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How Parental Alienation Can Affect Child Custody Disputes

Posted on in Child Custody

TX custody lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they will need to address multiple concerns related to their children, including how they will share in making decisions about how their children will be raised and when children will live with each parent. While parents will often disagree about how to handle these matters, they may be able to work together to resolve their differences and reach agreements on how to meet their children’s needs. However, some contentious divorce cases can involve complex child custody disputes, requiring parents to take legal action to protect their rights and their children’s best interests. Parental alienation is one issue that may play a major role in these disputes, and a parent will need to understand how to respond in these situations.

What Is Parental Alienation?

It is common for divorcing parents to feel some negativity toward each other. However, it is also important for them to recognize that their children deserve to have positive relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, some parents try to harm their children’s relationships with the other parent. This may be done intentionally, such as by making negative comments about the other parent or blaming them for the divorce, and a parent may hope to have children take their side and ask that custody disputes be resolved in their favor. Parental alienation may also be more passive, such as when a parent reacts negatively when a child talks about enjoying their time with the other parent.

Parental alienation is not always easy to recognize. Children may already be feeling unhappy about their parents’ divorce, so negativity towards a parent or resistance to spending time with them may be attributed to emotional stress or difficulty adjusting to changes in their lives. However, a parent will want to watch out for the following signs that may indicate that the other parent is attempting to alienate their child against them:

  • They receive constant, unfair criticism from the child, and the child cannot provide reasoning or evidence for these attitudes.
  • The child uses adult language heard from the other parent when relating their negative feelings, or they refer to incidents that did not happen or situations where the child was not present.
  • The child does not seem to have any mixed feelings or guilt about their negative attitudes toward one parent, and they are always positive in their feelings about the other parent.
  • In addition to negativity toward one parent, the child also acts this way about that parent’s extended family members, even if they had previously had positive relationships with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins.

Since parental alienation is considered to be a form of child abuse, it should be addressed quickly. A parent may need to present evidence in court of alienation by the other parent, and if necessary, a guardian ad litem or child custody evaluator may be appointed to investigate the case and offer recommendations on how to address the situation.

Contact Our Austin, TX Child Custody Attorneys

If you are concerned about parental alienation during your divorce, the attorneys of Powers and Kerr, LLC can provide you with legal representation and help you protect your parental rights. To learn how we can help you handle this situation and ensure that you can maintain a good relationship with your children, contact our Austin high conflict divorce lawyers by calling 512-610-6199.






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