Stopping Parental Alienation: How to Win a Parental Alienation Case in Court

It’s known as parental alienation when one parent deliberately alienates the other parent from their child to get their child to reject the targeted parent. Unfortunately, this type of alienation can create serious psychological issues in a child, often resulting in relationship and parenting problems later.

Some tactics the alienating parent uses include badmouthing, blame, limiting the child’s interaction with the other parent, interfering with communication, convincing the child the other parent doesn’t love them or is dangerous, and many more similar behaviors.

Mental health professionals recognize parental alienation as a pathological phenomenon on the part of the offending parent. In their article on how to win a parental alienation case in court, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist Dr. Alan D. Blotcky and MD Dr. William Bernet write in Family Law Magazine about the importance of making the correct moves.

How to Win a Parental Alienation Case in Court

Several steps are required when one parent denies the other parent the right to parent their child. If you are the targeted parent, you will have asked yourself how to win a parental alienation case in court. The Parental Alienation Resource advises that the most critical elements are gathering evidence, presenting a solid case, and hiring a qualified law attorney.

These are the key elements required to win a parental alienation case in court:

1.     Documenting Incidents

It’s essential to prove that the other parent alienates the child from you. Therefore, keep a record of all incidents. Include the date, time, location, the incident, and what was said.

Some examples of things you must document include:

  • When the other parent won’t respond to a text message from you.
  • When you notice behavioral patterns stemming from communications with the parent encouraging the child to alienate
  • If you notice the problem on specific days or times
  • Is the alienating parent always causing disruptions to your parenting times by scheduling activities for them?

Use your child’s written communications to friends and family to help establish alienation. If your child keeps a diary, it can prove to be a valuable document. Collect any alienating social media posts by taking screenshots. If the alienating party is making disparaging comments about you on social media, they will probably do it privately with the child.

Use a parenting journal or a special communication program for split families to document these so your family lawyer can build an accurate timeline of the incidents for the court.

2.     Maintain Contact

You must maintain regular communication with your child and keep a record of all phone calls, emails, text messages, or letters. These records will help you prove that despite the alienation attempts by the alienating parent, you continue your efforts to maintain a relationship with your child. Backup devices to ensure you don’t lose the evidence.

If your child makes regular derogatory remarks, document them. Additionally, request an explanation from the alienating parent in a text or email about why the child made a particular remark, and note their response or no response. They may admit to saying something to the child or ignore your message.

3.     Hire a Qualified Family Law Attorney

Once you have collected some evidence, the next step is to hire a qualified attorney specializing in parental alienation. Besides providing invaluable advice, a family law attorney knows how to win a parental alienation case in court.

The parental alienation attorney you choose must be able to provide an empathetic and supportive role. They will ask you to provide as much proof as possible to help demonstrate how the alienating parent’s behavior affects your relationship with your child. Your attorney will want you to remain calm and will make sure you receive the correct support.

4.     Get a Professional Evaluation

A mental health professional’s evaluation can determine parental alienation and assess how this has affected your child’s well-being. Family attorneys are the best people to refer you to the right mental health expert whose testimony can carry significant weight when called to give court testimony.

5.     Using Hearsay Evidence

Can you use the other parent’s alienating statement learned from the child in court? If you were not present when they made the statement to the child, it is considered hearsay, which is generally unacceptable in court. However, there are limited exceptions:

  1. Depending on the child’s age, a judge may agree to listen to the hearsay in their chambers.
  2. If the child has recounted the hearsay to a forensic psychologist accepted as a court witness, the psychologist may repeat it in court.

Teenagers who haven’t become completely alienated from the target parent can provide testimony in court.

6.     Witness Testimonies

Trusted people who spend much time with your child may have witnessed the alienating behavior and can provide evidence in court. Additionally, build a support network with many people who can give evidence about your relationship with your child and parenting abilities. These include friends, neighbors, relatives, teachers, coaches, etc.

It’s also vital to provide records showing your past relationship with your child and how the situation has changed. Keep a scrapbook with photos and tickets of events you have attended together to prove that you make every effort to spend time with your child.

7.     Participate in Mediation or Therapy

If the court has ordered mediation or therapy sessions to address or resolve the parental alienation, attend the sessions. Demonstrate your willingness to resolve the situation by engaging actively and cooperating.

8.     Show Your Commitment

You want to show your commitment to fostering a healthy relationship with your child. Therefore, comply with all court orders regarding your custody and visitation rights. Also, follow the recommendations of any other professionals advising you.

Stopping Parental Alienation: How to Win a Parental Alienation Case in Court

Parental alienation is a heartbreaking issue that doesn’t just affect the alienated parent but, more importantly, the well-being of the child involved. Successfully winning a parental alienation case in court can be challenging but is achievable with the right approach. Below are some actionable steps to navigate this emotional and legal quagmire.

Build a Rock-Solid Case

  • Document, Document, Document: Keep meticulous records of interactions with your child and the alienating parent. Everything from texts and call logs to emails can serve as evidence.
  • Hire a Specialized Attorney: Parental alienation is a nuanced area of law. Your attorney must have expertise in this area to guide you through the complexities of the case.
  • Professional Evaluation: Invest in a psychological assessment for your child by a qualified expert in parental alienation. This third-party evaluation can carry significant weight in court.

Witnesses and Testimonies

  • Build Your Support Network: People who can vouch for your parenting skills and relationship with your child can be powerful allies. This could be anyone from neighbors, teachers, family members, and close friends.
  • Utilize Hearsay Carefully: While hearsay is usually not admissible, there are instances where you may be able to use it, especially if your child has recounted the alienating behavior to a court-approved forensic psychologist.

Participation and Commitment

Final Take

Parental alienation hurts children and can range from mild to severe. The length of time that the behavior remains undetected affects severity. Understanding how to win a parental alienation case in court can help you correct the alienating behavior displayed by your child’s other parent. It requires exposing the truths of the person saying negative things about you, and collecting as much evidence as possible is the surest way to prove the parental alienation and prevent any long-term consequences to your child.