If you are going through a divorce, you may have some strong and negative feelings about your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Still, if you use your anger as motivation to turn your kids against your current husband or wife, you may be asking for custody-related trouble.
Parental alienation is one form of psychological child abuse. While a single off-handed comment is not likely to matter much legally, a history of alienating behavior may convince a judge to award custody of your kids to your spouse.
When does badmouthing cross the line?
Because no one is perfect, you may occasionally let your feelings about your husband or wife slip. If your kids are present, though, badmouthing your spouse may cause serious and long-term harm to the relationship they have with their other parent. This is especially true if you regularly talk negatively about your spouse.
While this list is not exhaustive, here are some examples of parental alienation:
- Advising your kids they cannot trust their other parent
- Telling your children to disobey or despise their other parent
- Asking your kids to spy on their other parent and report back to you
- Prohibiting your children from spending time with their other parent
- Telling your kids about the negative parts of your marriage or divorce
What do judges think about parental alienation?
In New Jersey, family law judges tend to believe children thrive when they have two loving and respectful parents. When making child-related decisions, such as determining who receives custody, judges also always consider the best interests of the involved kids. Put simply, parental alienation is not usually in any child’s best interests.
There are ways to deal with the anger you have toward your soon-to-be ex-spouse that do not affect your kids, of course. Ultimately, keeping your marriage and divorce disagreements between you and your husband or wife is likely to improve your chances of reaching the custody outcome you want.