What Legal Strategies Can Be Employed to Address Parental Alienation Issues in Georgia?
A difficult or contentious divorce can often have a negative impact on children. In these instances, parental alienation can be a frequently observed behavior that can affect both the child and the alienated parent. Learn the facts about parental alienation in Georgia and see what legal options you may have to address the problem – and how a lawyer for contempt issues may be able to help.
What Is Parental Alienation?
According to a study published by the National Center for State Courts, parental alienation could be considered a form of emotional abuse. It usually entails a parent’s display of unjustified negativity toward the other parent. These displays are intentional in nature and witnessed by the child and have the goal of damaging the child’s relationship with the other parent and making the child feel negatively about the other parent.
The study also points to several common signs of parental alienation. These may include the child expressing hatred and negative feelings for the alienated parent, the child refusing to visit that parent, and the child’s language being similar to that of the alienating parent. In addition, the child may display irrational or delusional beliefs about the other parent and often shows hatred of that parent without having any ability to see any good.
Are There Any Differences Between Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome?
The same study also discusses differences between the terms Parental Alienation and P.A.S. (Parental Alienation Syndrome). As mentioned previously, parental alienation is typically viewed as a set of strategies and behaviors displayed by the alienating parent with the goal of turning the child against the other parent. In its most extreme form, parental alienation may be considered emotional abuse, as it affects the child’s ability to relate to the other parent and also negatively impacts the child in many other ways, such as causing harm to their self-image and self-respect.
On the other hand, the term Parental Alienation Syndrome was coined by an American Psychiatrist named Dr. Richard Gardner. In 1985, he first defined the syndrome as a childhood disorder that almost always arises in divorce and child custody dispute scenarios. Children affected by the P.A.S. syndrome engage in a campaign of hatred and denigration of the alienated parent, and such behavior is often encouraged by the alienating parent. It is worth mentioning that this definition only applies to instances in which the child has not been the victim of abuse, neglect, or any other behavior that would justify the hatred against the other parent.
How Do Georgia Courts Address Parental Alienation?
While the state of Georgia does not have specific laws addressing parental alienation, the state courts typically follow the “best interest of the child” standard to guide their decisions concerning child custody and support matters. In other words, while the courts prefer to include both parents in the child’s life as much as possible, accusations of parental alienation may play a role in influencing the court’s decisions, as the alienating parent may not be acting in the child’s best interest.
If you have reasons to believe your ex-spouse is engaging in parental alienation behaviors and negatively influencing your child, you may need to collect evidence to support your claim. For example, you may want to document instances in which you are denied visitation time with your child in spite of having a court-ordered schedule. This can be used in a child custody modification action to show the court that the other parent is not acting in the child’s best interest and may be causing emotional harm to the child. It may be beneficial for you to contact an attorney to get advice on your legal options.
What Can an Contempt Attorney Do to Help?
If you believe that your parental rights and your relationship with your child are being affected by parental alienation, your first step should be to speak with a advocate for contempt situations. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, your attorney may advise you on what type of evidence you may need to present to the court to prove the other parent is engaging in parental alienation strategies. If you are being cut off from visitation times, for example, your attorney specializing in contempt matters may recommend initiating a contempt action to ask the court for help enforcing your visitation orders and get the other parent to comply with the current parenting schedule. Alternatively, your attorney may recommend initiating a modification request to ask the court to change your current custody arrangements in order to restore your relationship with your child. Every case is different, so it is crucial for you to discuss your situation with a skilled family law attorney.
At Lunn Law, LLC, our family law attorneys are well-equipped to handle a variety of family law matters and can advise you on issues surrounding child custody, including parental alienation and modification requests. We understand how important it is for you to maintain a healthy relationship with your child, and we are happy to discuss your case and help you determine the best course of action for your situation. If you believe you and your child are being affected by parental alienation, reach out to our office by calling 770-762-4628 and requesting an initial consultation to learn more.