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How to Recognize the Signs of Parental Alienation During Your Divorce

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County Child Custody AttorneyThe divorce process can be difficult for parents and children. Even if it would not be healthy for parents to stay together, and a breakup will help ensure that children will not be exposed to arguments and conflict between parents, children are likely to struggle with the changes they will experience in their lives. Both parents and children may experience strong emotions during the divorce process, including anger, sadness, guilt, betrayal, and anxiety about the future. Parents will want to help their children work through these feelings in a healthy way while providing emotional support and reassurance. Unfortunately, some parents choose to take advantage of their children’s strong emotions and use them as a weapon against their former partner. This is known as parental alienation, and parents will want to understand how to recognize this behavior and the steps they can take to address the issue.

Signs That May Indicate Parental Alienation

Parental alienation involves a parent attempting to harm their children’s relationship with the other parent, such as by influencing the children’s feelings about the other parent, convincing them to choose sides in disputes between parents, or making them feel like they should not spend time with the other parent. In some cases, parental alienation may be committed unintentionally, but in others, it can be a deliberate strategy used with the intent of influencing the outcome of a child custody dispute.

Some signs of parental alienation include:

  • Children know more than they should about the details of the parents’ breakup and divorce. A parent may tell children about matters that should be private, painting the other parent in a negative light or blaming them for the divorce. An alienating parent may also ask children to tell them details about the other parent’s personal life and relationships, which puts them in an unfair position.

  • Children are highly and unfairly critical of one parent. This may indicate that the other parent has attempted to influence the children’s feelings about that parent or asked them to take sides in the divorce. 

  • A parent may attempt to control children’s relationship and interactions with the other parent. They may monitor or restrict children’s communication with the other parent or contact children at inappropriate times when they are with the other parent. They may also plan activities for children during the other parent’s parenting time or ask children to choose which parent they will spend time with.

  • A parent may refuse to follow the requirements of a child custody order. This may include refusing to drop children off at the correct time and place, refusing to allow the other parent to see or speak to children, or refusing to allow the other parent to access children’s school records or medical information.

Contact a Naperville Child Custody Attorney

If you are concerned about parental alienation during or after your divorce, the Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. can help you determine how to address this issue. We will advise you on the best ways you can protect your parental rights, and we will work to ensure that your children’s best interests will be protected when handling these matters. Contact our Joliet child custody lawyers at 630-355-7776 to set up a free consultation.


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