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What if My Spouse is Alienating My Children From Me? 

Posted on in Child Custody

austin child custody lawyerOne of the most unfortunate consequences of a Texas divorce is the tendency for parents to feel so hostile towards each other that they try to alienate their children from their other parent. In the worst cases, both parents actively try to develop a bias against each other. Other times only one parent is trying to undermine the parent-child relationship. 

Regardless of whether one or both parents are responsible for alienation, it can have a terrible impact on children and Texas family courts take this behavior seriously. If you are concerned that your relationship with your children is threatened because of your spouse’s actions, it is important to understand what behaviors are generally understood as alienating and what options you may have.

What is Parental Alienation? 

Although alienation can look many different ways, certain actions and behaviors may indicate that one parent is trying to cultivate distance or suspicion from a child towards their other parent. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Calling the other parent names or accusing them of bad behavior in front of the children

  • Sharing intimate and inappropriate details of the breakup or divorce with the children

  • Undermining time spent with the other parent by emphasizing how boring, unpleasant, or unhealthy the activities were during the child’s time at the other parent’s house

  • Encouraging friends or other family members to badmouth the other parent 

Signs of Parental Alienation in Children

The time following a divorce can be very difficult for children. It is not unusual for them to demonstrate behavioral issues, including ones that many parents find distasteful or difficult to manage. It is important to distinguish between maladaptive behaviors due to the stress of divorce and behaviors resulting from deliberate alienation. Some classic signs of true alienation include: 

  • Your child begins using phrases or language that seem scripted or strangely adult-like 

  • Your child knows inappropriate details about the divorce or your relationship with your former spouse

  • Your children become suddenly sullen, accusatory, or hostile, and lash out or refuse to speak to you about their feelings 

  • Your former spouse deliberately undermines your authority, such as by allowing or encouraging the children to do things you have told them not to do 

  • Your spouse will not communicate with you or work to cooperate on issues relating to the children 

Talk to an Austin, Texas Family Law Attorney

If your spouse is attempting to alienate you from your child, you may feel lonely, frustrated, and confused. At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, we have seen many parental alienation cases and we understand how distressing they can be. That is why our skilled Travis County child custody attorneys will fight aggressively for your right to have a relationship with your child and, if appropriate, we can petition for a modification of custody to try to increase the time you spend with your child. Call our offices today to schedule a confidential consultation and find out how we can help you. Contact us at 512-610-6199




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