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Understanding Parental Alienation in Florida


Parental alienation is a form of psychological manipulation whereby a child is “turned against” one of their parents. Put another way, it is a type of emotional abuse. In the worst cases, parental alienation has the potential to cause serious disruption to a family, damaging or even destroying relationships. Unfortunately, following a divorce or separation, one parent may try to alienate their child from the other parent.

If you were the victim of parental alienation, you have legal protections and legal options. In fact, evidence of parental alienation may even be sufficient to seek a modification of a child custody order or child visitation order. Here, our Tampa, FL child custody attorneys provide an overview of the parental alienation laws in Florida.

 What You Need to Know About Parental Alienation

 Parental alienation can come in a wide array of different forms. In many cases, it is insidious and it occurs gradually over months or even years. In the most straightforward terms, parental alienation involves disruption between the relationship of a parent and their child. Some specific examples of conduct that could rise to the level of parental alienation in Florida include:

  • Disrespectful, disparaging, or otherwise negative comments made to a child about the other parent;
  • Failure to follow the terms of the parenting plan or custody agreement;
  • Interrupting or preventing parent-child bonding;
  • Forcing the child to act as a ‘messenger’ and putting them in the middle of a dispute;
  • Making a child feel uncomfortable or guilty for spending time or having a relationship with the other parent; and
  • Making false claims of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment against the other parent.

 Parental Alienation Could Justify a Custody/Visitation Modification

 Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.13 (2)(a)), courts have the authority to modify child custody orders, agreements, or shared parenting plans if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Courts have the authority to take action to protect parents who were the victims of alienation. In many cases, Florida family law judges have ruled that parental alienation is a sufficient change to justify such a modification of a previous court order or court-approved agreement.

If you believe that you are the victim of parental alienation, you should reach out to an experienced Tampa, FL child custody attorney immediately. Your attorney will be able to review the specific nature of your case. Parental alienation needs to stop. You may be able to take legal action to protect your parental rights and your relationship with your child. Depending on the circumstances, you may even be entitled to modify a child custody order or a joint parenting agreement.

 Contact Our Tampa, FL Child Custody Lawyers Today

At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Tampa child custody attorneys have extensive experience handling the full range of parental alienation cases.  To find out more about what our legal team can do for you, please contact us today for a confidential initial consultation. With a law office in Tampa, we represent parents throughout Hillsborough County, including in Brandon, Gibsonton, Keystone, Northdale, and Thonotosassa.

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Bubley & Bubley, P.A. is located in Tampa, FL and serves clients in and around Brandon, Odessa, Tampa, Oldsmar, Land O Lakes, Thonotosassa, Valrico, Wesley Chapel, Lutz, St Petersburg, Plant City & Brooksville, Safety Harbor, Holiday, Trilby, Crystal Beach, Ozona, Apollo Beach, New Port Richey, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Port Richey, San Antonio, Spring Hill, Lithia, Pasco County and Pinellas County.

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