Is your ex-spouse badmouthing you to your kids?

Parenting is hard enough even under ideal circumstances. Unfortunately, if you share parental responsibilities with a former spouse who does not care much for you, you may face an uphill battle. After all, your ex-partner may attempt to destroy the good relationship you have with your children. 

There are a seemingly endless number of ways an individual can harm an ex-spouse’s parent-child relationship. If the person’s actions are pervasive, ongoing or particularly severe, he or she may be either intentionally or inadvertently engaging in parental alienation. Does badmouthing rise to that level, though? 

Parental alienation and child custody 

When settling custody matters, New York judges must consider the best interests of the children. To do so, they weigh a number of factors. One of these is whether a parent has a record of abuse, neglect or interference with the other parent’s visitation rights. If you can prove your former partner is not acting in the best interests of your children, you may be able to secure sole legal and physical custody. Alternatively, you may be able to seek a modification of your existing custody order. 

Parental alienation and ugly words 

There really is no such thing as garden-variety parental alienation. On the contrary, this type of mental manipulation may come in a variety of forms. Still, badmouthing the other parent is often an example of parental alienation. If your ex-spouse uses exceptionally ugly words or constantly derides you, you may have sufficient evidence to ask a court to intervene. 

Parental alienation and documentation 

Judges tend to believe children thrive when both parents participate in their upbringing. Nonetheless, if one parent is alienating the children, official action may be necessary. Before asking a judge to weigh in, however, you likely want to document your former spouse’s bad behaviors. Keeping a contemporaneous journal may be necessary. 

New York law does not look favorably upon parental alienation. Thankfully, if your ex-spouse cannot keep from badmouthing you to your kids, you may have grounds to pursue exclusive custody. Understanding parental alienation, though, is the first step.