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Kane County divorce attorney for parental alienationThe decision to end a marriage can be difficult for many reasons. In many cases, spouses may be unhappy for a long time but hesitant to end the relationship if they have a family. Studies show that the stress of a divorce can significantly impact a couple’s children. This can manifest itself in various ways, such as manipulative behavior by one or both parents. The concept of parental alienation syndrome (PAS) was first introduced by psychiatrist Richard Gardner in the 1980s. This typically occurs during or after a divorce when one parent psychologically manipulates a child into exhibiting unwarranted fear, disrespect, or hostility toward the other parent. In some cases, the manipulative parent’s ultimate goal is that the child will reject the other parent and want nothing to do with him or her. After your divorce, it is important to recognize signals that indicate PAS might be occurring to protect your child’s well-being as well as your rights to custody and parenting time.

Symptoms of Psychological Abuse

It may be natural for a child to exhibit some hostility or sadness when his or her parents split up, regardless of the child’s age. However, parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse that can have devastating effects on a child as well as the parent who is being alienated. Some of the signs and symptoms that a child may be subjected to this include the following behaviors: 

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Angry outbursts toward the targeted parent and other family members
  • Inconsistent sleep patterns 
  • Eating disorders
  • Problems in school (academic or behavioral)

Manipulative Behaviors 

When a parent is actively trying to make his or her child “take sides” in a divorce, he or she may do certain things to accomplish this objective. Below are a few examples of what a parent might do to instill negative thoughts or feelings about his or her ex in a child’s mind:

Geneva parental relocation attorneyFollowing a divorce, very few parents are able to reach an agreement in which their children spend equal time with both parents. In Illinois, however, parenting time is handled separately from significant decision-making responsibilities, which means that even if parenting time is not split equally, both parents could have equal authority regarding major decisions for the child.

Sometimes, the parent that has been given the majority of the parenting may wish to move from his or her current home. Because the child spends more than half of the time with that parent, it is easy for the parent to assume that they can simply move whenever they please. The law in Illinois does allow parents who share parenting time to move to a new home, but it must be done within certain geographical areas unless the non-moving parent grants his or her consent to the move.

How Far Can I Go?

Kane County family law attorneyWhile many parents would like to be able to simply end their ex’s right to be in their children’s lives, it is not possible in Illinois to do so unilaterally. Terminating a parent’s rights in Illinois is a process that requires the involvement of both parents in most cases, and in some situations, it can get extraordinarily complex. It is imperative, for the sake of your children, to ensure you understand the process before trying to assert your parental rights over those of their current caregivers.

When Can Rights Be Terminated?

In Illinois, there are very limited occasions on which a parent’s rights may be terminated. According to current law, there are only two: either in a case under the Adoption Act or in a juvenile court case. This may seem extreme, but Illinois legislators and courts have been firm in asserting that children benefit more from having both parents in their lives, unless the parent has been convicted of offenses that would signify their posing a danger to the child in question.

kane county family lawyersIt is much more common nowadays for couples to spend time apart while married, or even take their entire family abroad. However, if the marriage breaks up, however, there can be some difficult and unique issues, especially if one spouse is in the military. It is advisable to enlist a professional to help negotiate complex questions in this situation.

Divorce Complexities

International divorces can be extremely drawn out, even if there are no children involved. Most of the common questions involve jurisdiction: if I am divorced in another country, will it be recognized at home? Whose law applies? What if my spouse is not an American citizen?

Kane County family law attorneyMost parents would do absolutely anything to keep their children safe and happy. Thus, when there is a suspicion of abuse, parents and authorities typically act quickly to address the concerns. This can get especially tricky in divorce cases, however. Sometimes abuse allegations have merit, and sometimes they are used as weapons by an estranged or bitter ex-spouse. It is important to know how to handle both situations.

The Law on Abuse and Neglect

The statutory definition of child abuse in Illinois is somewhat complex, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Essentially, an abused child is one who has been the victim of any act that either causes or intends to cause severe physical, emotional, sexual or mental harm. If a mother grabs her son’s arm to pull him out of traffic and gives him bruises, such conduct is likely not abusive, but if she dislocates his shoulder while trying to get his attention in a supermarket, it may be considered abuse.

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