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Divorce: Don’t use the children as pawns

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2017 | Family Law

The breakdown of any relationship can be distressing. When New Jersey residents enter into divorce, emotions may run far higher than one might realize. Maintaining a sense of perspective can be difficult, sometimes leading to unwise behavior that can cause long lasting damage to parental relationships with children.

A county court judge from another state spent five years dealing with an acrimonious child custody case. The mother maintained that the father was abusive, while the father claimed that the mother had deliberately poisoned the children’s minds against him. After exhaustive legal proceedings, an agreement on custody was reached, and a reunification program was ordered by the court. However, due to the alleged parental alienation, the children refused to visit with their father.

There are many ways in which parental alienation can occur. Making negative comments or wrongful accusations about the other parent can be seen as such a tactic. Some parents deliberately sabotage the time that their child spends with the other parent, either changing arrangements at the last minute or interrupting scheduled parenting time with frequent phone calls to the child. These actions may stem from malice or from insecurity, particularly if one fears that the child favors the other parent more.

It’s easy for New Jersey residents to forget that the person one sees as being a bad spouse may not necessarily be a bad parent. Divorce doesn’t mean that a child will love one parent more or less than the other, and if handled properly, the child need not choose one parent over the other. If one fears that parental alienation is happening, seeking appropriate advice is one step toward resolving the situation. Maintaining good and open communication will also help parents to air their concerns and correct any misunderstandings that arise.

Source:, “Though either parent may be targeted, parental alienation is a damaging dynamic for all“, Ronelle Grier, March 15, 2017


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