Experts See Parental Alienation as Domestic Violence
Video Transcribed: So, how do you deal with a situation where you have a parent who is turning your children against you? My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a Tulsa father’s rights attorney here with Dads.Law, and today we’re going to talk about something called parental alienation. As a starting point, I want to talk about what it is, and then in some future videos, we’re going to talk about some options on how to address this problem.
To start with, parental alienation is, is where you have a situation where one parent is intentionally turning the children, damaging or destroying the relationship between the children and the other parent. Many experts view this as actually a form of domestic violence. In other words, basically, it’s an attempt to weaponize the children against the target parent. And what you’re usually looking at is anything from low-level stuff like making negative comments about the parent in the presence of the child, or maybe giving incorrect information. It can escalate to refusing to share important information about the child, like important school days, grades, medical, that kind of thing, all the way up to just flat out refusing the other parent access to the child, telling the child active lies about the parents, promising the child time with the other parent that has never been scheduled, things like that, sabotaging visits.
It can be a real problem, and I mean, unfortunately, as a regular practitioner in family court, I see it a lot more than I wish I did, and it’s always a sad situation. It’s a sad situation not only for the parent who is the target of it but for the child. And many times, you’ll see people who will rationalize that behavior because the argument will be, “Well, they’re engaged in domestic violence, or they did this, or they did that,” to try to rationalize the behavior. It is harmful to children. If you have two good parents, the children deserve to have two good parents, and just because there’s personal animus between the parents, doesn’t automatically mean one parent or the other is a bad parent that shouldn’t be around the children.
And something else, even with parents with problems, it’s generally better for the kids that you fix the problems and allow the child to have a relationship with the parent than not. Excising parents out is generally not a good thing unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, because at the end of the day, from that child’s viewpoint, and this is the thing that a lot of people, I think it gets lost a lot of times when in the heat of battle in family court, from that child’s viewpoint, they get one mom and one dad, and that person, mom is mom, dad is dad, and the child will love that person even in spite of their flaws because that’s who their mom or their dad is.
So to sit there and say, “Well, they’re this or they’re that, and therefore they don’t deserve to be in the child’s life,” or, “I’m mad at them, so if they don’t deserve to be in the child’s life,” or, “They did this to me, or they did that to me, so they don’t deserve to be in the child’s life,” is basically telling the child that because of adult problems, they don’t get to have a mommy or a daddy. So I mean, if adult problems are something that does impact upon the child’s welfare, like domestic violence for example, then those problems need to be addressed clearly. But this is not necessarily a reason, nor should it be a reason to excise a parent out, because that’s harmful to the child. The child loses that parent who they love, in spite of maybe that person’s faults.
As an aside, Oklahoma has a policy for equal access to the parents in the absence of a compelling reason not to have equal access by the parents. There are several statutes passed on that under Title 43, and actually, the law requires a court to make specific findings of fact, and conclusions of law if that court is to deviate from joint custody and equal time between the parents. So, we as a state are headed in the right direction, but this is still a problem and it’s a problem that comes up too often. Now, if you have questions about that or you’re dealing with a situation where you need help from a Tulsa divorce lawyer, I would encourage you, to go to dads.law, where fathers are not disposable.