Like all divorced individuals, you did not choose to end your marriage for no reason at all. On the contrary, you had dozens of reasons for calling it quits. While you may want to cut your ex-spouse out of your life forever, your child makes doing so virtually impossible. Still, what your former spouse chooses to tell your young one about you may be driving you crazy.

Parental alienation is a form of mental manipulation and abuse. As such, it usually runs counter to the best interests of your child, which is the legal standard New York judges use to make custody determinations. While parental alienation comes in a variety of forms, disparaging comments are usually evidence of this type of behavior.

Identifying the problem 

You should be able to count on your child’s other parent not to sabotage your parent-child relationship. Your ex-spouse may intentionally or inadvertently do exactly that, however. The first step in stopping parental alienation is identifying the problem. While a single, off-handed comment is probably not cause for concern, ongoing or pervasive remarks are definitely an issue.

Negotiating with your ex-spouse 

Often, parental alienation is stoppable with a bit of negotiation. This can be either informal or formal. With informal negotiation, you ask your ex-spouse to stop harming the relationship you have with your son or daughter. If that does not work, asking a professional mediator to assist may be the right approach.

Documenting bad behaviors 

If you cannot modify your ex-spouse’s behavior through extra-judicial channels, you may have to ask a court to intervene. That is, a judge has the authority to modify a custody order if your ex-spouse is not acting in your child’s best interests. Before going that route, though, you need some documentation. Therefore, keep a journal of disparaging words. Also, maintain records of any other type of parental alienation you observe.

Even though your marriage did not work out, you want your child to grow up in a healthy environment. Having an ex-spouse make disparaging comments about you puts that goal in jeopardy. Fortunately, with some effort, you can likely stop parental alienation in its tracks.