Whether you went through a bitter divorce or opted for a friendlier end to your marriage, you and your ex-spouse have decided to share custody of your kids. As Psychology Today notes, this type of custody arrangement often helps children adjust to their post-divorce situations.
For your custody agreement to work for everyone in your family, you and your ex-spouse must commit to being good parents. If your ex engages in parental alienation, though, he or she is not accomplishing this goal.
What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation describes a pattern of behaviors one parent uses to turn the kids against the other. Many child psychologists view parental alienation as a form of emotional child abuse, as it often causes long-term damage to the mental well-being of children.
While the following list is not exhaustive, here are some common examples of parental alienation:
- Telling kids they cannot trust their other parent
- Asking children to disobey or dislike their other parent
- Excluding the other parent from traditional parent-child activities
- Refusing to let the other parent see or communicate with the kids
- Demanding children spy on their other parent
How do Washington judges treat parental alienation?
While it may be difficult to find a judge anywhere who is willing to let a parent get away with parental alienation, judges in Washington are likely to take a particularly hard stance against it. If you have evidence of parental alienation, a judge may use your documentation to modify your custody arrangement or take other appropriate actions.
There may be options for stopping parental alienation without going to court, of course. Ultimately, though, to protect your kids, you may eventually need to ask for judicial intervention.