Parenting can be as difficult as it is rewarding. Never is this more apparent than when co-parents are going through a contentious divorce. During this transitory period, children are especially sensitive and susceptible to believe what they hear. Unfortunately, this can lead to a situation where parental alienation becomes a reality. Parental alienation is a very serious issue which refers to a parent, guardian, or other loved one turning a child away from a parent. This is not always easy to identify nor is it easy to address. With the proper guidance a legal counsel, it is possible to avoid or overcome situations of parental alienation.
Today, our family rights attorneys will be defining parental alienation, discussing how parental alienation may be considered a form of child abuse, and go over the role such findings might play within child custody hearings.
Bergen County, NJ Family Law Attorneys Define Parental Alienation
Before going into the definition of parental alienation, our Bergen County family law attorneys would like to make clear that no one is perfect. In moments of frustration, we all have said things we regret. However, it is critical that parents take care when choosing their actions and their words around children. Serious forms of parental alienation are almost always intentional, but it is quite possible to inadvertently affect your child’s view on your co-parent.
That being said, parental alienation may include any of the following actions or patterns of behavior:
- An individual telling a child lies about a co-parent
- An individual telling a child that their co-parent does not love them, does not care for them, or is generally a bad person
- Creating scenarios which frame a co-parent as lesser than or in some cases as less dependable – for example some parents will “save” their children from another co-parent by picking them up early, creating a false sense that the child was in danger
- Any situation where a parent instills an unwarranted hatred, fear, or distrust of another parent or guardian
Paramus Parental Alienation Lawyers Discuss Potential Impact on Child Custody
In New Jersey, severe cases of parental alienation are considered acts of child abuse. As with all cases of child abuse or domestic violence, these actions may be considered when determining child custody and parenting times for divorcing or unmarried parents. It is also possible to have an existing child custody agreement modified based on incidents of parental alienation.
The terms of child custody and child support agreements are considered to cater to the best interests of the children involved. It is the positions of the New Jersey Family Courts that children’s needs are the primary factor when determining these issues. When a parent has been shown to be abusive, or in this case has been shown to have participated in parental alienation, they may have their child custody and parenting time either reduced or eliminated. This is to protect the child from a parent who may suffer from a psychological illness or at the very least has demonstrated a serious lack of judgement.
Each case is heard on an individual basis. To ensure your legal rights are being protected, parents are encouraged to work closely with a qualified Paramus parental alienation lawyer. Whether you are being accused of parental alienation or believe your co-parent is committing this form of abuse, you do not need to fight this battle alone.
Contact our Hackensack Parental Alienation and Child Abuse Attorneys Today
The parental alienation and child abuse attorneys of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark take pride in serving families from local Bergen County communities including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, Fort Lee, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our legal team understands that issues involving children are not legal formalities, and they are deeply personal for all parties involved. For this reason, we believe in keeping our family law clients as informed and involved as possible throughout the legal process. To speak with one of our attorneys in a free and confidential consultation, please contact us online or through our Hackensack, NJ offices by calling (201) 397-1750 today.