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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

DuPage County | 630-852-9700

Mokena | 815-727-6144   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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How to Recognize Parental Alienation During Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Elmhurst divorce lawyer parental alienationThe traumatic nature of divorce can bring out the worst in even the best people. This is often a byproduct of the immense emotional and physical stress that can accompany the divorce process. This is especially true in high-conflict divorces, including those spawned by infidelity or those in which one spouse was completely stunned by the other’s divorce filing.

When these emotions boil over, children sometimes become pawns in a proxy war between the two parties. On occasion, one parent or both parents will attempt to turn their child against their former companion. This is called parental alienation, and evidence of this type of behavior by a parent can be used against them in court during divorce proceedings. The alienated parent may be granted extra parenting time to help repair the damage caused by the offending parent.

Here are some common forms of parental alienation:

Divulging Adult Details About the Marriage 

This may include telling a child their other parent was unfaithful, that they are responsible for the family’s financial problems, or that they had a substance abuse issue. Even if true, weaponizing this information is unhealthy by any measure for everyone involved.

Using a Child to Spy on the Other Parent 

This involves forcing a child to act covertly to collect personal details from the other parent’s home and life, whether to gain legal ammunition or to provide some sense of satisfaction. This type of dishonesty can spill over into the child’s life, as they may come to believe duplicity is fine for them, too. 

Refusal to Co-Parent Responsibly

If a parent supplements verbal attacks on their ex by refusing to speak to them or be around them in any way, it can send a negative message to a child. This is especially true if the child is told their other parent is angry at them or does not want to spend time with them, all in an effort to create hard feelings and cause separation.

Contact an Oak Brook Family Law Attorney

At Wakenight and Associates, P.C., we understand the impact a contentious divorce can have on a family. If you are the victim of parental alienation, we will hold your ex-spouse accountable and work with the court to help you rebuild your relationship with your child. To speak with an Elmhurst divorce lawyer who will put the interests of you and your children first, call us at 630-528-0734 for a free consultation. 


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