put together a case plan establishing the alienation by evidence. In cases where alienation is severe, the only resolution is to remove the child from the home of the alienating parent and place them with the victim parent. Expert witnesses may be involved in such cases. It is critical for the victim or alienated parent to push the court for quicker action because the longer the delay, the more the alienation.
YES. If you are worried that your children are being alienated from you, you need to take immediate action. Alienation is a form of abuse and it must be stopped. Parental alienation can cause devastating psychological harm for parents and children, and it may forever affect your relationship with your child.
Contact an experienced San Diego family law attorney right away to discuss your legal options. Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. offers free initial consultations. Our family law attorneys can help you protect your rights as a parent and preserve your relationship with your children. Call us at (858) 224-0754.
Parental alienation is a basis to modify your child custody order in California. The first step in this process is to file a motion to modify child custody. If the alienation is extreme enough, then the court may grant an expedited hearing. At the hearing, the judge can make a temporary modification to the visitation schedule pending a trial to determine if the change should be permanent.
Tom will take immediate action against acts of parental alienation. At your initial consultation he will determine which remedy is best requested from the court, given your particular circumstances. He will get your motions filed as soon as possible, and if appropriate, will request that the hearing date be moved up. He will be sure to include all relevant evidence, such as emails, text messages, and sworn statements, so that the judge is made aware of the situation's severity. Tom has a record of getting results in San Diego child custody cases that other lawyers found impossible.
San Diego Family Law Lawyers
Our firm has over 35 years of experience in child custody law. Our founder has been classified as a family law expert by the California State Bar, and we have handled numerous parental alienation cases. We understand how such cases should be presented to the court, and we do not take a "one-size-fits-all approach” - we work to ensure your goals are heard, considered, and appropriately presented.
The future well-being of your child is at risk in an alienation case. Do not wait. Contact our San Diego office today at (858) 458-9500 to schedule your free initial consultation.