It is not an uncommon scenario during and after divorce: One parent is fuming with anger at the other. Mom begins to say bad things about Dad when the children are with her. Eventually, she even begins to limit the time Dad has with them. Soon, his children stop wanting to see their father because their mother has clouded their perception of who he is.
It is a sad fact that parental alienation is a common tactic in divorce. Typically borne out of disdain for the other spouse, the behavior can end up hurting more than just that person - the father in this scenario. It can end up hurting the children involved as well.
What Are Your Options?
Being the victim of parental alienation hurts. It is painful to watch your relationship with your children dissolve because their other parent is constantly telling them negative - possibly false - things about you.
If this is happening to you, it is important to know that you have options.
Ask your ex to stop. This may be effective in the early stages of alienation. If you begin to notice that your children seem distant or they start repeating negative things about you, mention this to your spouse. It is possible that it was an accident. Maybe your child overheard a phone call where your ex vented to a friend. Or maybe something small slipped out in a moment of frustration or anger.
Remind your ex of your custody plan. If your spouse starts finding ways to keep you from seeing the children, remind him or her of the custody schedule you agreed to. Tell them that you plan to stick to it and hope they do too.
Seek legal help. If your ex is violating your custody plan, you do not have to simply wait and hope it gets better. You can seek to have it enforced by the courts. In Alabama, child custody agreements are based on the best interests of the children involved. In most situations, it is in the children's best interests to have a relationship with both of their parents.
Finding evidence of alienation can help your case. Facebook posts, voicemails and other forms of communication in which your spouse says negative things about you could help prove that alienation is occurring. A lawyer can help you better understand where to look for evidence and how to go about seeking enforcement of your custody order.