Subscribe

Parental Alienation – Things to Watch

Over the recent month I have written about parental alienation in a couple of articles.  It is one of those painful situations for both the parents and the children and it’s something that does not have to happen at all.  Often the process begins slowly and builds over time.  Although it may seem to the parent that the child just “suddenly” changed and stopped behaving the same, it rarely happens that way.  Parental alienation usually begins as a slow and steady process.  It may be purposeful by the other parent, their family and friends. It may be comments that are carelessly stated out of hurt and anger.  Either way, result is likely to be the same.  The child is caught in the middle and will often trust the “commenting” parent without question.  Whether the situation is one of carelessness or an outright attempt to destroy the other parent’s relationship with the child, there are steps that can be taken if it’s caught early enough. 

Recognize the signs

Dedicate time to your parent-child relationship.  When you spend time with your child, notice little changes.  First, make sure that if you only have your child on weekends, spend time with your child on those weekends.  Make him or her a priority in your plans.  That does not mean you need to necessarily include them in the decision making of the plans but if you have your child one weekend out of the month, dedicate that weekend to spending quality time with your child.  This will help you recognize if things between you begin to change. 

Open Dialogue

Keep an open dialogue with your kids: the hints above will help you stay close enough to the child.  That will let you speak with him openly and ask him or her honestly if something is bothering him/her.   A child’s ability to trust in conversation with his/her parent is vital in this situation  If the child is afraid of your reaction, he may not want to tell you what is happening at the other parent’s home.

Think!

Think about what you say in front of the kids/think about what NOT to say in front of your kids: When you are around your former spouse, be aware of little comments that are made in front of your child.  Attacks toward one another will make a situation worse.  Here are some examples:

  • Mom is scheduled to drop her daughter off with her ex.  He is late and that is often the case.  She comments outloud “your father is never on time.  Bet he was at his girlfriends again”.  The child says “Dad doesn’t have a girlfriend!” and Mom comments “Yeah ok.” Now, what has just happened is that Mom has planted a seed in the daughter’s mind that maybe Dad hasn’t been honest with her. 
  • Dad shows up 10 minutes late and says to Mom, “I am sorry I was late.  Traffic was awful.”  He looks at daughter and smiles and says “Ready to go honey? We got a great weekend planned!”  Daughter doesn’t smile like usual.  Mom says “We know you weren’t stuck in traffic.  You don’t need to lie to us anymore.”  See the shift – Mom just brought the daughter into her “fight” against Dad.  Daughter has no choice but to stand beside Mom or upset her.  

Dad’s best move at the moment would be to completely ignore Mom’s comments and keep his focus on the daughter.  Any issues he had about a girlfriend and the Mom’s feelings about it are between him and the Mom.  This is not the time to air it out.  If a conversation happens, it should happen with the mother at another time when the daughter is not present. 

Have you experienced a situation like this?  Do you see other signs of parental alienation? There are legal options to help you stop it before the damage is done to the relationship with your child.  Contact Me and we will discuss your options.  

Massachusetts Complaint for Contempt – Serve that Summons!

Many times a case gets dismissed for failure to provide adequate notice to the other party that a complaint has been filed.  This is because the the other party has a right to be given notice of any actions taken against them or that they are named in a proceeding. ...

Kid’s Corner: The “Don’ts”

I’m not a therapist by any means, but I do have children of my own and I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation during divorce or other family law cases. There are two important lists for kids. First is the “do’s” and...

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts?

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts? ​When a divorce begins, rarely do the parties consider temporary orders in Massachusetts to be a necessity, however they ask the court for many things.  When the divorce begins, the parties rarely sit in a position to agree...

Paternity: How can I establish paternity of my child?

If you are wondering how to establish paternity of your child, chances are, you have read up on some of the variety of ways and may have become confused on the right path to take.  There are a number of valid ways you can go about this and there are good reasons on...

Relocating with Children After Divorce

Clients often tell me that when their divorce is complete they are "done with marriage".  The hurt has jaded them.  The fight over custody, home, financial assets, and more has left them emotionally void.  Until next time, that is.  People have a wonderful ability to...

Why do I need a Will?

Why do I need a Will? Welcome back to my series on estate planning. In case you are just joining me, I want to let you know that we are mid-series in a string of articles about estate planning. Page back to Why do I need an Estate  and see what you’ve missed and stick...

Family Vacation After the Divorce

The reality of a divorce or separation often hits families the hardest over holidays and vacation time.  Family vacations may have been where many memories were created over the years.  Now, after a breakup of the family, it's an emotional time since nobody is quite...

Social Media and Legal Action

The biggest piece of advice that I can give to a client is to refrain from social media when you are involved in litigation.  Be it a criminal case, a divorce, a restraining order – no matter what type of case, the best bet is always to stay silent.  Clients are often...

Should You Ask For a Lawyer?

Asking for an attorney, whether you have committed a crime or not, is not only smart - it's YOUR right.  In spite of news media or the way TV portrays our legal justice system, the right to counsel is one of the most fundamental parts of our justice system.  Every...

