Even if you manage to have a “friendly divorce” where you and your spouse agree 100% on everything, it doesn’t mean the divorce is going to be “easy” on you. Marriage is hard. Divorce can be harder, especially when children are involved.
When couples file for divorce, the spouses usually experience intense emotions. Sometimes, what started off as an amicable divorce takes a turn for the worse when one or more of the following occurs:
- One spouse starts dating before the divorce is final.
- One spouse rants on social media about the divorce.
- A parent fails to pay child support.
- A parent alienates the kids from the other parent.
It’s not uncommon for any one or more of the above situations to occur, only for the downward spiral to begin – and it’s all downhill from there. Sometimes, all of the above situations are connected and before the spouses know it, they get so angry that they try to punish one another. Such punishment can include the refusal to pay child or spousal support, or it can be in the form of parental alienation.
Parental Alienation Syndrome
What is parental alienation exactly? “Parental alienation syndrome, a term coined in the id [sic] 1980’s by child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner, occurs when one parent attempts to turn the couple’s children against the other parent,” Susan Heitler Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today.
“A parent who is angry at the spouse or ex-spouse accomplishes this estrangement by painting a negative picture of the other parent in depreciating comments, blame and false accusations shared with the children,” says Heitler.
Dr. Phil’s advice on parental alienation: “Don’t alienate your children from your spouse. Judges hate this, and it’s bad for the children.”
We understand that divorce is stressful, even when you’re getting a no fault divorce. One of the best ways to avoid the stress trickling down to your kids is to work with your spouse and strive to get along. When spouses become enraged, it can lead to parental alienation and this needs to be avoided at all costs.