Imagine a mother and father divorcing. They go to an Arkansas family court, the divorce is granted and the mother is given primary custody of the children. At first, the mother respects the father’s custody time, but soon the children start avoiding their father. Eventually, the children become antagonistic to their father and refuse to see him. Sadly, this isn’t just a story, but a reality for many fathers in the Little Rock area.
This kind of situation is known as Parental Alienation Syndrome. While the above story is about a father being alienated from his children, there are also cases of mothers being alienated from their children, too. Regardless of which parent is being torn from his or her children, it affects both the parents and the children.
Parental Alienation Syndrome has long-lasting negative effects on children. As they grow older, they may be at higher risk for psychological conditions. In addition, they often have their own interpersonal problems. These kinds of problems can be avoided, however, if mothers respect their children’s fathers’ rights. Giving them their court-ordered custody time, not verbally abusing them and not trying to poison their children against their fathers can help avoid Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Although it can be incredibly difficult for former spouses to be cordial, much less be cognizant each others’ feelings and rights, the damage Parental Alienation Syndrome causes, for both children and adults, should be enough to respect each others’ rights. When it isn’t, however, an experienced family law attorney may be able to help enforce custody decisions.
Source: Minnesota Lawyer, “In divorce, alienation a big risk,” Paul M. Reitman and Adam Gierok, April 12, 2013