Tag Archive for: Children of divorce

If your spouse is talking badly about you to your kids, it needs to stop. Neither parent should degrade the other when speaking to their kids. Divorces can get very heated, but this emotional poisoning can harm the child. If this is happening, have a direct talk with your spouse and make it clear that this is unacceptable. 

If you’re lucky, maybe your spouse’s off-hand bad joke about you was misquoted by your child. Your spouse may have been talking to someone else, unaware that your kids could hear the remarks. If so, your spouse needs to be more careful.  

If this was an intentional verbal slam or an attempt to harm your relationship with your kids, it needs to stop immediately. Make it clear this won’t be tolerated. If it continues, our office can communicate with your spouse, and if that fails, we can seek a court order prohibiting this from happening and potentially cutting back the time your spouse spends with your kids. 

Are Your Spouse’s Words Harming Your Relationship With Your Child? 

They may have a tough enough time seeing their parents end their relationship. One loved parent telling them their other loved parent is a bad person is not good for anyone. Children need as much peace and certainty in their lives as possible. 

The official term for emotionally manipulating a child against the other parent is “parental alienation.” It, according to Psychology Today, happens when a child refuses to have a relationship with a parent because they’re being manipulated by the other. It can be exaggerating something, telling lies, or saying hateful things.  

Parental alienation can happen during a divorce, but it may take place before one starts or after it’s finalized. It could include emotional blackmail, where one parent threatens to withhold love or attention if the child continues their relationship with the other. A parent may convince a child to make a false claim of abuse or neglect. The parent may make the child promise that these statements and acts are secrets that can’t be revealed. 

What Impact Can Parental Alienation Have? 

As a result, a child may be distraught, confused, angry, sad, and lonely. Children may not understand why they love someone the other parent hates. They may be afraid to speak honestly with the targeted parent and lack evidence that what they’re being told is untrue. In extreme cases, this can impact a child’s relationship with a parent for years. 

Parental alienation can have more than an emotional impact on you and your child. It can affect custody proceedings. If your child is mature enough, a judge may give weight to your child’s opinion on which parent should have what kind of custody. If parental alienation colors that opinion, it can impact your case. If the other parent is interfering with the time you’re allotted with your child, that failure to cooperate can be used against them. 

If you suspect parental alienation is affecting your relationship with your child, please contact us here at Karen A. Ulmer, P.C. We can help clarify what’s going on and stop it. 

When parents are going through a contentious divorce in Bucks or Montgomery counties here in Pennsylvania, great care must be taken to ensure the children are not “put in the middle.” One common issue is parental alienation. Children subjected to emotional blackmail by one or both parents may suffer from parental alienation syndrome. These supposedly loving parents try to turn their children into pawns in the divorce. Not only will a parent harm their own interests trying to do this, but they may also cause long-lasting emotional harm to their kids.

Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., represents families in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Parental alienation is an issue that, sadly, we see too often. We help our clients deal with manipulative spouses and make sure courts know the damage they’re inflicting on their children. Contact us today so we can discuss parental alienation and share how we can help.

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Parental alienation syndrome happens when a parent tries to turn a child against the other parent, according to Psychology Today. This attempt at estrangement can be seen as seeking revenge and trying to settle scores, and can inflict pain on the other parent.

This can happen when the parent criticizes, blames, or lies about the other parent to the child. They may try to prevent the child from spending time with the other parent and tell the child they can either love them or the other parent, not both. The alienating parent may also seek the help of other family members to split the child from the other parent.

Who Might Be More Likely to Alienate Their Child From the Other Parent? 

A narcissistic parent would be more likely to play harmful games with their child to punish the other parent. They don’t have empathy for others and they focus on themselves, their feelings, and their beliefs. They build themselves up by tearing others down. While claiming to protect the child, they inflict harm.

What Are the Legal Implications? 

A parent alienating a child from the other shouldn’t have legal custody. Pennsylvania statute emphasizes having both parents in a child’s life within limits. There are 16 factors to be considered by a judge deciding who should have what kind of custody including:

  • The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent
  • Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party

What Can You Do?

Tell us what’s happening. Your spouse is harming your child and that must end. We can file motions with the court asking that time with the child be supervised or eliminated.

Talk to your child. Tell them if the other spouse says bad things about you, they should get your side of the story. Don’t start bashing the other parent in response, or you may be accused of doing the alienating.

Get the Help You Need From a Lawyer You Can Trust

If you have any questions about or need representation in a child custody or divorce matter, call us at (215) 608-1867 or schedule a consultation online now. We can speak over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in our Doylestown or Langhorne offices.

If you are seeking a divorce and you and your current spouse are parents you need to lay the foundation for a happy and healthy future for yourself and your children. When divorcing there are both emotional and financial issues to consider. Issues surrounding children can be extremely contentious during a divorce, but a skilled attorney can help bring together to start working on issues together for the sake of the children.

If you and the other parent can not agree, a family law judge will make final decisions for you. However, they work from the relevant facts of your case, applicable laws and what they feel is in the best interest of the children. It is best to keep your case out of court and work together for the sake of your children.

When children are involved in a divorce, there are two major areas to be understood and considered:

  1. Custody / Visitation

There is legal custody (which covers who can make important legal, health and educational decisions concerning a child) and physical custody (which concerns with whom the child will live, when and for how long). Normally legal custody is shared by the parents .

During our discussions on physical custody, we will discuss where the child is going to spend his/her time during regular times of the year, vacations and holidays. Physical custody can be join which both parents have equal time or one parent may have primary custody with the other parent having partial custody. In some instances there may be no overnights or supervised custody.

2. Child Support

Parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children but must file to receive it. How that is calculated is based on state guidelines. Generally the parent who does not have primary physical custody provides child support payments to the other parent and/or agrees to pay certain bills or expenses concerning the child.

It is important to create an environment dedicated to supporting your children so they remain stable long after the divorce is over.

When you divorce with children, you are going to have to transition them between two homes. For a minor child of any age, this can be not only traumatic when it starts but also feel like a constant state of flux. It is critical that you children know they are loved by both parents, have space in your home, and are made to feel comfortable. How can you make this as easy as possible for them? Make sure you have duplicate supplies, take some responsibility, and be reasonable when they forget important items from one home.

Have duplicate supplies
Cosmetics for teenage girls, graphing calculators, clothing, or soccer balls – making sure each house has favorite and necessary items can be important. While this may seem redundant, having certain items in each home will ease the burden of packing on the child and anxiety that they might forget something important. While this can cost you a few extra dollars the comfort it provides to your child can be invaluable. If your child wears a uniform to school, make sure you each a set at your home including any shoes. You may even want to ask if you can get two uniforms if your child is in sports.

Put the burden on the parents
While living in two homes is common these days, it is not your child’s fault they have to move back and forth so make sure that you do the heavy lifting for them. Help them pack, maybe develop a list for them to use, and offer to pack the car with them. If they are switching homes after school coordinate with the other parent to ensure you can drop-off or pick-up their belongings.

Be reasonable when they forget necessary items.
When your child leaves a textbook or snow boots at the other parent’s house remain calm. While children of divorced parents tend to be more organized due to the moving around they are still young and will forget every once in awhile. They also need to feel that you will help them have the items that they need for their day. If you have a problem with textbooks contact the teachers – they are usually happy to provide extra copies.

Having to move belongings on a regular basis can be troublesome for some kids. While you and your ex may both provide loving environments, remember it is not your child’s fault they have to travel between two homes. Going out of your way to make them feel comfortable and helping also negotiate packing will help. Children crave a stable environment and parents should do what they can to provide that for them.