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What is Parental Alienation?  

Posted on in Family Law

Houston Child Custody LawyerAny divorced or unmarried parents in a co-parenting relationship can tell you how difficult co-parenting can be. Unfortunately, some parents use their children to get back at their ex. In extreme cases, this may escalate into parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when a parent tries to turn a child against the other parent. For example, the parent may tell the child that the other parent does not love or care about him or her, withhold parenting time, or intentionally violate the custody agreement.

Parents May Try to Manipulate a Child to Gain an Advantage in a Child Custody Case

Parental alienation is most commonly seen in contentious child custody or divorce cases. Essentially, a parent tries to alienate the child from the other parent by damaging the parent-child relationship. The parent may say disparaging things about the other parent, punish the child for having feelings of love or admiration for the other parent, or force the child to take sides in an adult dispute. Parents engaged in parental alienation may also intentionally sabotage the other parent's parenting time by scheduling extracurricular activities or play dates during the other parent’s parenting time.

As you can imagine, parental alienation is extremely harmful to children. Most child experts consider parental alienation to be a form of emotional and psychological abuse. While it is understandable that there can be feelings of resentment between parents who used to be in a relationship, parental alienation is unacceptable and judges do not look favorably upon parents who sabotage their child's relationship with the other parent.

Parental Alienation Can Influence the Court’s Decision

In Texas, every child-related legal dispute is based on one main concern: the child's best interest. Texas judges want to ensure that children are placed in a safe, loving environment. If a parent intentionally damages the other parent's relationship with the child, this can weigh heavily on the court's decision regarding custody or parenting time matters. Unfortunately, proving that a parent has intentionally alienated the other parent can be extremely difficult. Situations like these often become he-said, she-said scenarios.

Evidence of parental alienation may include text messages, voicemails, or testimony from witnesses. If you are going through a situation where your child's other parent is alienating you, contact a skilled child custody attorney right away. Your attorney can help you gather evidence and build a compelling argument.

Contact our Houston Child Custody Lawyer for Help

Child custody decisions should be based on what is best for the child. If your child's other parent is trying to pit your child against you or refuses to follow the parenting agreement, contact our Fort Bend family law attorneys for help. Call The Foray Firm at 832-919-6400 for a private consultation.




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