An abusive relationship can affect your life in many ways. While you might fear for your own physical and emotional safety, if you have children then you’re probably more concerned about their wellbeing. Although pursuing divorce is brave enough and may be the only way to escape your abuser, the sad truth is that there’s a good chance that your former spouse will end up with some sort of parenting time with your children. Under these circumstances, your former spouse may try to manipulate your children out of hopes of cutting you out of your child’s life.
Parental alienation, after all, is real, and it seems to be more common than ever. Parents are manipulating their children at an alarming rate in hopes of distancing them from their other parent, which causes enormous harm to both the child and his or her relationship with the other parent. If you feel like you and your child are being subjected to parental alienation, then you’re probably angry and want to know what you can do to put it to a stop.
Legal action in the form of a custody modification is probably going to be necessary. So, you’ll need to muster up the courage needed to take legal action. But before doing so, you should make sure that you have the evidence needed to persuasively present your position. Although parental alienation may seem difficult to prove, here are a few ways to build your case:
- Identify appropriate witnesses: You may have a number of witnesses on your side depending on the circumstances of your case. The child, if he or she hasn’t been completely alienated, may be able to testify in a way that supports your case, and so, too, can relatives who have seen manipulative behavior. A therapist, whether court appointed or obtained outside of court proceedings, can prove invaluable here, as he or she will have a firm understanding of alienating behavior, what it looks like, and how it can harm your child. Even your child’s teachers and neighbors may be helpful in presenting your case.
- Document everything: Another way to show alienating behavior is to keep all communication records, including text messages, emails, social media posts, and voicemails from both the alienating parent and the child. These communications can prove to be quite telling. Also, be prepared to show the context of any communications that you have made, as alienators will often try to twist your words in a way that makes you look bad.
- Consider other ways to use the court system to your advantage: If you’re being alienated from your child, then you need to be bold in remedying the situation by going to court when you need to. When it comes to building your case for modification, that may mean requesting a child custody evaluation or even asking for court-ordered reunification therapy, where a therapist oftentimes actively works to repair the damaged relationship between a child and his or her alienated parent.
Be aggressive and holistic when building your case
Parental alienation cases are amongst the toughest issues faced in family law and addressing it can be especially difficult if you were in an abusive relationship with your child’s other parent. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from being aggressive in protecting your child and your relationship with him or her. Instead, it should motivate you to work hard to build your case. Strong legal advocates like those at our firm stand ready to help do just that.