New Jersey law recognizes that both parents play an important part in a child’s development. Things can get contentious when parents are separated or in the divorce process in Monmouth County, NJ. It’s common for one parent to try and ruin the child’s relationship with the other parent.
It may be to get a better custody arrangement or as punishment for misdeeds during the marriage. Regardless of the motivation, this is called parental alienation.
If you’re being alienated from your child by their other parent, you have legal rights in Monmouth County, New Jersey. A Monmouth County parental alienation attorney can help. The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC will fight to re-establish the relationship through the courts.
We have over 20 years of experience practicing family law. Our lawyers will fight to protect your relationship with your child. These cases can be difficult, and having a strong advocate is one of the best choices you can make.
How Can The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC Help Fight Against Parental Alienation In Monmouth County, NJ?
Since 2009, The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC has protected parental rights. Whether it’s the right to visitation, child custody, or to be free from parental alienation, our lawyers can help. We have been named Super Lawyers by Super Lawyers Magazine for the past seven years.
When you hire our Monmouth County family law attorneys to help with your parental alienation case, we will:
- Listen to your story
- Evaluate your case
- Explain how the law applies in your case
- Collect and review evidence
- Stand up for you in court
- Ask the court for an appropriate remedy
Our team knows that parental alienation can be extremely traumatic for the parent and child in Monmouth County, NJ. We take these cases very seriously while showing our clients compassion and respect. There’s nothing that we won’t do to help parents re-establish a relationship with an alienated child.
Call our office to schedule a free consultation today with our Monmouth County parental alienation attorney.
What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is a set of strategic behaviors exhibited by a parent. The purpose is to unfairly alienate a parent from their child.
The term is often confused with parental alienation syndrome. Parental alienation syndrome is when a child alienates themselves from the parent. A spiteful parent may influence this decision, but is not intentionally planned by the parent.
Examples of parental alienation may include:
- Speaking poorly about a parent to the child
- Telling a child that their parent does not love them
- Lying about the parent to the child (such as saying that they are dangerous)
- Limiting phone calls, texts, or contact with the parent
- Forcing a child to choose between parents
When a child becomes alienated from their parent, they might become hostile toward the parent or refuse to spend time with them. Furthermore, they may not accept their authority, erroneously accuse them of abuse, or lash out in other ways.
It can be very difficult to repair the relationship after a child has become alienated. That’s why it is important to act immediately. If you suspect that you are becoming unfairly alienated, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. It is better to get legal advice a bit too early than to regret asking for help too late.
What Is the Parental Alienation Law In New Jersey?
The New Jersey policy is that children should continue contact with both parents, even if separated or divorced. The presumption is usually in favor of joint custody. When one parent is alienated from their child, they can go to court and ask for their parental rights to be enforced.
Most child custody arrangements recognize that having two present parents is in the child’s best interest. However, alienation can happen even with a custody order in place. For example, one parent might prevent or encourage the child to skip visitation. Even if the child is subject to joint custody, they may be unfairly influenced while in the custody of one parent.
Of course, there are some situations when it is appropriate to keep a child from a parent, such as in instances of abuse or neglect. In these cases, there may be a coinciding criminal charge. This is not considered parental alienation because there is a reasonable basis to prevent a relationship.
If you are accused of child abuse or neglect by your co-parent or child, you should speak to a lawyer immediately. These allegations can be life-changing and lead to criminal charges.
How Do You Prove Parental Alienation In New Jersey?
It can be hard to prove parental alienation. That’s because you need to show that the other parent is intentionally alienating you from your child.
Many parents will defend themselves by saying that the child has made this decision on their own. Often, there is no record of parental alienation because it happens in private conversations between a parent and child.
In a successful parental alienation case, you will have evidence of a prior positive relationship with the child. You will also have evidence of subsequent alienation.
Evidence of a prior positive relationship may include:
- Friendly or loving text messages between a parent and child
- Photos of a parent spending time with a child
- Phone call logs or voicemails
- Lists of activities previously enjoyed by the parent and child
- Witnesses who observed the relationship between parent and child before the alienation
Evidence of the alienation could be:
- Texts or emails where one parent speaks negatively about the other parent
- Times when visitation was missed or skipped
- Unanswered phone calls or text messages to the child
- Witness testimony (such as from teachers, counselors, or other family)
- Conversations between both parents
- Social media posts
It can be difficult to know when you have enough evidence of alienation. Many times, a parent will hide their efforts to alienate. It is hard to have concrete evidence unless you hear about the alienation from the child or another source.
Sometimes keeping a journal or log is the best type of evidence. It can help refresh your memory about specific instances while also giving your lawyer context. An attorney can then help you collect and synthesize evidence to support your case.
What Happens After You Prove Parental Alienation?
If you successfully prove parental alienation, Monmouth County courts have several options for a remedy. The remedy will depend on the specifics of your relationship, the custody agreement, and the severity of the alienation.
Your lawyer can advocate for the court to impose the remedy of your choice, but ultimately, it is up to the judge to decide. The better your lawyer, the more likely the court is to impose the remedy you want.
Examples of common remedies are:
- Modifications to the custody arrangement to give the alienated parent more time with the child
- Changes in the primary residence of the child
- Compensatory parenting time
- Parenting classes
- Counseling for a parent or child
- Payment of attorney’s fees
- Reunification therapy
Reunification therapy is usually ordered in the most severe cases. This form of therapy aims to reunify a parent and child and create a positive co-parenting relationship.
Sessions may focus on establishing boundaries, building trust between a parent and child, and improving communication skills. It may involve the child and both parents, the child and one parent, or just the parents.
While reunification therapy can be successful, it is a long road. In some cases, it will never repair the relationship to what it was before the alienation. That is why it is better to speak with a Monmouth County parental alienation attorney at the first signs of alienation. You don’t want to let it become severe.
Plus, your lawyer might be able to petition for changes to the custody agreement or bring up issues with the court before they become serious. These first steps can be easier on a family than an entire parental alienation case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Monmouth County Parental Alienation Attorney
If you need more information on parental alienation in Monmouth County, NJ, call The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC. We will schedule a free consultation with a Monmouth County parental alienation attorney.
During that time, you can discuss the details of your case and parental alienation law and learn more about our law firm. It’s a no-pressure consultation designed to help you access the resources you need to decide how to proceed in your case.
Your relationship with your child is one of the most important relationships in your life. Don’t waste time letting that relationship suffer because of a spiteful co-parent. Call us to talk today.