Divorces in Fulton can be hard—and they can get pretty messy pretty quickly. After all, we rarely see an amicable divorce where both partners walk away perfectly happy. Issues like deciding how to split assets, how much to pay in alimony, or what the custody schedule will be for the kids can cause tempers to flare.
If you are not getting along with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, then you could be facing a pretty high-conflict divorce. Adding children into the mix can potentially make it that much more bitter, too.
Just look at Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Recently, it has been reported that Angelina Jolie is continuing to bring up old allegations about Brad Pitt abusing their children. Jolie first broke the news in 2016 about Pitt allegedly “getting physical” with one of their children while on a private plane and then pouring a beer all over her. While she did pursue the claim, the FBI investigated and found that there was not sufficient evidence to press charges. During their divorce proceedings, she also attempted to convince the judge that Pitt was an unfit father who abused their children. The judge listened to all evidence, but seemed to dismiss her claims, as he awarded them 50/50 custody.
While Angelina Jolie may not get along with Brad Pitt anymore, it is pretty clear that their family as a whole are the ones suffering in this case. Sources claim in an attempt to get payback against Pitt for a bad relationship, Angelina has pitted their children against him. The same sources say the children have little to no relationship with Pitt.
What are parental alienating behaviors?
Parental alienating behaviors are “a parent’s intentional use of patterns of behaviors over time to harm the child’s relationship with their other parent.” This typically happens during the course of child custody battles in divorces, and it can completely destroy families.
A 2019 study found that nearly 30% of parents in the United States and Canada feel as though they are being alienated by one or more of their children as a result of their other parent—and that number is not exclusive to those who are divorced. Just imagine how much higher that percentage really is if it focused only on divorced parents. Parental alienating behaviors can show themselves in many different ways, but some of the most common are:
- Badmouthing – Let’s say a mom is talking to her kids about how their father is such a terrible guy because he was so mean to her during their marriage and he never treated her like he loved her. Kids hearing this, especially young ones, can be easily manipulated into thinking that their father’s flaws are much more exaggerated than they really are.
- Limiting contact – Unfortunately, until an agreement is made and signed off by a judge, children can opt to not see their other parent. If the alienating parent has already badmouthed the other one quite a bit, then it makes sense why the child would not be interested in spending time with the targeted parent. A great amount of damage can be done in this period until a custody agreement is reached and enforced by the court.
- Forcing to choose – In Maryland, the court does take the child’s opinion into consideration when determining custody if they are at least 16 years old. Because of this, the alienating parent may try to influence their child’s decision prior to divorce proceedings so that the targeted parent does not get what they want.
What are the effects of parental alienating behaviors?
Parental alienating behaviors can really ruin a kid’s innocence. Even if their parents are divorced, trying to grow up with two adults who cannot stand to get along for their sake can lead to a severely troubled childhood. A new study which looks into the effects of these behaviors considers them to be a form of child abuse because of the negative effects it causes in children, including:
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of trust
- Substance abuse
The effects of parental alienating behaviors do not just affect the children, either. In the same study as previously mentioned, researchers also found that almost 50% of parents who have become alienated from their children considered committing suicide within the past year. It can be absolutely devastating to both the targeted parent and the child at the same time.
When going through a divorce in Fulton, it is important to try to be as good-natured as possible for the sake of your children. You do not have to like or even get along with your soon-to-be ex-spouse anymore, but your children should not ever see the vicious side of either one of their parents. It can make them feel as though they need to choose sides, which can negatively affect their mental health and relationship with their other parent for the rest of their lives.
If you are going through a divorce and think your spouse is pitting your children against you for their own gain, you have options. Talk to the Fulton family law attorneys at McCabe Russell, PA about how we can help you fight for your family. You are our top priority and we will ensure that you and your children receive what you need. We proudly serve families in Fulton, Bethesda, Rockville, and Columbia. To set up a consultation, call our office, or fill out our contact form.
Emily has earned the well-deserved reputation among her colleagues for her willingness to successfully take on some of the most difficult divorce and custody cases throughout the state. Without a doubt, Emily is the trial attorney you want seated on your side of the courtroom.
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