It is normal to feel angry after a divorce, but you should not let this anger affect your child’s relationship with their other parent. Some custodial parents wrongfully act on this resentment and will, through deceit, encourage the child to refuse to visit or speak to the non-custodial parent. This is sometimes known as parental alienation, and it violates a non-custodial parent’s legal rights.
Non-custodial parents have rights under Tennessee law
Tennessee law recognizes that children benefit from having quality time with the noncustodial parent. Generally, noncustodial parents are granted visitation time with the child. For example, the non-custodial parent may have the child in every other weekend and certain holidays.
Non-custodial parents also have specific rights regarding the child. They have the right talk to the child on the phone outside of visitation periods. They have the right to send letters and mail to their child, which only the child can open.
Custodial parents cannot talk negatively about the non-custodial parent in the child’s presence. Also, if the custodial parent wants to take the child out of Tennessee for more than two days, they must give information about the trip to the non-custodial parent.
Parental alienation violates a non-custodial parent’s rights
Parental alienation violates a non-custodial parent’s legal rights. Parental alienation occurs when a parent negatively influences the child’s opinion about the other parent with the goal of making the child refuse to spend time with the other parent. The custodial parent may feed the child false information about their other parent in an attempt to sway the child’s opinions and relationship with each parent.
For example, the custodial parent may try to convince the child that the non-custodial parent hates them or was the reason for the divorce when this is not true. They may encourage the child to refuse to spend time with the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent may even move away with the child in violation of the parenting plan or punish the child for trying to contact the non-custodial parent.
If a non-custodial parent believes the custodial parent is violating their rights to the child through parental alienation, they may want to discuss their situation with their family law attorney so they can take the appropriate steps to regain access to their child.