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After your marriage ended, you and your ex-spouse decided to focus on raising good kids. While co-parenting works well in many situations, it requires diligent effort from both parents. If one parent sabotages the other’s parent-child relationship, the post-divorce family framework may be in jeopardy. 

Judges in California typically take parental alienation seriously. That is, this type of mental manipulation is not in the best interests of your children. To protect your kids and to assert your parental rights, you likely must take swift action to curtail parental alienation. 

Identifying parental alienation 

Parental alienation happens when a parent convinces a child to fear, mistrust or despise the other parent. While some passive-aggressive behavior or a single off-handed comment may not constitute parental alienation, ongoing misconduct may quickly turn into a problem for your family. Here are some common examples of parental alienation: 

  • Making negative, untruthful or hurtful remarks about a co-parent to the children 
  • Preventing normal parent-child communications 
  • Interfering with the parent-child relationship 

Documenting parental alienation 

If you share custody of your kids with your former spouse, you may need to make some sacrifices. Putting up with parental alienation, though, is not one of them. If you suspect your ex-spouse is either intentionally or inadvertently alienating your children, you should document what you observe. Creating a custody journal may be helpful. Also, you likely want to retain written communications that back up your observations. 

Stopping parental alienation 

It may be possible to stop parental alienation with a simple conversation with your former partner. If that does not work, you have some other options. For example, you may seek an acceptable resolution through mediation. Alternatively, you may ask a judge to enforce your custody order or rework it altogether. 

You and the State of California have something in common. That is, you want what is best for your children. Parental alienation is not that. Fortunately, with a bit of information and some proactive attention, you can likely put an end to the psychological manipulation.