Massachusetts: Parent Education Program Attendance

All parties to a divorce action in which there are minor children, are ordered to attend and participate in an approved Massachusetts Parent Education Program. This requirement applies to divorces brought under Ch. 208 §1 (fault divorces); and Ch. 208 §1A and §1B...

New Hampshire Law: Alimony

       Alimony is always hot topic in matters of divorce. Not everyone understands on what basis it is determined and if awarded, how the amount and length of the award is determined.        In New Hampshire, the mystery...

Divorce and Drama…oh the Drama!

We laugh about it when we see it on TV.  We shake our heads in disbelief when our friends tell us about it in their lives.  But suddenly, you find yourself in the midst of a divorce and right smack in the middle of a real life reality drama series just like those made...

Divorce Without Consent: Can I divorce without my spouse’s consent?

A very common question is whether you can get divorce without consent.  Of course! The old adage that you need your spouse to “give you a divorce” is no longer. You can proceed with a divorce even if the other party does not want to divorce. You don’t need a spouse’s...

If I signed my parental rights away can I get them back?

I often get questions from overwhelmed parents who feel that, for one reason or another, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned, if they just give up their parental rights (see my other article for more details on this complex subject).  However, many...

Divorce After 50

Picture This:  You married your high school sweetheart.  You settled down and had a couple of kids early in life whom are now out of school and have families of their own.  Through the early years of your marriage things were great, but as you both matured, and the...

Parental Alienation: the Aftermath

In a previous article, I wrote about  parental alienation.  It is one of the most vicious things a parent can do to another parent because it can  destroy the relationship between the parent and their child.  That destruction may begin at an early age or later in life...

Can My Childs Dad Go To NH Court for Physical Custody?

Question: I am moving to NH can my childs dad go to NH court and try and get 50 physical custody? He has shared legal right now. Answer: If you have an order, it might address this issue. Look within it to see if it talks about either party moving his or her residence...

Can I sign away my rights to my child?

I am asked the question, "can I sign away my rights to my child" rather often, whether it be asked by the father or the mother of a child. Here’s an example of what I see in my practice: You were in a relationship where a child was conceived and you have been...

Quality Time With Kids

Children of divorced or separated parents have a bum rap.  There is just no other way to state it.  No matter what parents do, kids dream of having mom and dad together.  Behind the scenes this is not always the best solution for the children so what is the best plan...

New Child Support Guidelines 2017 – Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of our series on the new Child Support Guidelines (2017 version).  This section will address the increase to the minimum child support order.  If you missed our previous article, you can find it here, at:  New Guidelines Overview. Increase of...

I missed my (criminal) court date! What do I do?

You’re going about your day and suddenly realize that you were supposed to be in court. Last week. You thought it was next week, but it was actually last week. Oh no! What do I do!? First, understand that you are in default and a warrant has likely been issued for...

Keep Your Divorce A Private Matter

You have probably seen it in the news.  Johnny Depp and his wife are divorcing.  You may have even searched for details of the settlement.  After all, he's bound to be worth millions (or more!?)!!  How are they going to split that vast estate?  Well, you may have...

Re-establishing Parenting Time

In August, I wrote about the Parent that Used to Be Absent.  This is a follow up article to that post about re-establishing parenting time and what to realistically expect when trying to do so. Often I speak with a parent that hasn’t seen their child in a long period...

Grandparent’s Rights in Massachusetts

The issue of visitation rights for grandparent’s rights is governed by Massachusetts G.L. c. 119, s. 39D. Grandparents may seek visitation, “grandparent’s rights,” through the Court with their “unmarried minor” grandchildren if: (1) the parents are divorced, married...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part II

In our last post, we wrote about ways you can take precautions to protect your child from sexual predators who are related to the child - either by blood or marriage.  In the second article of this three part series, we will discuss protecting your children from...

Prenuptial Agreements: Why Would I Want That?

It's hard to think that a divorce might happen when you are in the midst of planning your marriage and happily dreaming about the rest of your life, isn’t it?  How do you plan a happy life while deciding what to do if it all goes south?  The problem is that most...

Cheating Spouse: How Do You Know?

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been all over the news lately about their divorce.  There have been numerous reasons cited for the divorce.  Everything from drug abuse to physical abuse to affairs.   Both have been married AND divorced more than once.  In this and...

Domestic Abuse During a Pandemic

The year 2020 is now behind us but in many ways, we are still living through a full scale pandemic.  COVID-19 hit this world  and affected us in a large number of ways we did not expect.  For many, being forced to stay in their homes, brought on anxiety, depression...

Annulment: Legal vs Religious

Annulment:  Legal versus Religious – an important distinction In the past  I wrote an article about annulment in each state:  Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  As I wrapped up the last article, I realized that I should discuss just one more point about annulment that...

When to seek counseling for your child?

Divorce and separation issues are very hard on children.  Whether parents are starting the divorce, discussing the break up or have already gone their individual ways, children are often assumed to be in the dark about the whole situation.  Nothing could be further...

