Parental Alienation

Child Custody Lawyers Assisting Orange County Families

If you fear that your child is being turned against you by their other parent, it is important to seek the help of an experienced Orange County child custody attorney. At the Law Offices of David P. Schwarz, we understand the significant emotional toll that a contentious divorce may take on a family, especially on children. With over 20 years of experience to guide us, we are committed to protecting your family by zealously advocating for your rights at every step of the way.

Preventing Parental Alienation by an Ex-Spouse

Parental alienation takes place when a child is influenced or brainwashed against one parent by the other parent. Parental alienation often accompanies marriages, separations, and divorces, and it may happen in countless ways. One obvious example is when one parent speaks negatively of the other parent over a long period of time. A more indirect way is when a parent manipulates a child by blaming the other parent for certain events or situations. In serious parental alienation cases, one parent might blatantly lie or falsely accuse the other parent of harmful behavior to poison the child’s mind.

Under California law, all child custody and visitation decisions are made based on what is in the best interest of the child. This means considering the impact that a certain custodial arrangement would have on the child’s overall health, safety, and wellbeing. When it comes to the child’s best interest, the court has wide-ranging discretion to consider any pertinent factor, including parental alienation. Other factors that the court will typically consider include the child’s desires, the current living arrangement, the health of the child, each parent’s ability to care for the child, each parent’s criminal record, and the child’s degree of adjustment to their current school and community.

In California, there is a presumption that frequent and ongoing contact with both parents is beneficial for a child. This is a rebuttable presumption, however, and it may be challenged by either parent. The court will not favor one parent over the other, as was sometimes the case in the past when the mother was favored. In the modern era, both parents have equal rights and access to their children as the starting point. When a parent engages in parental alienation, that conduct may negatively affect the child and may justify the court in limiting that parent’s time with the child. In extreme cases, the court may eliminate a parent’s time with their child entirely until the harm caused by parental alienation is shown to be resolved.

Discuss Your Child Custody Needs with an Orange County Attorney

Unfortunately, parental alienation is a nightmare that some parents are forced to encounter. When one parent is trying to undermine the other parent’s relationship with the child for no legitimate reason, it hurts everyone involved. At the Law Offices of David P. Schwarz, our Orange County child custody lawyers proudly represent parents who are fighting for the future of their children. We can assist clients in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Dana Point, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Orange, Irvine, and Newport Beach, among other cities. To set up a free initial appointment with a family law attorney, you can reach us by phone at 949-735-9266 or contact us online.