What Recourse Do I Have when My Child Is Turned Against Me?

Typically, when your minor children live with their other parents, you want to do your best to provide for them. You work diligently to negotiate the best possible arrangements, covering all the bases: custody, visitation, insurance and finances. Everything seems to be in place.

Parents, especially non-custodial parents, sometimes encounter a difficult obstacle called “parental alienation.” This is when one parent either overtly or indirectly attempts to manipulate a child or children so they resist and are even openly hostile to your attempts at parenting.

Is There a Law Against Parental Alienation?

At present, Georgia has no statute that forbids this behavior. Family courts, however, are well-acquainted with these practices. When a parent can demonstrate this is happening, it may impact judicial decrees with the respect to the rights and responsibilities of each parent. Remember that family courts have as their sole priority the ongoing welfare of children in such circumstances.

What Should I Do if I Am Experiencing Parental Alienation?

This phenomenon is well-known within the mental health community. There is excellent advice available for restoring relationships with your children when the opportunity presents itself. Meanwhile, here are some principles that may help on the practical side:

  • Take care to remain calm and neither blame nor placate an alienated child

  • Try not to openly criticize your child’s other parent

  • Do your best to document evidence of alienating behavior

  • Try to avoid confrontation, be patient and take the long view

The guiding principle for all parties involved in custody cases is the physical and emotional well-being of the children. If one parent attempts to exclude the other, by definition the welfare of their children is under duress.