Shared custody is often difficult at first, but it gets easier as you adjust to your new situation. Unfortunately, one uncooperative parent can make co-parenting harder for everyone in the family. Some people will be flaky about timing or just disrespectful.
Others will actively seek to undermine the relationship that their ex has with the kids. When one parent tries to damage the relationship of the other with the children, their behavior may constitute parental alienation. Left unchecked, parental alienation could permanently damage your relationship with your children. What are some of the warning signs of parental alienation?
Your ex keeps canceling your parenting time
One of the most overt signs that your ex wants to interfere in your relationship with the kids will be denying you access to the children. When they cancel or shorten your parenting time or refuse to allow you to talk to the children on the phone, those behaviors could be warning signs of potential alienation.
If your ex claims that the children themselves don’t want to see you or if the kids cancel parenting time, that could be a sign of parental alienation as well.
The children blame you and hold your ex unaccountable for the divorce
Parental alienation often involves psychological manipulation. Your ex may try to turn your children against you by exaggerating the situation that led to your divorce or outright lying. Sometimes, parental alienation can involve telling the truth but in an inappropriate way. If your children seem to blame you and attack you without remorse after the divorce, your ex’s conduct may be to blame.
You hear from other people that your ex constantly belittles you
Working together is crucial for those trying to co-parent after a divorce. Unfortunately, some parents cannot let go of their anger about what happened during a marriage for long enough to refocus things on the needs of the children.
When your ex insists on fighting with you over every little thing, that contentious attitude will likely spill over into how they talk about you in front of the children. Documenting the signs of parental alienation and presenting the information to the courts could help protect your relationship with your children. It might even result in a better custody outcome or a modification to an existing custody order.