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How parental alienation syndrome impacts visitation and custody

| Apr 20, 2021 | Firm News |

Parental alienation syndrome is a psychological condition that could occur if your former spouse attempts to turn your child against you. Illinois family law courts are gradually recognizing how detrimental this is to children.

If you prove that parental alienation is taking place, the courts may choose to take one of the following actions.

Appoint a guardian ad litem

A guardian ad litem is a person the court appoints to look out for the child’s best interests. In this case, the guardian ad litem might also act as a custody evaluator and recommend to the courts what should happen to correct the situation.

Request a psychological evaluation

Since moderate to severe parental alienation syndrome is sometimes seen as abuse, the court may recommend you and your ex undergo psychological evaluations. This is to make sure both parents are psychologically stable. If one of you is not, a change in visitation or custody may occur.

Change visitation

Depending on the situation and who is causing the parental alienation, the court can recommend changes in visitation. This usually means:

  • Increasing visitation
  • Decreasing visitation
  • Making visitation supervised
  • Setting specific visitation schedules or locations

When a judge makes this decision, the intent is to stop the alienation and help your child reconnect with you.

Change custody

If your ex is the custodial parent and is the cause of parental alienation syndrome, the judge might award you custody. Judges only make this decision when the alienation is becoming dangerous to a child’s mental health.

Not only might bringing parental alienation to the court’s attention help you in an Illinois custody case, but it may also save your relationship with your child.