Frank J. Prainito


Parental Alienation in California: What Can I Do?

child subjected to parental alienationParental alienation has the potential of damaging children any time one parent communicates in a derogatory way about the other parent in a manner that affects the involved child or children emotionally, psychologically or even physically.” If you believe that your children are being subjected to psychological abuse, it is best to consult an attorney that has expertise in child custody legal issues.

Law Enforcement

At times, it is best not to get the police involved in cases of parental alienation and to attempt to come to an agreement without the need to involve the authorities. However, in circumstances where one parent is not looking out for the best interests of the children, the targeted parent may need to contact the authorities. Whether said psychological abuse is administered in the presence or in one-to-one time spent with the child or children, the targeted parent may need to involve law enforcement. Sometimes, an experienced and skilled juvenile detective may be able to look out for parental alienating behaviors in order to minimize its trauma on the affected children. In some circumstances, child custody exchanges should occur at a local law enforcement station.

Children’s Services Agencies

Depending on the particular facts and circumstances of child custody issues, a parent may need to involve Child Protective Services. Not only does it document the instances of psychological, emotional, or physical abuse, it is a critical step in ensuring that the children are harbored from abuse. It is best to communicate in detail what exactly is happening. A parent that legitimately suspects abuse should not be afraid to reveal and explain the concerns. It may be a process that takes time, but continued contact with the staff of these agencies is critical to protecting your child or children. Reporting your concerns lets the other parent know that you are willing to protect your child or children using all available resources.

Recording Digital and Telephone Conversations

“It is a crime in California to intercept or eavesdrop upon any confidential communication, including a telephone call or wire communication, without the consent of all parties” (Cal. Penal Code §§ 631, 632).[4] It is best to consult a family law attorney when considering whether or not to record a telephone conversation. In some circumstances, a client may be advised to do so in order to protect the involved child or children when the alienating behavior is alleged extreme.

During a telephone conversation, an alienating parent may encourage or threaten a child to disrespect or disobey the other parent. Children may be instructed to ask certain questions or tell the targeted parent-specific things. Whether these exchanges take place in person, via phone, FaceTime, Skype, or in another digital form it may be necessary to obtain an order to allow for the recording of such exchanges. If you obtain a restraining order against the other party, make it clear in the order that any and all communications are subject to recording.

It May Take a Village

It is extremely important not to be shy about asking for declarations from as many supportive individuals and professionals as possible. Either side can pay  an “expert witness” to say whatever he or she wants in an attempt to prove alienating behavior, however, it is impossible to pay witnesses who are respectable parents themselves and who actively care for the health and welfare of your children on a regular basis. These types of witnesses may need to be subpoenaed.

The Truth About Parental Alienation

A significant number of alienating parents are liars. They are willing to lie to their children, the courts, their attorneys, schools, and whoever may listen in order to keep their children from trusting or loving the other parent. Alienated parents should seek legal assistance to protect themselves from the ongoing lies. The truth is in the best interest of the child or children. It is important to be honest when children begin asking questions or making accusations. A parent should provide an age-appropriate answer.

Alienated parents are generally looking to the children’s best interests and often view both parties’ involvement in the child or children’s lives as important. If you suspect your child or children are being subjected to parental alienation, there are several things you can do. Contact the certified family law experts at Hoover Krepelka for legal advice concerning the particular facts and circumstances of your family law issue.

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James Hoover Selected by NADC as Nation’s ‘Top One Percent!’

Congratulations to James Hoover for being selected by The National Association of Distinguished Counsel as the Nation’s “Top One Percent” of attorneys!

NADC is an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence. Its mission is to objectively recognize the attorneys who elevate the standards of the Bar and provide a benchmark for other lawyers to emulate.

Members are thoroughly vetted by a research team, selected by a blue-ribbon panel of attorneys with podium status from independently neutral organizations, and approved by a judicial review board as exhibiting virtue in the practice of law. Due to the incredible selectivity of the appointment process, only the top one percent of attorneys in the United States are awarded membership in NADC. This elite class of advocates consists of the finest leaders of the legal profession from across the nation.

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Hoover Krepelka Testimonial: Confidential Client

Words cannot express

I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Hoover Krepelka, LLP Team. Especially to James and Karla. My situation was unusual. I recently retired after serving more than three decades in the Navy. Six months after retiring I was served with papers from a person that claimed to be my estranged wife. This person had been stocking me on my professional social media site during my time in the Navy and managed to locate my new employer where I was served. I was shocked that someone I have never met or spoke with could actually claim she was my spouse and seek compensation. What I learned is that anyone can sue anyone for any reason. So – I needed to hire a lawyer to defend myself. I don’t live in California, so I did a bit of online research to try and find a good CA law firm. I contacted Hoover Krepelka, and it was my lucky day. James happened to overhear me speaking to the person who answered my call. That’s when James decided to personally get involved in my case. A couple of days later James and I spoke on the phone so I could explain my situation to him. At the end of the conversation, he assured me that everything would be ok – then he said, “thank you for your service to our country, and if you don’t mind I would like to handle this cause for you pro bono.” His offer caught me off guard. After composing myself, I humbly accepted his gracious offer. James then assigned Karla (who was absolutely wonderful) to my case and followed the procedures every step of the way. In the end everything turned out just as James assured me. It does my heart good, knowing that good and decent people like James and his team live in our great country. I would recommend James and entire Hoover Krepelka law firm to anyone 100X over.

Thank you James and Karla.

God Bless

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Hoover Krepelka Testimonial: Louise C.

“Extremely professional and no-nonsense firm. Julia and Travis worked with me to set goals and expectations and were very clear about how to do this as cost-effectively as possible. This is never a nice life moment to go through but they made it much more bearable and were very supportive. Highly recommend this team and the company.”

– Louise C.

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Will I receive spousal support?

The purpose of spousal support is to maintain a standard of living that is near that which was established during the marriage. Temporary orders are often put in place during the separation and divorce process, while ongoing orders would accompany the final divorce decree.

Many people believe California law creates an absolute right to spousal support. However, far from being an entitlement or simple calculation, spousal support is based on a set of 14 factors with the court having wide discretion over their interpretation of these factors. These factors include:

  • The extent to which each of the parties themselves is capable of contributing to the established standard of living.
  • The extent to which the lesser earning spouse supported the higher earner while they were establishing themselves and their earning capacities.
  • The supporting spouse’s ability to pay, as determined by the current situation, not past or future earnings or potential earnings.
  • The needs of each of the parties with respect to the established standard of living.
  • The parties assets and debts, including those that are not mingled within the marriage.
  • How long the marriage lasted. Generally speaking, the longer a spouse may have been out of the workforce the more likely the need for spousal support.  
  • Impact on dependent children for the supported to attain worthwhile employment.  
  • Age and health of each of the parties. This factor may also come into play as to the duration of the support order.
  • History of domestic violence between the parties.
  • Tax implications.
  • The balance of hardships between the parties, their needs and obligations, and the impact of the support order itself.
  • The goal that the supporting spouse will become self-sufficient within a reasonable amount of time.
  • The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse.
  • Any other factor the court determines to be relevant.

In addition to the above factors, it should be noted that it is a stated goal of California that each of the parties makes a good faith effort to become self-sufficient.

If you would like to learn more about your individual situation, or to schedule a free consultation contact the offices of Hoover Krepelka Family Law Attorneys at (408) 389-7099 to speak to one of our skilled professionals today.

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