When parents cannot reach an agreement about child custody and are involved in a legal battle, the children can suffer. They may feel confused, as they love both parents, but feel that they are being disloyal to one or the other in their feelings. If you are considering a divorce and you have children, it is important that you protect them from observing your emotional distress with your partner. Children can become destabilized and upset when parents make comments within their hearing about the other parent. They can begin having trouble in school, or acting out.
In some cases, after a divorce, or during the process, a parent will make an effort to influence how the children feel about the other parent, making disparaging remarks. When this effort is successful, it can lead to "parental alienation." The courts do not look kindly upon a parent that is trying to dissuade the children from visiting and spending time with the other parent, or trying to influence the children to dislike the other parent.
If you have custody of your children, and the other parent has visitation, it is imperative that you uphold the order of the court, and try to keep the situation as free from stress as possible for your children. Keep any feelings of upset or anger with your former spouse to yourself. If you feel that you want to discuss these issues with relatives or friends, ensure that the children cannot hear you. This is an important issue for parents to understand, as there can be trouble later if the children refuse to visit the other parent per the court-ordered visitation schedule, and you, the parent, will be held responsible, and may even lose custody if the children are not visiting as ordered.
In some custody cases, a parent could be ordered by the court to stop making disparaging comments about the other parent. If this activity continues after the court order, it is a violation that could lead to legal consequences. If you want your children to survive a divorce, it is advised that you are careful about what you say about the other parent, as in fact, it could later be found to be cause to change an existing custody order.
Contact Henrickson & Sereebutra in Marietta for cases of parental alienation or other custody matters.