It's hard enough to go through all the emotional distress of divorce, but when your ex tries to turn your child, your everything, against you, that's when enough is enough. 

You just went through a heartbreaking divorce. Your ex won primary custody, but you won visitation rights to your child in court. It starts out with your child acting differently toward you during your scheduled visitation. Maybe they give you some sideways glances, maybe they shy away from your friendly touch. It starts to get worse. Your child no longer wants to see you, but you can't understand why. You've done nothing to warrant this behavior from a child that you took care of and loved unconditionally for years. Your ex starts preventing you from visiting your child, claiming that you somehow caused this by your own behavior. Maybe your ex even goes so far as to say that you abused your child. The child that you loved with all your heart. How could your ex say that? How did you end up so far away from a positive relationship with your child? How can you fix it when your ex won't let you see your child anymore, when your ex is telling the court that you are not a fit parent and should not even have visitation rights? 

We know what you are experiencing. There is a name for it, and we can help. 

Parental alienation happens when one parent discredits the other parent to a child that the two parents share custody of, and it is often accompanied by several false targeted accusations. It could be your ex telling your child that you abandoned them, that you will hurt them if given the chance, or (for younger children) that they just don't want to see you. It's painfully easy for an alienating parent to destroy your relationship with your child, but there is hope. 

Hickey & Hull Law Partners is experienced in handling parental alienation cases, and we care about each and every case, even when it hurts. Give us a call because things are about to get better.

Parental Alienation Stories

How to Reverse Parental Alienation...

In a perfect world, separated parents would put their children first and their feelings of animosity second. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen: If a person doesn’t have the proper coping techniques, it can be hard to identify and control these negative feelings towards their ex-spouse. This is often the setup for parental alienation syndrome.  How Do Children and Parents Become Alienated?  Parental alienation is a strategy in which one parent unjustly and intentionally harms the relationship between their children and the other parent by performing toxic behaviors, such as:  Speaking badly to the child about the other parent Attempting to dissuade the child from wanting to visit the other parent Spreading hateful lies and assumptions that harm the other parent’s reputation Fighting with the other parent in front of the child, often paired with absurd rationalizations Careful manipulation of the targeting parent’s feelings toward the other parents Remember that, in most cases, these accusations and behaviors are unfounded. They are usually the result of an angry and hurt individual that hasn’t yet processed or overcome their feelings.  What Are the Signs of Parental Alienation?  Typical signs of a child suffering from parental alienation — also called the “alienated child” — are extreme hostility towards the targeted parent, ungratefulness when met with gifts or favors, refusal to see or spend time with them, and overall defiance and withdrawal.  How Can You Reverse Parental Alienation? There are ways to help reverse parental alienation. Every case is unique, so remember that these tips are mere stepping stones to establishing a better relationship with your child. In some instances, changes may take effect quickly, while others may take longer or require some outside help.  Tip #1: Create a Trusting and Loving Relationship With Your Child The most important thing you can do with your alienated child is work to establish a trusting and loving relationship with them by showing that you’re an ally who cares about them unconditionally.    Try practicing these actions and techniques:  Treat your child like an individual human worthy of having their own opinions, thoughts, and feelings. This may help them understand that they are separate from the targeting parent and capable of making their own choices.  Foster a trusting relationship by avoiding yelling, lecturing, and raising your voice. If your child cheats on a test, you may be tempted to lecture them, but this will only push your child further away. You can still set boundaries by lovingly explaining wrong versus right decisions.  Tip #2: Speak Positively of the Other Parent One of the first things your child will notice is that you refuse to speak badly about the other parent. You might wonder how this is possible if your child is already becoming alienated, but it can work. Imagine this: Every time your child spends time with the targeting parent, they have to hear dismissive comments and angry accusations about you. But when your child spends time with you, nothing like that comes up at all. So even if your child doesn’t realize they are being manipulated at first, they will begin to notice a difference in how their parents talk about one another.  Tip #3: Consult with Family Law Experts On Your Next Steps If you feel helpless in rebuilding your relationship or feel that your child is at the point of no return, then you might need outside professional help, like experienced family law attorneys.  Family law attorneys can help build appropriate custody arrangements, foster mediation between you and the other parent, and ultimately reverse alienation because they aim to start on the right foot.  How Hickey & Hull Law Partners Can Help You With decades of experience specializing in family law, our compassionate team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners is confident that we can help you fix your relationship today. Please fill out our online form for a free consultation, or contact us today for more information. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

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The Three Types of Parental Alienators...

