Going through a divorce, one of the major points of contention is child custody. Sometimes, a parent will want to get back at another parent and will use the children as ammunition. That can result in practices that lead to endangering the child’s relationship with another parent and affecting the child’s psyche for the rest of their life. The Nashville child custody lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC know how contentious divorces can become and how children may be caught in the crossfire. We can help parents stand up for their rights in the courtroom and prove that parental alienation tactics are causing damage to your child and your relationship.
What is Parental Alienation?
In a divorce, some parents use many tactics to get back at the other parent. Unfortunately, one of those tactics involves children. The parent will try several methods to alienate the child from the other parent that can range from something as simple as criticizing the other parent to deception.
Some common tactics parents will use include in parental alienation cases include:
Blaming the other parent for problems in the family, including breaking it up.
Using the child to spy on the other parent’s activities.
Interfering with the visitation schedule or being inflexible in any reasonable requests for a change.
Speaking badly about the other parent in front of the child.
Making allegations of child abuse against the other parent.
As time progresses, these actions will take root in your child’s brain and cause serious damage to the parent-child relationship. In addition, parental alienation can cause serious psychological harm to the child that can last a lifetime.
Legal Ramifications of Parental Alienation
In Tennessee, a standard Parenting Plan has language that specifically prevents a parent from making derogatory comments about the other parent in front of the child. In addition, the non-custodial parent has the right to have at least two unobstructed phone conversations with their child each week, the right to be informed of any hospitalizations within 24 hours, and the right to participate in the child’s life.
Is Parental Alienation a Crime?
If you are a parent who is being prevented from seeing your child or know your child is hearing derogatory statements about you, you should know that this behavior goes against your parenting plan.
That means you can request the court to make changes to the plan, and even argue for sole custody of your child. But you need to establish that the other parent is trying to sabotage the relationship you have with your children. That’s why it’s important to speak with an experienced child custody attorney to learn what your next steps should be and what you need to prove your case.
While parental alienation itself is not a crime, if the behavior constitutes abuse, then yes–parental alienation is a crime.
How Our Child Custody Lawyers Can Help
If you believe your child is a victim of parental alienation tactics, our Nashville child custody lawyers are ready to act on your behalf. As soon as you hire us, our attorneys will file a motion for contempt of court in an attempt to persuade the parent to stop the behavior. If the alienation tactics continue, our attorney will try to get a court order for a psychological evaluation of your child. If alienation is proven, we will then request a modification to the parenting plan so your child’s best interest is met.
Parental alienation is abusive behavior and needs to be stopped before it destroys relationships and does further harm to your child. If you believe you’re a victim of parental alienation, contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today for a free consultation.