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For families, the ideal divorce outcome includes happy children who maintain strong relationships with both parents. In turn, parents will hopefully enjoy an amicable relationship. All too often, however, divorce devolves into a power struggle, as evidenced by the increasingly prevalent issue of parental alienation.

Defining Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is, at its core, an act of manipulation. Parents who engage in this behavior make every effort to pit their children against former partners. These parents may speak negatively of their ex on a regular basis — or even make false accusations. Ultimately, they hope to destroy the relationship between their ex and their children in order to maintain greater control.

Increasingly common and yet largely overlooked, parental alienation impacts far more families than originally suspected. Experts Barbara Fidler and Nicholas Bala cite parental alienation as occurring in between 11 and 15 percent of divorces involving children.

How Parental Alienation Impacts Families

Minnesota courts regard it as in each child’s best interest to maintain strong relationships with both parents whenever possible. What happens, then, when one parent purposefully turns his or her children against the other? Such behavior can inflict lasting trauma on children, who later suffer not only the loss of a valuable family bond, but also the knowledge that they were an instrument in destroying that bond.

Of course, parental alienation is also devastating to the targeted parent and his or her extended family. Parents may not realize why their children suddenly act hostile or distant. PA may be a contributing factor in depression, and, in severe cases, suicide.

If you believe that you and your children have been negatively impacted by parental alienation, it is important to work with a lawyer who takes your concerns seriously. Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. at your earliest convenience to learn more about your options for resolving this painful issue.