Parenting together after a divorce can be challenging. Even if you want what is best for your children, your emotions can sometimes get the better of you. Every time you see one another, you are at risk of getting into a disagreement, possibly in front of the children.
While you may try to be on your best behavior during custody exchanges, your ex may take the opposite approach. They may become confrontational. On the other hand, they might fail to show up, denying you time with your kids.
If you have experienced multiple canceled visits or have noticed a change in your children’s attitude toward you, that could be a warning sign that your ex’s behavior has started to hurt your relationship with the children.
Your ex can hurt your relationship with the children
When parents divorce, it destabilizes the attachment that children have to their parents and their sense of family. Some of them respond by blaming one parent and idolizing the other. Even those who don’t hold one parent specifically accountable for the divorce may go to great lengths to keep their parents happy after a divorce. When they notice your ex’s bad mood after every custody exchange, they may start to associate time with you with the other parent getting angry.
It’s also possible that your ex has spoken negatively about you in front of the children. From complaining about not getting enough child support to exaggerating your marital misconduct to make you seem like the villain, there are many ways that your ex could slowly turn the children against you.
Denying parenting time and the signs of estrangement in your children despite your frequent attempts to see and speak with them could be warning signs that your ex wants to damage your bond with the children.
Courts do not look favorably at parental alienation
When one parent intentionally hurts the relationship that the other has with the children, their behavior constitutes parental alienation. They can cause lasting emotional and social damage to your children with their inappropriate conduct and interference in your relationship with them.
If you have written communications showing things that your ex has said about you or the frequency with which they cancel your parenting time, that can be a good starting point. So too can posts from social media or statements by counselors and therapists who have worked with your family.
If you can convince the court that parental alienation has damaged your bond with the children, the courts may intervene to prevent your ex from continuing the same behavior or possibly even give you more parenting time. Identifying issues that can arise during shared custody can help you handle these difficult situations more gracefully.