Divorce is a messy business sometimes. While some families may approach the end of the marriage in a calm and even friendly manner, seeking solely to protect the children and divide assets in a reasonable manner, other couples approach divorce as war and sometimes seek to punish each other for past crimes during the proceedings – and then long after the divorce decree is issued.
Parental alienation occurs when one parents interferes with the other’s ability to spend time with and parent their children, compounded with a “poisoning” campaign against the other parent. This is most typically conducted by the custodial parent, and can involve telling the children negative things about the other parent and making concrete efforts to limit the other parent’s ability to see and spend time with their children, often in violation of custody orders. Under New York child custody laws, this is usually seen by the courts as a violation of the “best interests of the child” concept. As a result there are often severe consequences.
While it might be emotionally satisfying to prevent the other parent from having contact with their children, or even necessary, it is important to remember that such actions may result in custody being transferred away from you, as well as your being forced to pay attorney’s fees if the issue has to be resolved in court. A qualified and experienced attorney will advise you that such actions, unless prompted by sincere fears over the children’s safety or well-being, will be viewed very negatively by the courts. As a result actions designed to limit or diminish a parent’s contact and influence on their children can have the opposite effect and see the children’s custody shifted to the other parent either partially or entirely.