Parental alienation in Texas can go so far as to affect the final custody verdict. Child custody cases are hard enough, but when one parent pits the child or children against the other parent, it can get even worse.
The courts act in the children’s best interest and generally agree that both parents should be involved in the child’s life. If one parent attempts to alienate the other, the court may see this as detrimental to the child and ultimately choose to place the child with the other parent.
Of course, there may be cases in which the court does not outwardly recognize that parental alienation is occurring, and the alienating parent may prevail. Understanding what alienation is and some of the signs of it may help parents fight back if an ex-spouse is trying to alienate them from the children.
What is parental alienation?
Known as Parental Alienation Syndrome, parental alienation involves attempting to ruin or negatively affect the child’s relationship with or opinion of the other parent.
If the parent vilifies and demeans the other parent while a child is near, it can cause that child to develop similar negative feelings against the other parent. Sometimes, the parent does this unintentionally, not meaning for the child to be exposed to this behavior. Other times, the parent may expose the child on purpose in an attempt to bring the child on his or her side, which he or she may see as helpful in a child custody case.
Parental alienation can put much strain on the parent-child relationship and cause emotional and social issues with the child. In fact, these effects can even last into the child’s adult years. “The long-term implications are pretty severe,” according to Amy Baker, author of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome, who spoke to U.S. News.
Signs of Parental Alienation
In order to combat parental alienation in Texas custody cases, you first must be able to recognize the signs that it is happening.
Parental alienation may be present if your child:
- is disrespectful or insulting towards you, especially in front of the other parent;
- destroys mail, gifts or other items you sent or gave to them;
- refuses to see you or have contact with you;
- imitates the other parent’s words and behaviors;
- talks about the other parent as if he or she is always right and always good;
- is negative toward your extended family;
- discusses situations that happened between you and your former spouse, in which the child was not directly involved; and
- makes inaccurate or exaggerated statements claiming abuse or neglect by you.
If you’re in the midst of a child custody case, inform your attorney if you begin to recognize these or other potential signs of parental alienation.
What can you do about parental alienation?
Because parental alienation in Texas can affect the outcome of a custody case, it’s important to act quickly if you begin to notice warning signs. Get in contact with a legal professional immediately — there are some steps you can take to fight back.
Specifically, your attorney may be able to:
- utilize testimony from mental health experts to assess and analyze the situation;
- seek custody modification to move your child to a neutral environment;
- enforce custody agreements that allow contact with your child, despite your child’s refusal to see you;
- ask the courts for therapeutic intervention to resolve the underlying issues; and
- seek the appointment of a parental coordinator.
Get Legal Help if You Suspect Parental Alienation in Texas
If you think your ex is fostering parental alienation, speak to a legal professional immediately to explore your options. Call (888) 584-9614 to speak to a Plano family law attorney at Warren & Migliaccio and learn more about the effects of parental alienation in Texas child custody cases.