Why You Need the Best Divorce Lawyer to Battle Parental Alienation

Although some couples do manage to have an amicable, even friendly, relationship after a divorce, many couples struggle to have a reasonably civil relationship after ending a marriage. If there are no minor children involved, lingering animosity between a divorced couple only impacts the couple. When children are involved, however, an acrimonious post-divorce relationship between the parents can negatively affect the children. This is especially true if one parent is the victim of parental alienation. If you find yourself battling against parental alienation, the Murfreesboro divorce attorneys at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explain why you need the best divorce lawyer on your side.

Parental Alienation Explained

Parental Alienation Syndrome, or “PAS,” is a term that was coined by psychologist Robert Gardner in the mid-1980s. While there is no universally accepted definition for PAS, most experts use the term to describe a situation wherein one parent manipulates the child(ren) in an attempt to turn the child(ren) against the other parent or destroy the relationship between the other parent and the child(ren).   Parental alienation can include a wide variety of behaviors on the part of the offending parent, including things such as:

  • Making negative or hurtful comments about the other parent
  • “Letting” a young child make decisions about communicating with, or spending time with, the other parent.
  • Causing a child to feel unsubstantiated fear of the other parent 
  • Withholding information about the child from the other parent
  • Asking a child to keep secrets from the other parent
  • Making a child feel guilty about spending time with the other parent
  • Making it difficult for the other parent to spend time with the child (or outright refusing to abide by the parenting time schedule)
  • Undermining the other parent’s authority

How Does the Law View Parental Alienation?

Experts in the mental health and social work fields have long considered parental alienation to be a form of child abuse; however, individual state laws vary widely when it comes to how they handle accusations of parental alienation. Some states do not even recognize parental alienation as a valid syndrome, much less consider it child abuse. Fortunately for Tennessee residents, Tennessee courts have acknowledged the existence of parental alienation and consider it a form of child abuse.  Nevertheless, proving that you are the victim of parental alienation can be extremely difficult. 

Why You Need the Best Divorce Lawyer to Help You

It often takes a victim a considerable amount of time to realize that they are the victim of parental alienation. By the same token, the alienating parent may not consciously realize that he/she is manipulating the child(ren). If you are the victim of PAS, this means it may be months, even years, before you identify the root of the problem. When it does become clear that you are the victim of parental alienation, you need an experienced divorce lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Some of the many ways in which the best divorce lawyer can help you when battling parental alienation include:

  • Educating you so that you can identify behaviors that are consistent with PAS
  • Helping you create a chronology of events that show an ongoing pattern of alienation
  • Explaining your rights under the existing Parenting Plan filed with the court
  • Attempting to enforce your rights under the existing Parenting Plan
  • Drafting and filing the appropriate documents with the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the alienating parent
  • Requesting a modification by the court of the current Parenting Plan
  • Advocating for you in court at a contempt and/or modification hearing

Sadly, an alienating parent often refuses to acknowledge the harm he/she has caused. As such, victims of PAS frequently must rely on the court to recognize and address the alienating behaviors. While Tennessee law does recognize parental alienation, you need an experienced divorce attorney to convince the court that PAS has occurred in your case and that it would be in the best interest of the children for the court to intervene.

Contact Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyers

If you have questions or concerns about why you need the best divorce lawyer to battle parental alienation, contact the Murfreesboro divorce lawyers at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Stan Bennett