Parental alienation


In a situation where spouses are in a quarrel or divorce, their children, more than ever, need a healthy and strong relationship between their parents and protection from their conflicts.

Some parents, seeking to strengthen their parental authority, contribute to the child's rejection of the other parent. They are able to manipulate, pressure, or encourage the child to hate the other parent despite the child's innate desire to love and be loved by both parents.

Parental alienation is a mental condition in which a child—usually one whose parents are involved in a fight or divorce—joins with one parent and rejects the relationship with the other (alienated) parent, for no apparent or obvious reason.

Alienating parent - intentionally and purposefully manipulates the child into rejecting the other parent;

Alienated Parent - a parent who is rejected by a child

The alienating parent can accomplish this by persistently maligning the alienated parent, exaggerating their shortcomings, preventing contact with them, and telling stories of neglect or abuse, etc.

Many psychologists consider alienation of a child from another parent a form of psychological abuse of a child, and also recognize parental alienation syndrome as a mental disorder.


Studies show that parental alienation is present in 11-15% of divorce cases. And 20-25% within 6 years after the divorce. Alienating parents are equally mothers and fathers.


Signs of parental alienation.

Alienating parents use a variety of tactics and artifices to achieve their goal, ranging from maligning and disrupting visitation times to false allegations of abuse and criminal charges.

Some of the most common signs of parental alienation include: 

  • Slander. A child who until recently loved his parent suddenly becomes constantly hostile towards him because of the constant maligning of the alienated parent.
  • Absurdity. The child comes up with ridiculous explanations for his hostile behavior (“I hate the way you look”, “You don’t love mom / dad”).
  • Inflexibility. The child cannot find any redeeming qualities in the alienated parent.
  • Statement of one's own opinion. The child claims and insists that the reasons for hating one of the parents are his own opinion, and the alienating parent has nothing to do with it.
  • Lack of guilt. The child does not feel guilty about being hostile to the alienated parent.
  • Unwavering support for the alienating parent. The child is always on the side of the alienating parent and refuses to listen to the other parent's point of view.
  • Borrowed phrases. The child explains his position in adult language, adopted from the alienating parent.
  • Rejection of all family members associated with the alienated parent. The child does not want to see previously loved family members from the alienated parent.

Other signs may include: destruction of gifts, unusual protection of the other parent, outrageous acts towards the parent or family members, accusations of neglect or abuse.

In cases of suspicion of parental alienation, the court has the right to involve psychologists in the trial.


Is parental alienation a crime?

Experts recognize parental alienation as a serious form of child abuse, equating alienation with child neglect or physical abuse, urging authorities to take care of child protection.

The courts do not consider parental alienation a crime, but they take this phenomenon very seriously. Therefore, they can change the order of custody of the child.

As far as the American Psychiatric Association does not officially recognize parental alienation syndrome, it is very difficult to prove it.

To prove to the court that the other parent is behaving unworthily and to demonstrate the impact of his actions on the relationship between the estranged parent and child, it is best to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer. For example, a parent may explicitly prevent visits from a child, but at the same time claims that he has a non-standard work schedule that does not allow the other parent to meet with the child.

Some of the behaviors that may be considered by the court as contributing to the alienation of parents: 

  • Restrict or ban visits from the other parent;
  • Interfere with communication with the other parent;
  • Do not allow a child to take things from the other parent's home;
  • Solve issues related to the child without the participation of the other parent;
  • Withhold information about the child, about his health and what is happening to him;
  • Instill in the child that the other parent can harm him;
  • Show disrespect to the other parent in front of the child.

In some cases, a parent can convince a child to make false statements in court about abuse. Courts in all US states take such claims very seriously. A parent who faces a false accusation may file a custody suit or petition with the court to change the existing custody order.

In the United States, the cases filed by a parent who suffered from their spouse's planned actions resulting in their common child's unwillingness to communicate and visit the alienated parent are heard in state family courts and are limited to family law remedies: the laws of each individual state.

But, despite the differences in laws between states, all family courts make sure that the decisions made are in the best interests of the child. All states have guardianship laws that require courts to consider how parents' actions affect their children. But despite this, there are no federal or state laws that include the concept of parental alienation.

Some jurisdictions may suspend child support payments in cases of parental alienation. Also, some state courts may try to resolve the alienation issue through forced reunion therapy.

In New York, when a child's mother prevented a father from seeing her son because of the "alienation pattern", child support was suspended.

And the alienation of one parent through the efforts of a friend directly violates the rights of the child.

It is a common practice in many states to have a qualified expert witness testify whether a parent is alienated or they deal with a mental disorder of one of the parents.


Parental Alienation Attorney in New York

If you suspect parental alienation, then the most important step you can take is to contact an attorney to analyze the situation and draw up a plan to seek compensation of damage in court.


65 years of combined legal experience!

Seek advice from the Sharova Law Firm to determine how to defeat parental alienation according to New York State law.

We will help you obtain evidence that your spouse's behavior is intended to alienate parents.

We will also help with providing experts to testify that your spouse's behavior is harming your children.

Contact us for a free consultation at any time convenient for you.

Contact number: +1(212)321-0741.

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