Divorce is never easy, especially if you and your former spouse have children. Trying to figure out how to co-parent adds another complication, even if you and your ex are still on good terms. In some situations, one parent may even be accused of trying to turn the kids against the other parent—known as parental alienation. Read on to learn more about parental alienation and what to do if you are accused of this subtle form of child abuse in a New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) investigation.
Understanding Parental Alienation
According to the National Center for State Courts, parental alienation is “a strategy whereby one parent intentionally displays to the child unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent” in order to “damage the child's relationship with the other parent and to turn the child's emotions against that other parent.” The alienator can accomplish this by disparaging the alienated parent, telling the child that the alienated parent doesn't love them, or otherwise depicting the alienated parent in a negative way. The child might, as a result, refuse to see their alienated parent.
Parental alienation is a serious problem. Attempting to alienate your kids from their other parent can be considered a form of emotional child abuse—an accusation that carries serious consequences. Read on to learn more about signs of parental alienation and what to do if you are accused of being an alienating parent.
Signs of Parental Alienation
Parental alienation can be hard to detect because it is so subtle. Here are some common indications:
- The child uses the same type of language as the alienating parent to describe the alienated parent.
- The child's beliefs about their alienated parent are identical to the alienating parent's.
- The child voices hateful or disrespectful opinions about the alienated parent, which may also be particularly concerning if the child is very young
- The child's beliefs, memories, or opinions about the alienated parent cannot be traced to their own experiences with that parent—that is, they are not based on a true history of abuse or neglect.
- The child does not demonstrate empathy or kindness towards the alienated parent.
What to Do if You Are Accused of Parental Alienation in New Jersey
If you are accused of being an alienating parent and turning your kids against your former spouse, you need to take this accusation seriously. You could face a DCPP investigation, which could lead to criminal charges of child abuse if the investigation finds evidence that you are an alienating parent. In this complex situation, you should seek legal help as soon as possible. Child abuse is a serious accusation and can have repercussions for your family's life. Get in touch with our Criminal Defense team today to start working on your defense in order to protect yourself legally and protect your custody of your kids.
New Jersey DCPP Attorney
Being accused of parental alienation can make you question yourself as a parent and as a human. You're not alone in this difficult time, and you're not powerless. Contact the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team to get the legal help you need to take action and respond to a DCPP notice of investigation. To schedule a consultation, call us at 888-535-3686 or use our online form.