During a divorce, if you want to continue to play a role in the lives of your children, you will probably seek shared custody with your ex. Once the court awards it, either as part of the temporary custody order or in the final decree for your divorce proceedings, you might wrongly assume that your relationship with your children now has adequate protection from any potential interference by your ex.

Unfortunately, it is possible for your spouse to engage in certain practices in a shared custody arrangement that could damage your relationship with your children and possibly impact your ability to continue spending time with them. If your ex is angry or hurt, they might engage in parental alienation.

What is parental alienation? 

As you can probably tell from the name, parental alienation involves one parent attempting to interfere in the relationship of the other parent with their shared children. Parental alienation can take a number of forms. 

One of the most common is one parent refusing to exchange custody when they reasonably should according to a custody decree. They may deny you time with the children and then blame you when the kids ask why they haven’t seen you recently. Cutting visits short or making excuses to cancel, including the children not wanting to see you, could also be a warning sign of alienation attempts by your ex. 

Parental alienation can also involve your ex talking badly about you to the children as a way to turn them against you and make them resent you. If your ex has begun to deny your parenting time or if your children relate to you negative things that your ex has said about you, you may want to begin documenting that information so that you can demonstrate to the courts how your ex has attempted to interfere in your parental relationship.