Typically, parents divorcing or separating in California will share custody. Both of them will have time with the children and some authority to make decisions. Most legal experts and psychologists will advise parents to keep the conflict as low as possible in custody matters.
If you can settle things outside of court, that will usually be the best scenario for your children. However, if your ex insists on interfering in your relationship with the children, then you may find that litigating your divorce is necessary.
Parental alienation is a serious issue
In general, the California family courts want to see parents cooperating with each other in shared custody arrangements. The courts will take action if one parent tries to sever the relationship that the other has with the children. Such behavior can cause lasting damage to the children in the family.
Parental alienation may involve physical interference or psychological manipulation, sometimes both. Your ex may come up with questionable excuses for canceling your parenting time and keeping you away from the kids. They might even say that the children don’t want to see you.
They may contribute to the tension between you and the children. Parents can harm a child’s relationships by talking negatively about someone or making the child feel like they have to choose one parent or the other. This intentional alienation can cause long-term damage to your relationship with the children and to their mental health.
How do you prove parental alienation?
As soon as you realize that your ex wants to damage your relationship with the children, you can start documenting what occurs. A record of multiple canceled or shortened visits, statements made by the children and threatening text messages from your ex could all help you prove to the court that they have not acted in the best interests of the children.
If a judge agrees that your ex has inappropriately influenced your relationship with the kids, they may modify your custody order to give you more parenting time. At the very least, they should take enforcement actions to convince your ex to follow the parenting plan moving forward and to give you make-up time for your previous canceled sessions.
Only by holding your ex accountable in family court can you prevent them from causing long-term damage to your relationship with your children. Knowing when custody litigation is necessary during a California divorce can help parents stand up for their most important relationship.