Parental Alienation is a term that is brought up countless times when going through a divorce, child custody case, Modification, or Legitimation. In 1985, Dr. Richard Garner, a Psychologist, introduced Parental Alienation Syndrome which, “is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/ or exaggerated denigration of the other target parent. In severe cases, the child’s once love-bonded relationship with rejected/ target parent is destroyed.” In layman’s terms, it means one parent is turning the child or children away from the targeted parent.
Consequences of Parental Alienation
A Guardian Ad Litem may be appointed in your case especially if there are accusations of parental alienation from a party. The GAL’s job is to investigate and give the parties and court a recommendation on the children’s custody. If one party is found to be alienating the other parent this can have a direct impact on the child custody the alienating party will receive. Even if a GAL is not appointed in your case, many family attorneys use a collaborative approach. This means the children may be recommended to see a therapist who could help confirm if any parental alienation is taking place. If the Court is deciding the custody of the children, there are many factors they consider. One of those factors according to O.C.G.A. 19-9-3 is “The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and other parent, consistent with the best interest of the child.”
What do I do if the Parental Alienation takes place after the case closes?
If you suspect Parental Alienation is taking place, make sure to speak with a Family law attorney about the situation. They can provide guidance on how to take action against the alienating party. The Parenting Plan signed in your case will have agreed that each party promotes, “a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the children’s life will be in the children’s best interest.” There may also be a prevision in the plan as well that neither party is allowed to make disparaging remarks about the other party in front of the children. The Georgia Supreme Court in the case Romo v. Romo ruled that modification of child custody can take place if there is sufficient evidence showing alienation by one party. If you would like to set up a consultation to speak with an attorney about concerns over parental alienation, give us a call toll-free at 866-527-2630.