Here are some more insights – continuing from where we left off in the last post:
• Use the court to protect your rights and force compliance, if necessary. Under certain conditions, the court can require an appointed staff member to review the other parent’s compliance with any orders. It can also establish what’s known as a Guardian Ad Litem to factfind for the court and figure out what’s actually going on with your child. The court can also choose to “sanction” the other parent and increase your parenting time.
• Recognize that you may face an uphill battle in court, even if the facts are on your side. For instance, courts generally tend to be reluctant to ignore a child’s request to stay with an alienating parent (and/or to minimized time with a targeted parent), even if evidence of alienation has been presented. Likewise, the court may be loath to punish the alienating parent with a severe penalty, like jail time.
• To the extent that you can, strive to empathize with both the other parent and the child. When another person is behaving monstrously towards you, it is quite challenging to listen to what’s being said and to hear the humanness underneath the message. Let’s say that your ex-wife, for instance, blatantly lied about what happened one afternoon when you fought at a restaurant. She claimed that you threw a newspaper at her in the parking lot during an argument. You did no such thing. Rather than focusing on her wrongness (the lying, the besmirching of your character, etc.), turn your attention on what you think might have been going on with her at that moment. Obviously, you can’t say for sure what her internal state was (or is), but you can probably guess. Maybe she felt afraid because several things in her life have gone badly since the divorce. She worries about losing control over yet another element in her life (her child) and thus lashes out at you in a misguided attempt to establish boundaries that she can control. Trying to see things from her side is not an exercise in neglecting your own feelings, nor is it an opportunity to diagnose her. Rather, it’s an attempt to help yourself through the process. Just by attempting to get a handle on what’s motivating her actions and beliefs and by attempting to see the universal human emotions beneath these actions and beliefs, you’ll be better able to respond and to process what she’s putting you through. Likewise, do your best to empathize with your child’s emotional drivers. Perhaps, for instance, he’s been traumatized by your divorce, and he wants some semblance of order in his life, which he gets by shutting you out. Or maybe he’s unable to resist the alienating parent’s brainwashing and, as a result, cannot hear your narrative with an open mind because of a need to be consistent.
Steps the Court Can Take to Address Alienation and Stop It
The powers that the court has to fix alienation include:
• Ordering one or both parents into therapy.
• If the child has been the victim of alienation or abuse or neglect, ordering therapy for the child.
• Allowing the parents to present their points of view to the court.
• Modifying the parenting plan and monitoring the plan’s progress to ensure fairness and compliance with court orders.
• Appointing a Guardian Ad Litem to assess whether the parents are adhering to the established plan and to collect facts about what’s happening in the family.
For skillful, experienced assistance handling your Parental Alienation case, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 738-8404.