What is Parental Alienation?


A divorce can be one of the most difficult and emotional times in the life of a parent. It only becomes more difficult when children are negatively affected by the change. This is especially true when one parent acts in a way that disturbs the child’s relationship with the other parent. At the Midtown Manhattan Law Offices of Andrew J. Spinnell, LLC, we represent parents throughout the greater New York City metropolitan area in issues of child custody and visitation.


Fairly often in our law practice, we see parents who are bitter about their divorce. They use their children almost like weapons, pitting them against the other parent. From saying a few nasty things to launching an outright campaign to destroy the relationship, parental alienation varies in every family relationship. A sign of parental alienation is when the children show strong dislike or hatred toward one of the parents. Sometimes is it due to some type of child abuse, whether it is physical, emotional, or sexual violence. However, this is not always the case. It could be due to negative comments from the other parent, in which case, action must be taken to stop this rejection. There are a number of signs that could indicate your child is suffering from parental alienation syndrome. If you suspect this is the case in your family, you should discuss your concerns with a knowledgeable attorney from our firm as soon as possible. You child may be experiencing parental alienation syndrome if the child exhibits the following symptoms, among others:

  • Lacks independent thinking and seems to imitate the alienating parent
  • Begins to call you names or starts blaming you exclusively for the breakdown of the relationship
  • Feels guilty for showing any love toward you
  • Is suddenly withdrawn or avoids you for no reason
  • Begins using very mature phrases about why you ruined things or why they do not want to spend time with you
  • Is very antagonistic toward you
  • Feels intensely protective of their other parent
  • Does not show any remorse of their cruel treatment of you
  • Makes wild accusations toward you or over-exaggerates situations
  • Withdraws or announces that they also “hate” your relatives


Our divorce attorneys believe that parental alienation is a destructive force, and we encourage our clients not to engage in it by refraining from saying anything negative about an ex-spouse while the children are present. Children need both parents in their lives. Whether we are creating a legal separation agreement or modifying a child custody agreement, we take action to protect parents’ relationships with their children, and we send a clear message: parental alienation is not okay. If you have been the victim of parental alienation, contact a New York City divorce attorney from our firm today!