Are you concerned that your ex is doing things to drive a wedge between you and your children? Depending on the case, this may be considered parental alienation, and it can be grounds for a modification of custody orders.
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Parental Alienation Syndrome is defined as the psychological manipulation of a child so that the child shows unwarranted fear, disrespect, or hostility toward a parent or other family members. Essentially, parental alienation turns the child against the other parent.
In many cases, the person causing or attempting to cause the parental alienation is the other parent. In other cases, the manipulator is a grandparent or other family member.
One example of parental alienation is if you send your child a birthday present, your ex intercepts and keeps it from your child, and then your ex tells your child that you forgot his or her birthday. Even talking to your child inappropriately about the divorce or allowing your child to speak negatively about you can be considered parental alienation.
Parental Alienation and Illinois Law
While parental alienation is widely-recognized by many experts, Illinois courts have been hesitant to make changes in custody based specifically on the syndrome.
That said, under existing Illinois Law—the best interest of the child test—one factor courts can consider when determining custody is a parent’s willingness to “facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.”
Thus, when setting or modifying custody, Illinois courts will take into consideration the other parent’s actions in whether they affect the parental relationship.
Signs of parental alienation include the following:
- Giving children choices about visitation where there is a court order in place;
- Discussing the reasons for the divorce and blaming the other parent for the family’s break up;
- Over scheduling the child with activities such that the other parent never gets to see the child;
- When a child cannot give reasons why he or she is angry at a parent;
- Asking the child about the other parent’s activity (dating life, personal information, etc);
- Listening in on phone conversations between parent and child; and
- When a parent physically or psychologically “rescues” the child from the other parent when there is no threat of safety.
Meet With a Skokie Child Custody Attorney
If you believe that your child is a victim of parental alienation, you have options. Discuss your concerns with an experienced Elmhurst, IL divorce attorney today who can take steps to end this behavior. Call Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC today at 312-605-4041 for a consultation.