Is your relationship with your child suddenly tense? Do you suspect that your ex may have played a role in your parenting struggles? Your current emotional turmoil may best be explained by parental alienation.

A common, yet under-discussed phenomenon, parental alienation (PA) occurs when one parent psychologically manipulates his or her children into demonstrating an unwarranted hostility towards — or fear of — the other parent. Deeply traumatic for both affected parents and their children, PA can cause long-term damage. Below, we discuss this frightening trend — and how it can best be combated.

How Does Parental Alienation Work?

The motivations that underlie PA can differ from one parent to the next. Many desire vengeance for perceived slights. Others are simply possessive of their children. Either way, these parents will stop at nothing to ensure that their children dislike or distrust the other parent. They may use disparaging comments or false allegations to paint a negative picture of their ex. Others hoard parenting time in hopes of preventing their kids from getting at the truth.

Fighting Back

The effects of parental alienation can cut deep. By the time you catch wind of your ex’s reprehensible behavior, your child may have endured months, even years of calculated efforts to poison your relationship. Still, all hope is not lost.

First, begin documenting the problem. Court action may come into play, and when it does, you’ll want ample evidence. Highlight specific dates in which your ex blocked you from seeing your children. Mention other suspicious behaviors, such as comments indicative of parental alienation.

Strive to maintain contact with your child. Resist the urge to play dirty with your ex; your child may perceive this as proof of your ill intentions. Work with an attorney to determine whether legal action is possible or advisable in your situation.

No matter the nature of your relationship with your ex or children, you can count on the Brown Law Offices for support. Reach out today to get a better sense of your legal options.

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Photo of Cynthia Brown Cynthia Brown

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served…

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003.

Cynthia has handled a wide variety of family law matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child protective services, orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. Many of her clients have also asked her to provide guidance concerning their estate planning needs.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal investigator. In addition to her family practice, Cynthia routinely represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, assault, theft and criminal sexual misconduct.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, ATV riding and spending time with family.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Protective Services
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Bar Admission
  • Minnesota State Bar, 1998
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 1998
  • University of South Dakota, 1995
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Panel Attorney, Anoka County County Family Law Clinic
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper
  • Author, Family Law Forum
  • Author, Divorce Magazine