How might one parent try to alienate the other from their kids?

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2023 | Family Law

Both parents in a family usually have the right to spend time with their children and to have a say in their upbringing. Those rights are not contingent on the parents maintaining a marriage or other romantic relationship with one another.

Even when parents live separately or divorce, they can still share responsibility for and time with their children. Shared custody arrangements typically involve a custody order negotiated by the parents or established by the Ohio family courts. A parent subject to a custody order should be able to anticipate a certain amount of time with their children.

Unfortunately, not everyone who should share custody does so gracefully. One parent might resent needing to cooperate and regularly speak with the other. They might try to alienate the children from the other parent. What does that typically entail?

Refused parenting time

The most obvious and frustrating source of parental alienation is denied time with the children. Someone who has scheduled visitation or overnight parenting time could get turned away when they show up to see the kids. Generally speaking, if one parent cancels the parenting time of the other, they should allow for make-up parenting time. Refusing to do so is a form of custodial interference that could become alienation if it turns into a regular occurrence.

Denied communication attempts

Both parents should have age-appropriate communication options for speaking with their children even when they are with the other adult in the family. Email or phone calls are both reasonable ways for one parent to communicate with the children while they spend time in the custody of the other parents. If one parent intercepts communications or refuses to connect phone calls to the children frequently, that could also be a form of alienation.

Psychological manipulation

The most insidious component of parental alienation is how one parent may try to manipulate or alter the relationship that the other has with the children by changing how the children view their parent. Talking negatively about a parent to the children or blaming them for the lack of visits and communication can constitute parental alienation.

Someone who discovers that their co-parent wants to damage their bond with their children may need to document that issue. Evidence could help someone to ask the courts for support including make-up parenting time or a significant custody modification. Being able to spot a pattern of parental alienation, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, could help someone better stand up for their relationship with their children.