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Dealing with parental alienation in divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | Divorce |

When a parent decides to divorce rather than stay in an unhappy marriage, the decision will likely have a significant impact his or her children’s lives. However, such a parent also might reasonably expect that, with love and support, the children will be OK and able to adapt to a new lifestyle. Divorce is never easy, but certain issues can make it especially stressful, such as having to deal with an ex who trying to alienate children from their other parent. 

Both parents must adhere to a child custody order 

When the court issues a child custody order, it is not a suggestion or recommendation. Both parents must fully adhere to its terms, unless and until the court modifies the order. If one parent disregards a custody order and is systematically trying to turn his or her kids against their other parent by telling them lies, refusing to transfer custody and other schemes, children are at risk for believing the parent in question and becoming alienated from the other parent. This is often referred to as parental alienation syndrome.  

Signs that suggest parental alienation is occurring 

Especially if the children in question have always had a healthy and active relationship with both parents, suddenly turning against one parent after divorce is cause for concern. If they are speaking negatively about one parent and repeating things that sound as though an adult has said them, a parent who suspects alienation may want to bring the matter to the court’s attention. Children refusing to get out of the car when it is time to transfer custody or showing signs of contempt for extended family members on the alienated parent’s side of the family are other signs of parental alienation syndrome.  

Where can a parent seek support? 

A Texas parent can help children cope with divorce by building a strong network of support from the start. A child’s teachers, coaches, aunts, uncles, grandparents and close family friends can provide encouragement and can let a parent know if the child seems to be adapting well. When it involves legal matters, such as suspicion of a parental alienation scheme, it is always best to seek support from an experienced family law attorney, who can advocate on a parent’s behalf to seek the court’s intervention to resolve the issue.