Understanding Parental Alienation in LGBTQ+ Families
In the overlooked corners of family courtrooms, a silent struggle persists among LGBTQ+ families: parental alienation. Imagine a dedicated father burdened by separation, fighting fervently for his right to remain in his child’s life, only to encounter subtle manipulations and underhanded tactics by his ex-partner, aimed at fracturing the bonds between him and his child.
But the reality is this isn’t just a story; it’s a reality faced by numerous LGBTQ+ parents worldwide.
Statistics also paint a blunt yet stark picture. In Arkansas, the LGBTQ+ community comprises an estimated 95,000 individuals aged 13 and above. Here, parental alienation intertwines with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. With 3.3% of adults in same-sex couples, and an average age of around 42.9 years, LGBTQ+ families grapple with parenthood and legal and societal hurdles.
Signs of Parental Alienation in LGBTQ+ Families
- Denigration and Disparagement: One parent may consistently disparage or undermine the other parent’s role and relationship with the child. This is usually done through derogatory remarks, but is also not uncommon to hear false accusations related to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Interference with Communication: The alienating parent may restrict or monitor communication between the child and the targeted parent. Some people also weaponize their LGBTQ+ identity as a pretext to justify limitations or obstacles in visitation or contact.
- Manipulative Behavior: The alienating parent may engage in manipulative tactics to influence the child’s perceptions and feelings towards the targeted parent, portraying them as unfit or undesirable.
- Isolation and Exclusion: The alienating parent may attempt to isolate the child from their other parent, essentially instilling fear or shame regarding their relationship with the targeted parent and, possibly, their LGBTQ+ identity.
- False Allegations of Abuse: In extreme cases, the alienating parent may fabricate allegations of abuse or misconduct against the targeted parent in an attempt to discredit their role as a parent.
Challenges Specific to LGBTQ+ Families
There are a few challenges specific to LGBTQ+ families. For example, Arkansas’ history toward same-sex marriage has been a rocky one, with several overrulings on its legality and Constitutional rights.
Although same-sex marriage has been legal in Arkansas since 2015, LGBTQ+ parents may face social barriers or discrimination in asserting their parental rights.
Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ families may also encounter a lack of LGBTQ+-affirming resources and support services tailored to addressing parental alienation, exacerbating feelings of isolation and vulnerability.
1. Seek Support
Reach out to LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, support groups, and legal experts who specialize in LGBTQ+ family law, such as Hickey & Hull Law Partners, to access resources and guidance tailored to your situation.
2. Document Instances
Keep detailed records of instances of parental alienation, including communication restrictions, denigrating remarks, and interference with visitation or contact, to substantiate your case in legal proceedings.
3. Prioritize the Child’s Well-Being
Focus on promoting your child’s emotional and psychological well-being by fostering a supportive and inclusive environment that affirms their feelings about the situation. Always try your best to maintain a positive relationship with the other parent, even if you suspect alienation or discrimination is occurring.
Hickey & Hull Law Partners Can Help
Parental alienation in LGBTQ+ families presents nuanced challenges that demand awareness, advocacy, and support.
By recognizing the signs, navigating legal complexities, and prioritizing the child’s well-being, we can all work towards fostering healthier and more inclusive family dynamics that honor the diverse identities and relationships within LGBTQ+ families.
Chat, fill out our online form, or contact us today to get a free consultation. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.