Legal advice. We’ve all needed it at one point in our lives, and the complexity of family law often requires a professional to take the reigns.
The wonderful attorneys at Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb in Phoenix addressed some of the common questions they get asked for our readers in this new series of weekly articles.
Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb are proud sponsors of SmartFem
DeeAn Gillespie is the founder of Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb, and has been practicing law since 1985. She is a highly experienced attorney who specializes in family law. Some of the areas Gillespie is seasoned in include custody matters, adoptions, parental rights, and family law litigation.
For anyone, going through a divorce can be difficult and stressful, especially when there are children involved.
Having an attorney who can help make the process easier and less intimidating is where Gillespie comes in.
Sometimes during family matters children are stuck in the middle of their parents and have to make difficult decisions, and in some instances issues between parents can cause children to feel alienated.
Parental alienation is when one parent knowingly takes steps to prevent or damage a relationship between a child and the other parent.
Children see themselves as part of their dad and part of their mom, Gillespie said, and if the child is being told their father, for example, is bad then the child might view themselves as bad, too.
“It stifles the child’s development into a fully developed and emotionally mature adult,” Gillespie said.
There is also the possibility the child might grow to resent the parent who alienated the child from the other parent.
Luckily, there are steps a parent who feels they are the victim of alienation can do, and one step to take is to seek judicial intervention, Gillespie said.
Therapeutic interventionists can help asses a situation and determine if the alienation is based on issues other than the attempt to keep the child away from a potentially dangerous environment.
And in some cases formulating a positive custody arrangement can help prevent parental alienation.
“It’s very important to get it right the first time around,” Gillespie said. “If that doesn’t happen and the parent can demonstrate
there’s been a genuine change in circumstances, after a year they can go back and ask the court to readdress it.”
Since family law can be a delicate subject matter, Gillespie recommends individuals consult with an experienced attorney to get some guidance, and to consider mediation especially if one or both parties intend to represent themselves.
Gillespie also noted resources are available for people dealing with family matters, including self-help forms for those who choose to represent themselves.