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What Can I Do About Parental Alienation in My Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on September 17, 2019 in Divorce

Oak Park, IL family law attorney for parental alienationThere is no doubt that a divorce can be a volatile process. In many cases, one of the partners does not want to end the marriage. He or she may feel anger or bitterness toward the other spouse. This can lead to the rejected spouse acting out and behaving irrationally. If children are involved, this kind of behavior can be detrimental to everyone. One parent may attempt to turn the kids against the other parent by talking negatively about him or her. This is common in divorces where one parent has the majority of parental responsibility, and the other parent harbors resentment against his or her ex. When one parent engages in parental alienation, the other parent should seek legal advice to protect his or her rights. 

Examples of Hostile Aggressive Parenting

According to the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO), parental alienation is a form of child abuse. Also referred to as Hostile Aggressive Parenting, it includes certain behaviors that cause children to be manipulated or bullied into the belief that their other parent is the enemy, and thus should be disrespected, feared, hated, and/or avoided. 

Parental alienation can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Preventing the other parent from communicating with the child or placing restrictions on communication

  • Prohibiting the other parent to visit the child (including during court-ordered parenting time

  • Manipulating the child’s opinion of the other parent

  • Making disparaging comments about the other parent to the child

  • Humiliating or degrading the other parent in the child’s presence

  • Persuading the child into believing that his or her other parent does not love him or her or is not interested in spending time together

Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights

Parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting can be difficult to prove to the court. It is important for the parent who is experiencing the alienation to keep documentation in order to show he or she is making an effort to be involved in his or her child’s life. Some ways a parent can document this effort include the following actions: 

  • Keep a journal of what the other parent says or does.

  • Request in writing to see the child.

  • Remain consistent and persistent in communicating with the child.

  • Seek therapy/counseling for support.

The court does have a few options if it is proven that parental alienation is occurring:

  • Contempt: If the alienating parent is not following the court’s orders, the judge may find him or her in contempt of court and enforce sanctions against him or her.

  • Custody modification: The court can amend the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time if a judge believes the alienation is harming the child.

  • Reunification therapy: It many cases, a judge will require families to attend reunification therapy. In these situations, counselors attempt to counsel both the parent and the child in an effort to reunify the child with the alienating parent.

Contact an Oak Park Divorce Lawyer

Many divorces can be contentious, whether the disputes involve money, property, or children. Bitter feelings may cause one parent to try to alienate the other parent as a form of revenge. If your ex-spouse is attempting to paint you as the “bad guy,” it can be very damaging to both you and your children. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., we have more than 95 years of combined experience in divorce and family law. Our experienced Cook County parental alienation attorneys realize the importance of quality time with your children. We will work hard to protect your parental rights during and after the divorce proceedings. Call our office today at 708-848-3159 to schedule a free consultation. 



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