Parental Alienation and Divorce - Part 1


One of the most unfortunate consequences of a Pasadena divorce is that children become alienated from their parents. Parental alienation can impact a child's relationship with his or her mother or father for many years to come, so this behavior must be taken seriously.

There are three types of parental alienators: naive alienators, active alienators, and obsessed alienators.

Naive alienators are the most common form of parental alienators. In fact, most parents have moments when they are guilty of this type of behavior. For example, a mother may tell her child to ask dad for a new video game because dad has more extra money now that he lives on his own. Naive alienators are trying their best to help their children adjust to the divorce, but succumb to the occasional slip up. They generally do not need therapy or intervention from the court.

Active alienators swing between impulsively alienating their child's other parent and then feeling guilty as they try to repair the damage. Most of the time, the active alienator struggles to maintain control because the intensity of the anger he or she feels towards the child's other parent is simply too overwhelming. Active alienation results from a lack of self control, not a genuine malice towards the other parent. However, the frequency of the alienating behavior means that intervention is needed.

Obsessed alienators have embarked on a targeted campaign to turn the child against his or her other parent. They manipulate their relationship with the child to convince him or her that the other parent is dangerous, evil, or undeserving of love. They can be especially dangerous if they have young children at home, because young children find it difficult to form their own opinions when faced with such a skilled manipulator.

Alienated children feel an intense, irrational hatred towards the targeted parent. They do not want to comply with court-ordered visitation. Often, their hatred will even extend towards other relatives on the targeted parent's side of the family -- even though they can provide no concrete explanation for their feelings.

How Can We Help?

If you are concerned that your child is the victim of a parental alienator, please contact our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our skilled Pasadena family law attorneys can explain what legal options you have to help preserve your relationship with your child.