What to Know About Parental Alienation in Massachusetts

You have likely heard of parental alienation and did not realize that was the name of this behavior. Parental alienation refers to the tactic used to turn a child against their parent. This behavior can be extremely detrimental to a child’s well-being, so it is important to be aware of parental alienation, what it looks like, and what to do about it.

What Does Parental Alienation Look Like?

Sometimes you may not even be aware that this is occurring, but it can seriously impact your relationship with your child. Parental alienation may take the form of:

  • Passive verbal jabs about the other parent
  • Outright badmouthing the other parent
  • Pretending to “save” the child from certain situations that the child simply does not need saving from

Children are vulnerable and they may be deeply affected by these behaviors. If you believe you are a victim of parental alienation, it is important to take action as soon as possible.

How Can I Prove Parental Alienation? 

If you believe you are a victim of parental alienation, there are a few steps you should take:

  1. Document disparaging remarks: For example, if your ex-spouse sends a bitter text or leaves you an angry voicemail, you should document these incidents.
  2. Record incidents: If your child quotes something their other parent has said, you may want to keep a record of this quote in a journal.
  3. Preserve social media evidence: Unfortunately, many people post every detail of their lives on social media, meaning your ex may be speaking ill of you on these public platforms. If this occurs, be sure to take screenshots.
  4. Observe behavior: Sometimes, your child will begin to act differently as a result of parental alienation. This behavior may include violent outbursts or a more distanced demeanor.

What Should I do if I am a Victim of Parental Alienation?

If you believe that you and your child are victims of parental alienation, you should first retain the services of a knowledgeable family law attorney. Often, the solution is to modify your custody agreement. But, in order to do this, you will have to provide proof that your former spouse is exhibiting behavior in line with the definition of parental alienation, and thereby violating the core of your child custody agreement. This can help limit the amount of time your former spouse spends with your child if he or she is not looking out for your child’s best interests. But, providing proof can be incredibly difficult, so it is important to reach out to an experienced attorney.

Contact our Firm

For over 30 years, The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. has provided quality legal support and representation for clients in Bristol County and all of Massachusetts. Our firm’s experience eases the stress of clients while providing the legal services they deserve. If you need help through a contested divorce, contact The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. for a consultation today.