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How to Prove Parental Alienation


Parental​ ​alienation​ ​can​ ​significantly​ ​damage​ ​or​ ​completely​ ​destroy your​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​your​ ​child.​ If you feel that your ex is purposefully maligning you or encouraging your child to cut off contact, you may have legal recourse. There are many types of neglect, and it can be difficult to know how to prove parental alienation in a court of law. ​Fortunately, San Rafael, CA, attorney Kate​ ​Rockas​ ​is​ ​a​ certified ​family​ ​law​ ​specialist​. With her years of expertise and detailed knowledge of applicable California regulations, she can​ ​guide​ ​you​ ​through​ ​the legal​ ​process. If you have a viable case, she will help you compile compelling​ ​evidence that will hold up in court. In this way, she can protect your child and help to restore your healthy relationship.

A paper child in the middle of a paper broken heart
Proving parental alienation is difficult, but can be done with the help of an experienced attorney. 

Understanding Parental Alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent purposefully sabotages a child’s relationship with the other parent. This can take place in numerous ways, including:

  • Making derogatory comments about the other parent to the child or within earshot of him or her
  • Refusing to acknowledge the child when he or she talks about the other parent
  • Refusing to communicate with the other parent
  • Sharing secrets with the explicit instruction, “Don’t tell Mom” or “Don’t tell Dad.”
  • Deliberately preventing contact between parent and child
  • Hiding gifts or refusing to forward messages
  • Making false allegations of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

Signs of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is varied in nature, and, of course, all children will respond differently. Therefore, the effects can manifest in numerous ways. Common signs include:

  • The child refuses to have contact with the alienated parent.
  • The child refuses to have contact with extended family on the side of the alienated parent.
  • The child continually maligns one parent and extols the other.
  • The child denies that his or her opinions are based on something the other parent has said.

Typically, these signs arise suddenly and without any prior behavioral issues. To qualify as parental alienation, the child’s refusal to contact one parent is based on frivolous or non-existent matters. If a child has legitimate grounds, such as current or past abuse, alienation is not at play.

Initial Steps You Can Take

Although parental alienation can be difficult to prove, you should start gathering evidence before your case goes to court.

  • Record specific communication patterns, including things your ex says or comments that your child makes.
  • Make note of any changes in visitation schedules.
  • Save copies of texts or emails that contain mention of visitation or alienating comments.
  • Write down any time your child uses bad language, words that are not age appropriate, or alienating language.
  • Talk to coaches, teachers, and other adults. Ask if your child has demonstrated behavioral changes or made any alienating remarks away from home.
  • Look for signs of physical abuse or neglect by the other parent.

Working with an Attorney Is the Most Effective Legal Solution

Further complicating matters, judges often have biases regarding divorce and child custody. Therefore, no matter how convincing your evidence, you need a family lawyer to create a truly convincing case. Your attorney can advise you about the best ways to gather evidence. For example, in some cases, audio or video recordings can prove highly convincing in a court room. An attorney can also rule out child abuse and help you determine the right time to make allegations of parental alienation. When you are ready to go to court, she can assist you in choosing key evidence and selecting the most valuable witnesses to prove your case.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Parental alienation is a complex issue and one that many attorneys are not willing to handle. Ms. Rockas is a licensed family attorney.  She does not shy away from this issue, and she is ready to use her expertise to fight for the justice you deserve. At the same time, she works with compassion and sensitivity to minimize the emotional strain for both you and your child. If you believe that you are the victim of parental alienation, contact our office online to book your consultation. You can also speak to a legal expert when you call (415) 306-5560.

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I consider Kate to be an outstanding Family Law attorney. She is one of only two Family Law attorneys in Marin County to whom I refer clients.

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