Divorce may arise out of many different circumstances. Spouses may grow apart or find that they are interested in different goals or objectives. They may be driven apart due to the stress of a traumatizing life event or may simply find that they are no longer compatible. In even the most emotional of circumstances, most spouses hope that their divorce and child custody issues will be addressed appropriately. This is why it is often shocking when parental alienation arises during a divorce. Parental alienation may be emotionally devastating during divorce proceedings, and it may make it difficult for courts to determine what is in the best interests of the child, since the child may be unduly influenced by a parent’s negative comments or behaviors. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, our Milwaukee child custody lawyers can assist parents in navigating such difficult circumstances.What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is a situation in which one parent has influenced a child in such a manner as to turn the child against the other parent. It is a product of a dysfunctional relationship between a parent and a child, and it has been recognized as a mental health syndrome by some experts. Parental alienation may be subtle or direct. For instance, a parent may make simple comments about the other parent while a child is listening, thereby attempting to subtly influence the child’s opinion of the other parent. Or one parent may engage in a direct effort to lie to the child, such as telling a child that their other parent does not love them, cannot visit them, or does not care about them. The intention is to undermine or destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent. In some situations, the child may end up refusing to speak to or see the other parent.Parental Alienation During Divorce Proceedings
In divorce and child custody proceedings, courts must consider the best interests of the child in determining where a child should be placed or how custody should be shared. This may become complicated when parental alienation occurs, since a child may resist or refuse placement with one parent because they have been wrongfully alienated from that parent. While the parent who has been alienated should not be further punished by being denied custody, courts also recognize that it may be difficult to place a child with a parent whom the child has been convinced to dislike because it is likely to only make circumstances worse. In any case, it is important for parents who believe that they have been subjected to parental alienation to notify the court of these facts and to push to have them taken into consideration when determining custody.
Parental alienation may also arise after custody has been determined. It may result in a child starting to refuse visitation with a parent or otherwise denying the parent access to the child’s life. When this happens, one possible remedy for the parent is to enforce the custody order through Wisconsin Statute 767.471, which allows a parent remedies to enforce physical placement orders, including getting compensatory time and money. Courts may also instruct the parent involved in the alienation to encourage the child to visit with the other parent. Particularly when children are very young, courts may hold parents liable for a child’s unwillingness to participate.Consult a Milwaukee Lawyer During a Divorce Involving Children
If you are dealing with a difficult child custody situation or a strained relationship with your child, and you believe that parental alienation may be partially to blame, it is important that you raise these issues immediately with the court to ensure that they are addressed and are not allowed to worsen. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, our family law attorneys are skilled in helping parents recognize the symptoms of parental alienation and pursuing remedies in Wisconsin courts. Contact our office at (414) 271-6400 or online to set up a free appointment with a knowledgeable Milwaukee lawyer. We represent people in Milwaukee, Mequon, Racine, Waukesha, West Bend, and other communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, West Bend, and Waukesha Counties.