Custody and Parental Alienation in Divorce - Immediate Actions to Take to Prevent It By Dianne Ophelia
The most important thing you can do to prevent Parental Alienation in your Divorce or Custody Case is to Act Quickly. Whatever actions you decide to take, don't wait. Every day that passes takes you further and further away from your Children.
Actions You can Take Through the Court System:
1. Document everything, absolutely everything. What occurred, what the other parent said, what you said, any statements and behavior of the children, every day.
2. Take your documentation to your attorney and explain to them that you don't want to wait to obtain custody relief from the court. Often attorneys will want you to wait 60 to 90 days or longer, which could then be too late for the children.
3. Ask for very specific Child Custody Court Orders about disparaging the other parent in front of the children; that the other parent shall encourage and see that the children exercise their time with you; and, that therapy commence immediately for the children and the parents to assist everyone in understanding how detrimental parental alienation is to children now and for years to come.
4. Make certain the aforementioned Child Custody Court Orders have "teeth." You want swift and specific remedies if the order is violated, such as a loss of time with the children by the violating parent, change of primary custody and/or mandatory therapy.
5. If the Court has the facilities for a "Case Coordinator" or "Case Management" ask that this is implemented so that you have someone you can directly report to about the activities that are taking place and they can then report directly to the court to obtain immediate remedial orders.
6. Continue to return to custody court with each violation of a court order by the opposing party. You need to establish right from the beginning, that you are not going to sit back and passively allow this type of behavior to continue.
7. Ask for primary custody in each instance, explaining that the more time the children spend with the obsessive parent, the more likely the alienation will worsen to the point that it will be irremediable.
Actions You can Take Personally
1. Keep the children out of the conflict and be certain not to engage in ANY of the behaviors of the other parent;
2. Never blame the children for their behavior. They are innocent victims and don't understand what is being done to them. This is often difficult when they "act out."
3. Keep communication with the children open at all times. Purchase a cell phone for them to call you whenever they feel like it.
4. Stay interested in the Childrens' lives, their activities, friends, what they are interested in, movies, magazines etc. Let them know you want to be and are part of their life.
5. Send or give the children pictures, small presents or other reminders of you often.
6. Go to as many activities as possible. Even if it is a hostile environment, just show up and stay in the background, so the children can see that you are there, yet stay far away enough so that the children and/or the other parent cannot start a fight or have an emotional outburst.
7. Never play the victim, even though you are being victimized. Stay upbeat with the children and let them know they can feel totally comfortable with you.
8. Make certain the children know that you are not blaming them for their bad behavior, when the behavior is a direct result of the alienation. You don't want the children to avoid being with you because they feel guilty about prior bad behavior. They have to know that they have been and will continue to be forgiven. Be compassionate, but do set firm boundaries.
AND, MOST IMPORTANT, DON'T GIVE UP! Your children will appreciate all of your efforts, if not immediately, than once they mature and look back at the situation.
Your efforts will not go unrewarded; you may just have to be very patient waiting for the reward.
Dianne R. Ophelia is a Certified Family Law Specialist and is known as THE 30 YEAR DIVORCE EXPERT. She has been litigating custody and divorce cases for over 30 years, having obtained her Juris Doctorate Degree in 1977. She is considered a leader and innovator in her field.
It is Ms. Ophelia's goal to assist anyone going through the divorce or custody process by empowering them with the knowledge and ability to protect their interests both inside and outside of the Judicial System. Ms. Ophelia's writings, whether in her books, ebooks, articles or blogs, are always comprehensive, informative and easy to understand.