In my 18+ years of practicing law, I have never seen parental alienation as prevalent as it has been over the last 2 years.

Parental alienation is basically when one parent attempts to turn the children against the other parent. This is accomplished through various means: telling the children negative things about the other parent, lying to them about the other parent, making false allegations of abuse, physically keeping them away from the other parent, buying their affection, and an endless number of other means that is only limited by the creativeness of the offending parent.

Unfortunately, the courts are often unwittingly complicit in this alienation. The courts are backlogged. They have too many cases per judge and judges who are overburdened with “emergency” style motions. This is a problem because the courts don’t have time to schedule immediate hearings and devote the amount of time needed to these types of cases. Furthermore, if there are allegations of abuse – and the allegations escalated to a protection order and/or arrest – the family court judge will err on the side of caution and “protect” the children from the alleged abusive person. If there is a criminal case, the custody case will often be stayed pending the outcome of the criminal case. This could take several months. For those several months, no contact will be permitted between the parent and child, thereby giving the offending parent unfettered access to the child’s mind and emotions.

It is heartbreaking to see a parent being alienated from his or her children. It is infuriating to see the damage it does to the children and the relationship between the children and parent. In fact, parental alienation has been labeled a form of child abuse. See,

Unfortunately, some parents will do what they believe to be in the best interest of their children and settle the case, giving the offending parent custody (giving them what they want), so as to avoid more bitterness and harm to the children. This is unfortunate because it rewards bad behavior and sets a terrible precedent. However, in an effort for their children to find peace, they opted to be selfless, giving up the fight for custody and possibly losing all relationship with their children. The decision of whether to fight to the bitter end and let the Judge make a decision on custody after hearing all of the alienation behavior is a difficult decision to make. The best interest of the children must be at the forefront. If you’ve had psychologists involved, consultation with them about what’s best for your children is necessary.

Another problem, though, is that the offending parent usually presents very well. He or she is manipulative and has traits of narcissism.  See,

This can present a problem when proving parental alienation. Will the judge believe the evidence? How solid is your evidence?

Parental alienation is a serious and growing problem. There are tools to fight it, but you must be willing to fight. And, you must understand it’s a marathon, not a sprint.


(No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than those performed by other lawyers)

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