What Are the Signs of Parental Alienation in an Illinois Divorce?
Although most people enter into marriage thinking it will last “til death do us part,” not all unions make it that far. Whether a couple has simply grown apart or infidelity played a role, spouses may choose to legally end their marriage. In Illinois, the only reason for divorce is “irreconcilable differences,” which basically means the relationship has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and there is no hope for reconciliation. If a couple has children together, there are many issues that will need to be resolved before the divorce is final, including the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). Co-parenting can pose its challenges even when ex-spouses get along well, but it can become downright combative if you and your ex harbor bitterness or anger toward each other. These feelings often end up being manifested through the children in what is called parental alienation syndrome.
Recognizing Alienating Behaviors
Parental alienation takes place when one parent attempts to disrupt his or her children’s relationship with their other parent. Unfortunately, it can be common after divorce, but it may happen gradually, so noticing the signs of this type of behavior is crucial before it gets out of hand.
An example of parental alienation could be when your ex-spouse tells the children that you do not love them or you do not want to see them. In some cases, alienation is not so obvious. By engaging in passive-aggressive tactics, your co-parent may negatively affect your children’s opinion or view of you. For instance, making statements in front of the kids about the finances or issues within the marriage can all be a way of placing blame for the divorce on you. Over time, your children may start to believe what they are hearing when they are at your ex’s house and pull away from you emotionally.
Here are a few of the most common behaviors that may signify your children are becoming alienated from you due to their other parent’s influence:
- Acting distant or withdrawn without giving a valid reason
- Receiving poor grades or being disciplined for bad behavior at school
- Disobeying your requests to do chores or homework
- Talking back to you or using language the mimics the other parent
- Engaging in hostility toward you, siblings, or extended family members
- Finding out you are no longer listed as a contact at your children’s school
- Requesting that you do not attend their extracurricular activities
Consequences of Alienation
The reasons your co-parent may try to harm your children’s relationship with you include trying to change child custody arrangements or parenting time orders by attempting to convince the children that they do not want to spend time with you. However, child psychologists as well as Illinois courts acknowledge that children benefit from having a relationship with both parents.
Parental alienation can cause emotional harm to children, and if your co-parent is acting improperly, you may be able to take legal action against your ex-spouse with the help of an experienced attorney. This type of behavior can influence a judge’s decisions about parental responsibility and parenting time. The alienating parent may face serious consequences, such as restrictions on their parenting time or requirements to take parenting classes.
Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer
The decision to file for divorce is not an easy one to make, and it should not be taken lightly. At The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, we understand how difficult a divorce can be, especially when children are involved. Speaking to our skilled Hoffman Estates divorce attorney will put your mind at ease. Attorney Richardson works tirelessly to protect his clients’ parental rights. To arrange a free consultation, call us today at 847.873.6741.