Connecticut Family
Law Attorneys

What happens if one parent alienates the other from their children?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2023 | Family Law |

When couples break up or divorce, the people involved often desire a clean break. Seeing one another can trigger negative emotions ranging from anger to intense sorrow. A clean break is not often a realistic expectation when people share children with one another.

Couples in Connecticut with minor children are generally required to negotiate shared custody arrangements or abide by the custody order created by a Connecticut family law judge. Usually, the courts try to give both parents liberal amounts of time with the children and encourage the parents to work with one another for the benefit of their children.

Some people cannot put the needs of their children before their own emotional reactions. Instead of putting the comfort of their children first, they intentionally interfere with the relationship that the other parent has with their children. Attempts at parental alienation can lead to custody litigation and emotional challenges for the children in the family.

What is parental alienation?

Not all interruptions to custody arrangements constitute parental alienation. Occasionally, factors outside of people’s control interfere with their custody arrangements. Health issues and unusual family scheduling challenges me temporarily prevent people from following a Connecticut custody order. It is usually preferable for parents to be forgiving toward one another and accommodating when there are unusual factors affecting their custody arrangements.

However, one parent should not have to accept repeated cancellations of their parenting time or an inability to communicate with the children because the other parent interferes. Parental alienation involves an intentional attempt to disrupt the bond that one parent has with their child. It often involves shortening or canceling parenting time, refusing communication attempts and bad-mouthing the other parent to influence the children’s perception of and relationship with that parent.

Someone experiencing what they believe is parental alienation may want to maintain a written record of what the other parent does. They can then take that information to the family courts to request a custody modification or custody enforcement. Judges typically want to see parents cooperating with each other and putting the needs of the children first. They could take enforcement actions including deciding to modify custody based on one parent’s intentional alienation of the other.

Enforcing or updating a Connecticut custody order can help parents overcome the damage caused by parental alienation.