Fighting Parental Alienation

In a perfect world, parents would always work together for the best interest of their children, and custody issues could be civilly resolved in a calm manner.  Custody battles can unfortunately sometimes deteriorate when the parents use the children as a way to get back at each other.  Parental alienation is one way that parental anger and resentment may manifest itself during or after a custody dispute or divorce.  Parental alienation is the intentional or unintentional act of a parent that results in the deterioration of the parent relationship between the other parent and the child.  For the victim parent, there are ways to fight against this.

First, remember that your children are also the victims in this process.  It is not the children’s fault that the other parent is doing his or her best to drive a wedge in your relationship.  When you have the opportunity to spend time with your children, make sure you tell them that you love them and demonstrate to the best of your ability that you are not the person your former spouse is trying to make you out to be.

Second, do not go overboard with your attempt to debunk the lies of your spouse.  Do not give in to the temptation to over-explain yourself to your children and above all, do not get defensive or point out that your former spouse is the one lying.  Show with your actions that you are the same parent you have always been.

Third, be as consistent as possible in following the custodial order.  Even if your former spouse states outright that he or she will not be showing up to the exchange point, show up anyway.  The alienating parent may very well show up anyway to try to show the children that you do not care enough to pick them up.  Accordingly, consistently go by the custodial schedule.  Your children will see that you are showing up and making an effort.

Finally, keep notes and calendars of the actions taken by your former spouse.  If and when you have to seek the court’s assistance for contempt issues or modification of the order, you will have a detailed recorded history of what he or she has done to try to alienate your children from you.

Custody issues are delicate and can be outright complicated when one parent is attempting to alienate the children from the other parent. at (732) 529-6937 to discuss your children and what can be done to help you build your relationship. Please also check out our for other FAQs about divorce topics like this one.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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