Parental Alienation: Is It Going On In Your Divorce?

parental alienation syndrome

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author


When parents come to the decision that living together and raising their children as a couple is not possible, the experience of divorce is usually emotionally stressful, not only for the couple but for the children, as well.

But there are divorce cases in which the children involved begin to become negatively affected due to the actions of the other parent. This is known as Parental Alienation Syndrome.

What is Parental Alienation?

In the state of Illinois, parental alienation is recognized as a situation that is created when one parent attempts to destroy the relationship between the children and the other parent. In most cases, parental alienation is committed by the residential parent, but either parent can be guilty. Illinois courts typically see parental alienation as significantly damaging to the children involved, and rightfully so. Examples of parental alienation include:

* Preventing communication between the child and the other parent

* Not allowing the other parent to exercise his or her parenting time with the child

* Maliciously attempting to manipulate the child’s perception of the other parent

* Making derogatory remarks about the other parent in front of the child

* Humiliating the parent in front of the child

* Attempting to make the child believe that the other parent does not love or want to spend time with him or her



Unfortunately, children, who end up becoming the ultimate victims of such estrangements, often suffer significant or permanent emotional trauma.

According to the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO), parental alienation, also referred to as hostile aggressive parenting, often robs children of their sense of security and safety and their right to be loved by both parents. Additionally, parental alienation can ultimately result in irreparable damage to the relationship between the child and his or her other parent.

Parental alienation can have a significant impact on family law cases. As Illinois courts have witnessed an increasing number of parental alienation situations, they have begun to react to such occurrences with the determination that parents who commit these actions are not acting in the best interests of the child. In fact, while intense counseling is sometimes ordered when parental alienation is brought before the court, many times the innocent parent is granted full residential custody (also known as parental responsibility) and the offending parent often ends up with supervised parenting time.


parental alienation syndrome

Should you have any questions about parent alienation in Illinois, please contact Nichole Waltz at Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847) 253-8800. Nichole M. Waltz is a Partner at the firm, a family law attorney who assists individuals experiencing divorce or other family issues, including child support and allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. Nichole received the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Client Satisfaction Award by the American Institute of Family Law Attorney’s.


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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

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