If you feel like your child is being manipulated by his or her other parent in hopes of distancing the child from you, then you need to take swift action to ensure that you’re protecting your child and your parental rights. After all, a lot of this parental alienation is undertaken in hopes of securing a more restrictive child custody and visitation order.
To build your case for parental alienation, you’re going to need convincing evidence. Doing each of the following may help you build your arguments:
- Keep records: Save and print out all emails, text messages, and other correspondences with your child’s other parent. Make requests to talk to your child in writing so that you can clearly document your efforts and each time you are denied. Also, keep a log of your time with your child and take pictures of your time together to show that you still have a strong bond.
- Monitor social media: Your child’s other parent or even your child may make statements on social media that support your position. Keep an eye out for those.
- Gather witnesses: There are probably several people who have either witnessed alienating behavior or the effects of it. These witnesses can be powerful for your case. So, too, can witnesses who can speak to the strength of your relationship with your child. Also, don’t overlook the importance of professionals, such as your child’s therapist, who can speak to the harm being caused to your child by alienating behavior.
- Depose your child’s other parent: Depositions, which is the taking of sworn testimony outside of court, can be a great way to lock your child’s other parent into inconsistent statements that damage his or her credibility. This can then be used at a modification hearing to support your position.
- Get a guardian ad litem onboard: In order to help it determine what’s in the child’s best interests, the court will oftentimes appoint a guardian ad litem. These individuals can speak to your child, observe you with your child, observe the child with the other parent, and make recommendations regarding child custody and parenting time. Because the guardian ad litem is seen as neutral third-party, the court tends to give their opinion a lot of weight.
- Request an in-camera: The judge in your case might be willing to speak with your child alone to better gauge his or her situation. This is known as an in-camera interview. These occur off the record and without the other parties present. You probably won’t know what your child says in this interview, but he or she may be more honest with a judge who just wants to know how the child feels.
- Request a formal evaluation: Many courts are willing to order a child custody evaluation. Here, your child speaks to a therapist or a social worker, and he or she is observed during parenting time. The evaluator can interview other individuals who may have pertinent information, too, all leading to a formal recommendation that may tip the court’s decision one way or another.
Take the legal steps necessary to protect your child
These are just a few of the steps that you can take to help build your alienation case. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to protect your child and your relationship with him or her from alienating behavior, then please read up on this subject and consider reaching out for support if you need it.