YUMA, Arizona. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s custody battle reached national news again recently when a judge ordered that Jolie allow the children to spend more time with their father. According to CNN , the court required Jolie to tell her children that “not having a relationship with their father is harmful to them.” Jolie was also ordered to reassure her children that they would be safe with their father. While the details of Jolie and Pitt’s case aren’t public, the court’s order is one that might be given in a case where a judge has concerns about parental alienation.
What is parental alienation? Parental alienation happens when a parent tries to turn a child against the other parent. The parent may tell the child that the other parent isn’t safe to be around even if there has been no abuse. Or the parent may badmouth the other parent so much that the child becomes emotionally alienated from that parent. In some cases, one parent tries to limit how often the children can see the other parent. While there are no strict timelines, children need time with both parents for their emotional wellbeing.
The court takes parental alienation seriously. According to the Huffington Post , in cases where the court believes parental alienation may be involved, the court may sometimes award sole custody to the alienated parent.
The courts favor children having a relationship with both parents. Research has shown that children are healthier in these arrangements. If the court suspects that one parent may be alienating the children from the other, the court may take serious measures against the alienating parent—including awarding the alienated parent sole custody of the children. Unfortunately, sometimes abusive spouses use the claim of “parental alienation” to torment their ex and get sole custody of the kids. Some believe it is a common tactic used by parents who have been accused of abuse. And there are certainly cases where a child’s relationship with a parent should be limited—like in cases of physical or emotional abuse.
If you are in an abusive relationship and are concerned that your ex might use “parental alienation” to get custody of the kids, it is important to protect yourself and your children. Seek restraining orders before you seek divorce or as soon as possible. Take photographs of damage your ex may have done. Keep records of abusive messages your ex may have sent. A divorce lawyer like Schneider & Onofry, P.C. in Yuma, Arizona may be able to assist you with building strong evidence to show the court that abuse, not parental alienation is the reason why you may want to limit your child’s contact with an ex. Parental alienation is a common defense an abusive parent might use to counter a parent’s claim for sole custody or visitation limitations.
However, there are cases where an innocent parent is alienated from a child. If you feel that your partner’s actions are alienating you from your children, you have rights, too. The divorce lawyers at Schneider & Onofry can help you.
Schneider & Onofry, P.C.
6024 E. 32nd St.
Yuma, AZ 85365