The thought of your child turning against you can be unimaginable and is most parents’ worst nightmare. Knowing that your child’s other parent is turning them against you can be even worse. Parental alienation is a horrible form of manipulation, and at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz, we know it can make people feel powerless, angry, and overwhelmed. However, with an experienced family law attorney on your side, you can understand your rights in California and protect your relationship with your children.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is a strategic form of psychological manipulation in which a parent distances a child from the other parent on purpose. Unfortunately, this is quite common after separation or divorce, as parents often think that turning a child against each other will help them succeed in a custody battle. Recognizing signs of parental alienation and getting a lawyer to protect your rights is crucial to ensuring your relationship with your children doesn’t crumble as a result of another person’s lies.

Parental Alienation: Know Your California Rights

Is Parental Alienation a Crime in California?

In the state of California, parental alienation is not considered a crime, and therefore, you cannot sue a person for parental alienation alone. However, since parental alienation is detrimental to children’s development and familial relationships, it is crucial that you identify and document it. Proven cases of parental alienation can impact child custody arrangements and visitation rights.

For example, if a parent is found to be causing parental alienation, a judge might order that they have less visitation time with the child to protect the child’s emotional well-being. Remember, family law professionals always want what is right for a child. If you can prove that parental alienation is occurring in California, the court will take this seriously. Especially if a parent is violating custody orders, they might face fines or lose custody if they engage in parental alienation.

What Are the Signs of Parental Alienation?

Although you may suspect you are dealing with a case of parental alienation, it can be difficult to identify and even trickier to prove. Confronting a rapidly diminishing relationship with your child can also exacerbate other stresses like divorce or moving away from your family. You do not have to go through this alone.

Consulting a family law lawyer can help confirm if you are facing parental alienation and help you prove it. Every family dynamic is unique; however, if you notice your child’s other parent is exhibiting the following behaviors or actions, you might be dealing with parental alienation, and you should contact a lawyer for guidance:

  • Telling your child negative things about you
  • Telling your child false stories to distort their perception of you
  • Encouraging your child to disobey or disrespect you
  • Encouraging your child to spend planned time away from you
  • Restricting communication and visits between you and your child
  • Breaking any existing child custody guidelines
  • Keeping important information about your child from you

You may also notice signs of parental alienation in your child’s behavior. For example, if your child is exhibiting any of the following behaviors and they are abrupt or out-of-character, the other parent might be working to turn them against you:

  • Holding grudges against you
  • Disrespecting you or disobeying you with little guilt
  • Showing anger toward you for no apparent reason
  • Exhibiting fear or anxiety around you

All instances of parental instances are unique, and none are easier than others. Even if you do not see any of the signs on the above list but feel that you are facing a case of parental alienation, it is in your interest to contact a lawyer to see what your options are. If the other parent is manipulating your child, time is of the essence when it comes to repairing your relationship and preventing it from worsening.


Q: What Are Signs of Parental Alienation?

A: Parental alienation is a malicious form of manipulation that can take many forms, and every instance is unique. However, common signs of parental alienation include a parent telling a child lies and bad things about the other parent, restricting communication and visits with them, or enticing the child to spend time away from them. The child might be mean, disrespectful, or withdrawn from their parent as a result of this psychological manipulation.

Q: How Is Parental Alienation Proved in California?

A: It can be difficult to prove parental alienation, but being vigilant about looking for it and documenting it can help you prove it. For instance, text messages, emails, or messages on social media that demonstrate parental alienation can serve as proof. Consulting witnesses who can back up your claims about your child’s behavior is also extremely useful.

Q: Can You Sue for Parental Alienation in California?

A: Parental alienation is not considered a crime in California, so you cannot sue exclusively for parental alienation. However, you shouldn’t let this discourage you from seeking legal guidance in such a stressful situation. Parental alienation is a serious form of manipulation, and courts will take it seriously when it comes to determining child custody and visitation rights.

Q: Can a Parent Lose Custody for Parental Alienation in California?

A: Every case of parental alienation is different, and its impact on custody will depend on the exact details of the situation. However, it is possible that a parent could lose custody for a severe case of parental alienation in California, especially if the parent violates a custody arrangement.

Why You Need a Reliable California Attorney

No one should have to watch another person harm their connection with their child. The right California attorney will fight for you and your child and work to ensure the parental alienation stops for good. Our team at the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz has decades of experience advocating for parents, and we will do everything in our power to ensure no one turns your children against you. If you think you might be dealing with parental alienation, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. Contact our supportive team today.