Sharing custody after a divorce is the most common outcome for New York families. Unfortunately, not every parent accepts joint custody situations with grace. Some parents will use their children as a weapon against their ex in a divorce.
They may try to sever the parent-child bond as a way to penalize their ex or as a means of avoiding the ongoing relationship involved in co-parenting minor children. Familiarizing yourself with three of the most common warning signs of parental alienation can help you protect yourself and your relationship with your kids.
Your ex threatens to keep you from seeing the children
People say things they don’t mean in the heat of an argument, but if your ex tells you they will do everything in their power to keep the kids away from you, take them seriously. Make a record of what they said and when, and be prepared to assert your parental rights if they try to interfere.
Your visits get canceled or shortened
Alienation often looks like one parent denying the other access to the children. If your ex won’t let you take the kids to your home or cancels your visits with little notice and questionable reasoning, that could be a sign of alienation.
Typically, when one parent cancels the visitation of the other, the parent losing out on time with the kids has the right to make that time up. If your ex cancels and does not allow you to reschedule, that could be a transparent effort at alienating you from the kids. Make a record of every shortened and canceled visit you endure to show a pattern of behavior.
Your ex has actively tried to turn the kids against you
Marriages don’t fail because both spouses are happy. Divorcing allows you a fresh start, but it can be hard to move forward if one parent can’t forgive and move on. It’s normal to feel hurt after the end of a marriage, but it is inappropriate to share your feelings and anger with the children.
If your ex has taken steps to paint you as the bad guy in the divorce, that could have lasting repercussions for your relationship with the children. Document anything you overhear or that the children report to you to help substantiate your claims of intentional alienation if you have to go to court over issues with custody and co-parenting.