Divorce proceedings are never easy, but they become all the more difficult when a child is involved. Although it is no doubt best for the child that a speedy resolution to custody and visitation disputes is reached, such cases often become heated and result in the separating parents competing against each other in a series of court battles. However, it is important to note that in most intense court proceedings between parents, both parties are acting in what they believe to be the best interest of the child. It takes a particularly reprehensible character to base their decisions regarding custody and visitation on what is beneficial to them. A tactic commonly employed by such people is parental alienation.

Parental alienation is the act of one parent making a clear and unrelenting attempt to turn their child against the other parent. While one would like to think that the child in question would have the ability to separate fiction from reality, it is important to remember that they are being fed these lies by one of their parents, an authority figure of whom they have no reason to be suspicious. When one parent succeeds in turning their child against their former partner through a campaign of half-truths and blatant lies, the child begins to exhibit signs of what is commonly referred to as “parental alienation syndrome.”

Parental alienation syndrome is devastating for both the child experiencing it and the parent they have been turned against. Parental alienation is a serious crime and will almost certainly result in the offending party losing any unsupervised access to the child in question. If you have reason to believe your child is being manipulated by a malicious former partner, we at The Law Firm of Caryn S. Fennell will do everything in our power to ensure the Court is informed of the situation and acts accordingly. In the time that our attorneys have been practicing family law, they have encountered multiple cases of parental alienation and so recognize the symptoms of parental alienation syndrome, which include:

Spread of animosity
If a child has been systematically turned against one parent by another, they may begin to extend the manufactured animosity they have for that parent to members of that parent’s family. For example, a child who has been the victim of parental alienation at the hands of their mother may develop hatred of their paternal grandparents.

“Independent” thoughts
Dozens of family psychiatrists who have studied children exhibiting signs of parental alienation symptom have spoken about what has been dubbed the “independent thinker phenomenon.” Essentially, the independent thinker phenomenon sees the child in question make an outlandish or decidedly negative claim regarding one parent before stating that the thought was their own and that they had no help in forming it. These repeated claims of independent thinking are a sure sign the child has been influenced by the offending parent and advised against acknowledging that fact.

Borrowed scenarios
The concept of borrowed scenarios is quite similar to the concept of the independent thinker phenomenon. If a child recounts the same unlikely negative story about their mother that their father did moments earlier, they are likely displaying a symptom of parental alienation syndrome.

A final word
Parental alienation is a very serious crime and in its most extreme form can turn a child against a parent for several years, with some instances of parental alienation syndrome lasting well into adulthood. Caryn S. Fennell will work around the clock to tackle suspected cases of parental alienation to increase the likelihood of a reunion between the affected parent and child.