On July 14, 2017, Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, a matrimonial law firm, held our monthly workshop for mental health professionals on parental alienation in marriage and divorce. This workshop and others like it help our attorneys and mental health professionals explore different perspectives and exchange their knowledge on divorce and related family law issues. Through these workshops, mental health professionals will be more prepared and informed about the legal issues and procedures encountered in court when dealing with future patients.
Attorney Jordan E. Trager of Wisselman and Associates discussed what conduct courts consider when evaluating parental alienation cases and what they have done in these situations in response to alienation by a parent. Parental alienation cases have become more prevalent in recent years and courts have become increasingly familiar with such cases. Forensic evaluations will also consider signs of alienation and its impact upon the child.
Attorney Trager explained the various behaviors often seen in apparent parental alienation cases. These include the denigration of one parent by the other parent, persistent interference with the custodial rights and parenting time by the other parent, and even false allegations of sexual assault.
Once parental alienation is proven in court through testimony, witnesses, documentation, and forensic evaluations, the court must then consider if a change in custody is in the best interest of the child, or if it should take other less drastic measures, such as decreasing the alienating parent’s parenting time, increasing the alienated parent’s parenting time even if the child objects, and even holding the alienating parent in contempt of court. In order to prevail at trial, the alienated parent must also demonstrate that he or she made multiple efforts to see the child and have a relationship with the child, as well as defend against claims that he or she contributed to the alienation through his or her own behavior.
Unfortunately, parental alienation cases often leave the alienated parent feeling helpless, as he or she frequently must wait several months before trial, often times only being able to see their child in a supervised setting one hour per week.
Attorney Trager has substantial knowledge and experience with parental alienation matters in divorce and family law, and can be reached at (516)-773-8300 for a free consultation and to answer any questions. For more information on our upcoming monthly workshops, visit www.lawjaw.com.