Child custody: Is your ex trying to turn your kids against you?

| Sep 25, 2020 | Firm News

When you filed for divorce in a Georgia court, you knew that you and your spouse would have to resolve certain issues regarding your children. Perhaps you were a bit anxious about it because the relationship between you and your soon-to-be ex was rather contentious. Maybe he or she made some threats insinuating that you’d never see your kids again or that there would be revenge to pay after child custody proceedings were over.

It would be great if all divorced parents could get along amicably and peacefully enough to work together as a team for the sake of their kids. Just because you wanted a divorce doesn’t mean you wanted to stop being a parent. Parental alienation, when one parent turns the kids against the other, is a big problem for many Georgia parents. 

How do you know if it’s happening?

Your spouse might try to alienate you from your children by appealing to their sense of empathy. He or she might tell your kids how much he or she needs their support and “play the victim” so to speak. Once your ex feels confident that he or she has gained the children’s sympathy, an intentional attempt to turn them against you might begin. 

If you notice your kids growing distant from you or saying things that paint you as “the bad guy” but your ex as “the good guy,” it may be cause for concern. Some parents go so far as to tell outright lies about their co-parents to try to make children think poorly of one parent while viewing the other as the victim or hero. 

Does your ex blame you for everything that goes wrong?

If your co-parent is always speaking negatively about you to your children, it can do a lot of damage to your parent/child relationships. A parent attempting to alienate a co-parent might try to convince the children that their other parent doesn’t care about them or that he or she blames them for the divorce. 

Making it stop

Especially if you have an existing court order that says you and your ex are to share custody or that you have a set visitation schedule, etc., both of you must fully adhere to the terms of agreement. If you’re supposed to have a visit day with your kids and your ex won’t let you see them, you can bring the matter to the court’s immediate attention.

It can take time for alienated children to feel comfortable with their targeted parent again due to the emotional and mental confusion the other parent’s scheme has caused. Licensed counselors, close friends and family members, and legal advocates who are well-versed in child custody laws can provide strong support to families struggling with this issue.