The Line Between Protection and Alienation

A couple who has separated and is preparing to get a divorce wants what they believe will be best for their children. In many cases a parent’s primary concern is protecting a child from any type of physical or emotional harm. However, in situations in which a parent feels his or her spouse is a danger, it is possible for the line between protection and alienation to be crossed.  Parental alienation is a serious offense that can damage the relationship between your child and their other parent. In order to avoid being accused of parental alienation, it is important to understand what actions could be considered alienation by a court and how you can protect your child without fearing repercussions.

Types of Parental Alienation

When parental alienation is discussed, most people believe that a person guilty of alienation is making a conscious choice to interfere with the relationship that his or her child has with the other parent. It is true that some alienators will actively work to destroy the reputation of the other parent in order to hurt that parent. Actions associated with parental alienation include interfering with visitations, denying a parent the right to talk to the child, or moving without notice. There are also some parents who do not make any conscious choice to engage in alienation. In these cases, a parent might absent-mindedly criticize the other parent or make an observation about that parent in front of the child in passing that casts that parent in a negative light.

Protecting a Child

Over the years, instances of domestic abuse have been linked with parental alienation charges.  Parents who were found guilty of parental alienation initially kept their children away from a spouse because the former spouse was allegedly physically or sexually abusing the children. A parent who wants to keep his or her children safe may be unwilling to allow them to be alone with a parent or relative who they feel is abusive. Unfortunately, taking matters into your own hands and disregarding court orders comes with consequences that can result in your child spending more time with the parent from whom you were protecting them.

Penalties for Parental Alienation

A parent who is found guilty of parental alienation can expect to face tough penalties. One of the most common penalties for denying a parent access to the children is for that parent to receive additional visitation time. Additionally, the other parent can file a motion of contempt if court ordered visitation is being violated or the parent being accused of alienation is willfully violating part of the parenting plan. A parent found guilty of alienation can face fines, jail time, and more.

Contact an Attorney

If you or a loved one wants to protect a child without violating an existing parenting agreement, it is important to contact a skilled child custody attorney. The compassionate attorneys at Lawrence Law Office understand how strong the desire to protect your child from harm is. We are able to work with you to find a way to keep your children safe without risking alienation accusations. Contact us today at our conveniently located Columbus office to schedule a consultation.  

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