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Conduct that may indicate an attempt at parental alienation

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Child Custody And Support

Parents with time-sharing arrangements in Florida need to follow the instructions in their parenting plan and/or custody documentation. Typically, each parent should spend a certain amount of time with the children, and both parents should do their best to uphold the established schedule.

Unfortunately, some people truly resent the obligation to share parenting time after a breakup or divorce. Some parents go so far as to intentionally interfere in the relationship that their co-parent has with their children. Parental alienation can have far-reaching effects on not just the adults cut off from their children but also the children experiencing the psychological manipulation of one parent.

What kinds of behavior could constitute parental alienation?

Reducing parenting time

The most obvious form of parental alienation involves one adult canceling or altering parenting schedule to minimize how much time their co-parent spends with the children. Some people are subtle. They may schedule play dates and medical appointments during a co-parent’s time to have a credible excuse for canceling. Others blame it on health or bad moods and turn co-parents away when they arrive for time with the children. If one parent cancels the other’s time with the children, they should allow a rescheduled parenting session. The failure to do so consistently is a potential indicator of alienation efforts.

Putting the children in the middle

Some people alienate their children from a co-parent by making the children feel like they have to choose the side. They have an adversarial attitude and let the children know in no uncertain terms that their day-to-day life may be less pleasant if they speak positively of the other parent or want to spend time with them. By treating the children poorly in retaliation for spending time with the other parent, one adult can manipulate how the children view the other parent or change their attitude toward them.

Regularly disparaging a co-parent

Children generally do not need to know the details of why a parent’s relationship failed. They also don’t need to receive a constant litany of complaints about one parent in the family from the other. Children who hear negative messages consistently may eventually change their attitudes toward their parents. Someone who recognizes attempts at parental alienation may feel cut off from their children. They can potentially fight back against those actions by going back to family court.

A Florida family law judge might adjust a time-sharing order after learning about parental alienation issues. They could also order makeup parenting time to help someone recover lost time with their children. Recognizing parental alienation attempts can help people stand up for their rights.