Divorce may be one of your life’s most difficult and stressful times, and worrying about your child’s well-being and relationship with you is normal. During this stage, your relationship might ebb and flow as you work out the details of child custody, but there’s also a real danger that your former partner could try to damage your relationship resulting in parental alienation. This is a situation that private investigators see, and there are ways you can identify and protect yourself from them.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is the subject of many legal investigations by private investigators during the process of deciding on child custody. It is when one parent sets out to make their child hate, fear, or reject the targeted parent through psychological manipulation.
For example, one parent uses a strategy to weaponize their child through unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent, turning their affections against them. So this can be done to use the child to hurt you or to try to affect child custody arrangements.
Signs of Parental Alienation
Signs in Your Child
You can suspect alienation if your child:
- Blames you for the divorce.
- Expresses anger toward you for no justifiable reason. Any reasons given lack detail or depth.
- Puts you down to others, even openly discussing your shortcomings with them.
- Refuses to spend time with you or rejects you with no guilt.
- Continually criticizes or finds fault with you but not the other parent.
- Stops expressing affection to you.
Signs in the Other Parent
Your partner may be alienating your child if they:
- Tell your child you don’t love them or bad mouth you in front of them.
- Impede access to your child, discourage contact, or schedule events when they know you cannot be present.
- Withholds messages, cards, or gifts from you to your child.
- Asks the child to serve as a messenger between you two or to secretly collect information on you.
- Makes false allegations of abuse, portrays you as dangerous, or expresses fear toward you.
- Inappropriately involves them in child custody decisions.
- Plays down all positive interactions between you and your child.
- Spoils the child with expensive gifts and unusual privileges or lacks discipline and rules.
What to Do When You Suspect Parental Alienation
Who can attest to your actions and your former partner’s? Who has seen the pattern of parental alienation, evidence of wrongdoing, or lack thereof? These can include neighbors, relatives, teachers, and therapists.
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Collect evidence that shows a pattern of behavior and that your former partner is deliberately engaging in this behavior. Also, the evidence should be detailed, specific, and ongoing, including date and time stamps wherever possible. For example, this evidence could include the following:
- Electronic communications between you and your former partner (emails, text messages, etc.)
- Social media posts and relevant written communications by your child (Snapchat, Twitter posts, journals, text messages, etc.)
- Photographs or audio recordings of your former partner engaging in this behavior.
- Your own journal. Keep a record, including dates and times, such as with an online tool that timestamps or by emailing yourself with everything that occurs.
How Private Investigators Can Help
Private investigators specializing in legal investigations around child custody cases can help you assemble appropriate evidence, acting quickly and efficiently to ensure that the pattern of abuse is interrupted as soon as possible.
For example, private investigators can conduct background checks and surveillance on your former partner, establishing the practice of parental alienation. During this legal investigation, they can also check your home and car for surveillance countermeasures. So this ensures that you have someone to help you with the child custody process.
For more information on how private investigators can help you ensure your child doesn’t become the victim of parental alienation, visit our website here.