Did you know that there are three types of parental alienation? Since humans are complex creatures, there are varying degrees of alienation that your ex-partner might be conducting — and what’s worse is that you might not even realize they’re happening. Let’s dive into what you need to know about the three types of alienators.  Type #1: The Naive Alienator The most harmless level of alienation is the naive alienator.  In fact, this level is so mild that the targeting parent wouldn’t classify themselves as targeting at all; they truly do value the benefits of their children having both parents. Instead of standing in the way of their relationship, they prioritize their children’s wellbeing and include the other parent in all significant decisions and activities.  But humans are not black and white. When a person undergoes emotional distress, it’s only natural to respond in a distressed way, even if it’s unintentional. They may subconsciously say or do things towards the other parent that could be perceived as rude or disregarding.  So a naive alienator might say, “You’re going to your father’s house on Monday because he doesn’t work as much as I do.” This might seem like no big deal at first glance, but in a way, this subtly programs the child to think that their other parent is lazy and their main custodial parent works harder. Level #2: The Active Alienator The active alienator believes their children should have a healthy relationship with their other parent, but sometimes, they have trouble controlling their pain and frustration.  The main key to being an active alienator is semi-uncontrollable anger, so an active alienator parents may say, “Your mother might not want to come to your school play. Remember the last time she had to leave early for work? We shouldn’t ask her; she’s always so busy.”  While this alienator can control their emotions to an extent, their bitter feelings towards the other parent may bleed out into their children’s relationship. However, it’s not unusual for them to follow up later, attempt to fix the problem, and acknowledge that they made a mistake to the kids.  Level #3: The Obsessed Alienator The most severe level of parental alienation is the obsessed alienator. This type of parent is often anxious and angry and will go to great lengths to damage or cut off their children’s relationship with the other parent.  The primary key in obsessive alienators is that they are paranoid and will project that paranoia onto their children, allowing them to take on the victim role. This can lead to severely alienated children who are just as scared of the targeted parent and refuse to see them.  It’s important to note that there are many reasons an obsessed alienator may act the way they do. Their behaviors may be justified — such as being the victim of abuse — or they may not be, where paranoia and anger take over rational thinking. If paranoia is present, the obsessed alienator might say things like, “You cannot visit your father this weekend. I don’t trust him to take you to school. And he’ll probably leave you home to hang out with his new girlfriend. I will never force you to go there if you don’t want to because I know it’s a matter of time before his irresponsibility puts you in real danger.”  Contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners Today Unfortunately, parental alienation is a fairly common phenomenon affecting millions of children in the United States. But if you’re unsure whether or not your children are experiencing alienation, be sure to check out the five tell-tale signs and then what you can do to protect your family at each stage of alienation:  Naive: Naive alienation usually does not require a mediator or lawyer, although it is helpful to go over custodial requirements with the help of a family law expert to make sure everyone’s on the same page and no stone is left unturned.  Active: Going back and forth between being angry and solving the issue isn’t a sound system for either parent or the children, so light mediation is often recommended.  Obsessive: At this level, the only thing you can do is to work with the courts and experienced family law attorneys who can help identify existing issues, come up with solutions, and mediate. Whatever level you’re on, contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners today.  Our compassionate and expert attorneys will protect you and your children to save your relationship before any long-lasting damage is done. Fill out our form for a free consultation, or call us today: Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

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Parental Alienation vs. Parental Alienation S...

If you’ve ever heard of parental alienation, chances are you’ve also heard of parental alienation syndrome. At first glance — and without a psych degree — the two terms almost seem interchangeable. However, there is a distinct difference between parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome.  What is Parental Alienation?  Parental alienation describes the situation in which a child is encouraged by one parent to reject the other parent unjustly and without cause. The strategies that the targeting parent may attempt can be broken down into five general categories:  Poisonous messages to the child about the targeted parent Limiting contact and communication between the child and the targeted parent Attempting to erase and/or replace the targeted parent  Encouraging the child betrays the targeted parent’s trust Undermining the authority of the targeted parent Usually, parental alienation occurs in situations of divorce, although this isn’t always the case. As long as one parent (the “favored” parent) is purposefully trying to target the other parent (the “targeted” parent) by way of the children, parental alienation can occur in any household.  What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?  You already know what parental alienation is, but what is a syndrome? A syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that occur together and may also be called a condition. If a child is experiencing parental alienation syndrome (PAS), they might display several signs, such as:  Hatred toward the targeted parent  Rationalizations that don’t make any sense or sound repeated (likely by the favored parent)  Seeing a distinct “good” parent and “bad parent” and putting that favored parent on a pedestal  Denial that the favored parent influences their thoughts Generally negative behavior, like rudeness, spitefulness, and ungratefulness towards the targeted parent Has a hatred towards the targeted parent’s extended family as well Parental alienation syndrome in children is diagnosable using symptoms like these. But if you only recognize some of these symptoms, then that may be because there are three types of parental alienation, which vary in severity: Mild: The child resists seeing the targeted parent at first but then enjoys time together once they’re left alone. Moderate: The child generally resents the targeted parent almost all the time. Severe: The child avoids speaking or visiting the targeted parent at all costs. Younger children may hide when it’s time to see the other parent.   The Key Differences Parental alienation is the umbrella term that refers to the act of one parent attempting to alienate the child from the other parent without just cause.  Parental alienation syndrome is a diagnosable condition characterized by specific syndromes. While the child doesn’t have to display all of the symptoms (because the level of alienation may vary), more than half is usually a good indicator of an active syndrome.  Take depression as an example to tell the difference between the two: “Depression” is the term that describes what the disorder is and what it does, but “depressive disorder” is the condition a person experiences due to the predetermined set of characterized symptoms.  Contact Hickey & Hull If anything in this article sounds familiar, you might be the targeted parent of parental alienation. While this phenomenon is not uncommon, it can be hard to reverse once immense emotional and mental damage is done. The good news is that Hickey & Hull can help you today: Call us today or fill out our online form, and we’ll get started. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

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In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Little Rock:
124 W. Capitol Avenue Suite 870
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Russellville: 

127 East 3rd Street
Russellville, Arkansas 72801

Phone: (479) ‍434-‍2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-‍2415



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In Northwest Arkansas:
409 W. Poplar Street
Rogers, AR 72756
Phone: (479) ‍802-6560
Fax: (479) ‍802-6561

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