Can I Keep My Home

In the first part of this series, we discussed the marital home and what happens in a divorce to that home.  Click here for our last article- What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce.  Continuing that series, we will start with the next question which involves...

Avoiding Legal Issues

In my previous article, “What Type of Attorney Should I Hire,” I wrote about the importance of speaking with an attorney early on in your case to maximize any potential outcome you may have as well as choosing the right attorney for the type of situation, rather than...

Who Gets Our Family Dog in the Divorce?

It's a common scenario.  Boy meets girl and they fall in love.  They buy a home or rent an apartment.  Wanting to share their love, they adopt a dog. Over the next year or so, they get married.  Their dog is their baby.  They share photos of him on social media sites,...

Custody: Can My Child Decide?

Very often I am asked “when can my child decide choose where he lives?” or “at what age will the Court listen to my children’s input?” The short answer to this question is that there is no “magic age” to answer "can my child decided" which the court will let the child...

2021 Update! Still Missing – Maura Murray

March 2021 Update: For those of you following this case, you are probably aware of Tim & Lance's podcast, Missing Maura.  For years, the podcast was its own entity.  Over the years, they began highlighting other cases as well.  To learn about Maura's case, there...

Divorce and Social Media: Don’t

Whether you are simply contemplating the idea of divorce or in the middle of a full-on legal battle, your best bet with your social media accounts is to disconnect them.  Turn them off.  Shut them down.  Stop posting.  Make it impossible for people to post to your...

Free Consultation: Is it Worth It?

We often read other articles and posts and we came across a series of discussions recently debating whether or not there was a benefit to contacting an attorney for a free consultation.  While not all lawyers offer this service, our office does offer this service.  We...

Estate Planning: Planning Ahead

Nobody wants to think about their death. It's unpleasant no matter how you look at it.  However, planning ahead is more than simply dividing up your worldly assets.  It can ensure that your children are cared for by the person that you prefer. Planning ahead can...

Marital Property: What is it?

Far too often I meet with a client for consultation who is concerned that a certain asset is not a marital asset because it is not “in [their] name.” A client may say “well, we have a home but it is in his name only” or “I don’t have a retirement account, but she...

Filing a Protective Order

Filing a protective order (209A) can be a scary time.  Maybe you aren't sure where you will go.  Maybe you have children to consider.  Perhaps your family is not as supportive or available as you need.  There are places and ways to get help so that you are not alone. ...

Visitation Part 2: Pick up, Drop off and Last Minute Schedule Changes

It’s very rare that parties to a divorce, or parents who are no longer in a relationship, get along very well. After all, if you did, you’d likely still be together, right? It is more typically the case that parents do NOT get along. As a result, dealing with...

Who is Using Your DNA?

Who is using your DNA? If you have watched any television recently, you may have noticed an increase in the DNA profile commercials.  You know the ones – “I thought I was from Italy, but turns out I am mostly Scottish” and they promote that you can also learn your...

Getting a Divorce Without Notifying the Spouse

The heading reads: "Man Got Divorced Without Ever Telling His Wife, Police Say".  (https://www.wmur.com/article/man-got-divorced-without-ever-telling-his-wife-police-say/29101534).  That title holds a lot of information.  Just reading the first part of the title,...

My husband filed for divorce and tells me I have to leave. Do I?

Question:  My husband filed for divorce. He had me served with the papers at my office. I did not know this was coming and he tells me I have to be the one to leave our home – with our children! He says this is his home. NH: Do not leave your home. You don’t have to...

Absent Parents: The Parent Who Used to be Absent

Absent parents is a topic that I see frequently in my practice. Here’s a perfect example: Mom was pregnant but dad wanted nothing to do with her, or the baby, during pregnancy and for a while thereafter. At some point, for whatever reason, the dad becomes interested...

Parental Alienation – Things to Watch

Over the recent month I have written about parental alienation in a couple of articles.  It is one of those painful situations for both the parents and the children and it's something that does not have to happen at all.  Often the process begins slowly and builds...

Why Do I Need a Trust?

Welcome back to my series on estate planning. I hope that our articles have been helpful and informative. If anything else, I want to spark thought on this topic and help you begin deciding what you’d like to see happen when you are gone. Okay, let’s get to Trusts! I...

Appeal a Judgment

I recently came across this article "How to Appeal a Judgment without an Attorney."  Being fairly intrigued, I read the article looking for holes that I could use in writing this post.  However, I must admit, it was well written and it was thorough.  It began by...

Legal Meaning of the Cosby Mistrial

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Bill Cosby’s trial resulted in a mistrial on Saturday.   The jury came back to the judge, for the second time, on Saturday and informed him that they could not reach a verdict.  As a result, the Court declared a “mistrial.” So,...

Children and Divorce: It’s Me or Her!

Moving on after a divorce by pursuing  a new relationship can be difficult for the children of the previous marriage.  While the parents may be ready, even eager, to move on and engage in new relationships, a child can only see how the breakup of the marriage affects...

Pin It on Pinterest

Read previous post:
After Divorce: Why is my Child So Angry?

Part of my practice in family law deals in working with parents after the divorce and the adjustment of the...

Close