Parental Alienation in Ohio – Here’s What You Should Know

Child custody cases are notoriously challenging. That’s especially true if one parent mentally manipulates (i.e., brainwashing or parental alienation) the child into unjustly believing the other parent is unfit. 

Ohio child custody laws recognize parental alienation (ORC 3109.04) as something that can negatively affect child custody. However, a change in custodianship is typically reserved for extreme, habitual, and well-documented cases of parental alienation. 

Suppose your ex-spouse is using parental alienation tactics to turn your child against you. In that case, it can be challenging to prove without the help of an experienced child custody lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. 

Contact The Law Office of Dmitriy Borschak to schedule a free consultation today. Continue reading to learn more about parental alienation in Ohio.

Forms of Parental Alienation in Ohio

Parental Alienation (sometimes referred to as “parental alienation syndrome”) can occur in three ways: active parental alienation, obsessive parental alienation, and naive parental alienation. Furthermore, parental alienation syndrome can occur in mild, moderate, or severe stages.

While parental alienation is serious (regardless of type or stage), the courts usually reserve actions against the perpetrating parent for severe and frequently occurring cases.

Active Parental Alienation

As the name suggests, active parental alienation involves intentional acts of alienation perpetrated by one parent against another. Common examples include but arent not limited to:

  • Intentionally misinforming their child about the character of the other parent
  • Lying to the child about events that didn’t occur 
  • Setting impossible expectations or guidelines for the other parent 
  • Asking the child to keep secrets about child support fraud 

While most people who actively alienate their ex eventually feel remorseful, it can take years to repair the damage caused to the children and the relationship.

Obsessive Parental Alienation

When a parent aggressively and obsessively manipulates the child into rejecting the other parent, it’s considered obsessive parental alienation. Examples include:

  • Claiming the other parent is abusive (when they are not) 
  • Recruiting the child to “spy” on the other parent to prove acts of wrongdoing 
  • Claiming the other parent is not their legitimate parent (when they are)

Essentially, any aggressive attempts to unjustly sever the parent-child relationship with the other parent can be considered parental alienation.

Naive Parental Alienation

Naive parental alienation is not as easy to spot as the previous two. The parent who perpetuates naive parental alienation actions is usually unaware of their actions. 

Examples include making passive-aggressive comments about the other parent, arguing with the other parent in front of the child, etc. In most cases, perpetrators of naive parental alienation are open to changing and discussing their behavior.

How Do I Prove Parental Alienation in Ohio?

Proving parental alienation or parental alienation syndrome in court is not easy. However, one thing you can do is collect as much evidence as possible. That can include, but is not limited to:

  • Document disparaging comments 
  • Journal incidents of parental alienation (include dates and times)
  • Download, screenshot, and otherwise preserve social media evidence

It’s important to note that it’s only considered parental alienation when the actions are not in the child’s best interest. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your Columbus child custody attorney may advise additional action. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Why An Expert is Essential in Proving Parental Alienation

In addition to well-documented evidence, enlisting the services of an expert witness is crucial in proving parental alienation. Expert witnesses can be used to help substantiate parental alienation charges or defend against them. 

It’s not easy to define parental alienation. It’s a finding based on the totality of the circumstances rather than specific acts. 

With that in mind, hiring an expert witness can help to support claims of parental alienation. Otherwise, it’s your word against the other parent’s word – which is not a position of strength for either party.

What Can Courts Do About Parental Alienation in Ohio?

In extreme cases, yes. A parent can lose custodial rights if a judge concludes that they actively alienated the other parent. However, in most cases, family court judges give parents time to adjust to the divorce before making changes to custody agreements. 

If the actions are unjustly detrimental to the parent-child relationship, are severe, and habitual, a judge can award sole custody to the other parent, supervised visitation, and potentially more.

Contact an Experienced Child Custody Attorney Today

Parental alienation harms the child, the parent, and the parent-child relationship significantly. If you’ve been the victim of parental alienation tactics, it’s in your best interest to consult with an Ohio family law lawyer as soon as possible. 

At The Law Office of Dmitriy Borschak, we know what steps to take to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. In many cases, our attorneys have the skill, experience, and knowledge to help settle Ohio parental alienation disputes outside of court. 

However, we’re also prepared to take your case to family court if necessary. We can help. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.