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Watch out for the signs of parental alienation

You've been working with your ex-spouse on custody arrangements, but there's one thing that you've noticed that you don't like. Every time your children come home, they have new toys and clothing. Every time they return, they ask when they can go back and see their other parent again. They cry and say they want to stay there.

Last week, your littlest child stated that her dad said you're a bad person. Your older child confirmed it. Now, you're livid. Why would your ex-spouse be putting your children in the middle of the issues you have to deal with as adults? Why are they doing so much for your children and then making you look so bad as a parent?

Parental alienation might be taking place

Parental alienation is sometimes intentional, but often it is not. It happens when one parent takes strides to make their children love being with them while putting down the other parent. For example, if one parent promises amazing vacations, new toys and shopping sprees if their children stay with them, then they could be trying to alienate them from the other parent. On the other hand, a parent who feels guilty about a divorce may be trying to explain what happened to their children and say that their ex-spouse did something wrong. They may buy gifts for their children as a way of compensating for the loss of the family unit.

Unfortunately, whether intentional or not, both situations can result in alienation. One parent may see their child starting to pull away from them, preferring to be with the other parent. When gift-giving, negative talk about the other parent and other actions cause this animosity between child and parent, it could constitute alienation.

What should you do if you think your ex-spouse is trying to alienate your children from you?

If you believe that your ex-spouse is trying to convince your children not to be respectful to you or is trying to get them to tell the court that they don't want to be with you, it's time to start taking legal action. Record what your children say to you and when you have negative interactions with your spouse. When you build up evidence of this kind of negative behavior caused by your ex-spouse, you may be able to fight to have your custody order changed or seek supervised visitation to prevent further damage to your relationships.

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