Mark Ashton, a partner in our Exton, Pennsylvania office, and a contributor the firm’s Pennsylvania Family Law blog, wrote a thought provoking post on that blog entitled "Revenge of the Fourteen Year Olds" To read that post, click here.
In Mark’s thought provoking piece, he discusses an unusual trend he has seen of empowering a teenager so is in conflict with a parent during a divorce. Specifically, where a child states that they don’t want to see the non-custodial parent anymore.
The key in these cases, if possible, is to try to get to the genesis of the problem. Is this a situation where a teenager, who is understandably upset, is also using this to manipulate one or both parents to get what they want? Is it a situation where the custodial parent is upset and the child knows or perceives that the custodial parent will be upset if the child maintains a relationship with the other parent? Is the custodial parent bad mouthing the other parent to or in front of the child? Worse yet, is the custodial parent actively and intentionally alienating the child against the other parent (some of the prior things, while intentional and inappropriate acts, may be done without any improper motive) ?
In any event, the trend Mark describes is troubling and must be handled carefully, but with a focus on repairing the relationship, no matter what the genesis of the troubles.