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Child Custody
Signs You Are Facing Parental Alienation
24 Apr, 2024
Child Custody

Signs You Are Facing Parental Alienation

While you may not be able to define exactly what parental alienation is, you certainly know the effects if you are on the receiving end of this extremely negative force. In fact, the State of Illinois finds that parental alienation is a form of child abuse and takes the matter very seriously. If you believe your children’s other parent is engaging in parental alienation or fear that he or she may be, it’s time to discuss the matter with an experienced Illinois parenting time attorney. 

Parental Alienation Defined

Illinois defines parental alienation as the unacceptable manipulative process used by one parent to alienate a child from the other parent by disparaging conduct or words to encourage the child to dislike or break communication ties with the other parent. Parental alienation is generally related to parenting time concerns, such as during or after a divorce. 

Signs of Parental Alienation

While every case of parental alienation is unique to the circumstances at hand, some of the basic forms of parental alienation include the following (on the part of the parent who is perpetrating the parental alienation):

  • General badmouthing of the other parent
  • Interfering with the other parent’s attempts to communicate with the children, including attempting to curtail phone calls, emails, letters, text messages, and more
  • Attempting to limit the children’s overall contact with the other parent
  • Limiting symbolic communication with the other parent by removing his or her photos from one’s residence, for example
  • Telling the children that their other parent does not love them or leading the children to believe that the other parent poses a threat to them
  • Confiding inappropriate information about the other parent in the children
  • Requiring that the children choose between themself and the targeted parent
  • Referring to the other parent by his or her first name to the children (instead of using mom or dad – or the equivalent) – and encouraging the children to use one of the terms for a new stepparent
  • Cultivating the children’s dependency  
  • Attempting to change the children’s last name in an effort to decrease the level of association with the other parent
  • Withholding important information about the children’s schooling, health care, extracurricular activities, or religious upbringing from the other parent 
  • Asking the children to spy on the other parent, keep secrets from the other parent, or reject the other parent outright

If any of these strike you as familiar, it’s time to reach out to a dedicated family law attorney. 

An Experienced Illinois Family Law Attorney Can Help

Parental alienation can do considerable damage, and it can be hardest of all on the children themselves. If you’re concerned that your divorcing spouse is engaging in parental alienation, the family law attorneys at SLG Family Law understand the gravity of the situation and are well prepared to help you address the matter head-on. Your relationship with your children is paramount, so please don’t wait to contact us for more information today.



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