Parental Alienation and Its Effect on Texas Families

Parental alienation, a distressing occurrence, unfolds when one parent manipulates their children to side against the other parent, eroding the parent-child relationship. During Texas divorces, this harmful behavior often emerges, raising concerns about its legal consequences and the welfare of the children involved. Given the prevalence of parental alienation, it’s crucial to grasp the effects of parental alienation on families and individuals alike.

Divorce causes strife and hardship in even the best situations. When one parent, or both parents, choose to engage in alienating behaviors then a bad situation goes to even worse very quickly. The child’s identity suffers as they cannot develop fully functional relationships with both parents. The alienated parent also experiences diminished parenting capacity due to their spouse’s behavior.

Finally, the alienator suffers as well, especially in the long run. Years after the alienating behavior occurs an older, more mature child will often come to realize that one parent was pitting them against their other parent. It is understandable that the child will not be happy and may draw away from the formerly antagonistic parent.

How to determine if Parental Alienation is occurring in your family

If you are a parent who has a good relationship with your child and all of sudden, almost overnight, that relationship begins to deteriorate then you may be the victim of parental alienation.

Signs of anger and disrespect from a child who previously would never have acted that way is a tell-tale sign that your spouse may be attempting to alienate your child from you.

What sort of behavior does an alienating parent utilize?

During divorce, an alienating parent may violate court rules. For instance, if your court orders grant you visitation on first, third, and fifth weekends, the alienating parent may criticize your visitation repeatedly in the week leading up to it.

This constant negativity exposes your child to a stream of criticisms about you and your time together. Consequently, the child may become reluctant to spend time with you.

One of the most extreme cases I can recall involves a former client of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Unfortunately, this client had to co-parent with an ex-spouse determined to obstruct their young son’s relationship with his father.

Each Friday, our client was consistently denied access to his son at the designated drop-off/pick-up spot, right before their scheduled weekend visitation. Without fail, our client was prevented from picking up his son at 6:00 p.m. It didn’t matter whether his ex-wife was 10 minutes or 50 minutes late; she was consistently late.

Another challenge our client faced in seeing his son was the frequent changes to doctor and dentist appointments made by the child’s mother without prior consultation with him.

Our client often took time off work to attend pre-scheduled doctor appointments, only to find out that the appointments had been changed the day before without any prior notification. Moreover, our client was denied access to his son’s medical records, daycare attendance charts, and the ability to pick up his son from daycare in case of emergencies. The child’s mother had listed her boyfriend and her own mother as the child’s emergency contacts.

Our client faced numerous challenges and had to make significant efforts to retrieve his child from daycare during family emergencies. He endured these circumstances for a year before deciding to take action.

What you can do in order to protect your rights as a parent from alienation attempts

When the other parent to your child is attempting to alienate your child from you and is doing to against the orders of a court, you have the option to file an enforcement suit against him or her.

This enforcement suit notifies the court of the specific violations of its orders that have been undertaken by the other parent and the dates that these violations have occurred.

The enforcement will seek damages for attorney’s fees, court costs and out of pocket expenses (if any) incurred due to the alienating behaviors of the other parent.

Finally, an enforcement action seeks to have the other parent held in contempt of court which carries penalties of as much as six months in jail. At the very least, a court can assess a dollar value against the alienating parent for each violation of its order.

In our story above about our former client, the opposing party would tell our client in no uncertain terms that she would violate the court’s order until a judge told her not to. Well, it took hiring our office and dragging his ex-wife to court but the judge sure enough did tell this mother to straighten up her act- and forced her to pay a hefty sum to our client for having committed those wrongs against him.


The detrimental effects of parental alienation on Texas families cannot be overstated. This insidious phenomenon, wherein one parent manipulates the children to undermine the relationship with the other parent, inflicts profound emotional and psychological harm on all involved. As explored in this article, parental alienation erodes trust, disrupts family dynamics, and fractures the bonds between parents and children. Its prevalence in Texas divorces underscores the urgent need for awareness, intervention, and legal recourse to protect the well-being of families and mitigate the lasting effects of this destructive behavior.

Moreover, addressing parental alienation requires a multifaceted approach involving legal, psychological, and therapeutic interventions. Educating parents, legal professionals, and mental health practitioners about the signs and consequences of parental alienation is paramount. Equipping families with the tools to recognize, address, and prevent alienating behaviors can foster healthier relationships and promote the best interests of the children. By raising awareness, providing support, and advocating for effective solutions, Texas families can work towards healing and rebuilding trust amidst the challenges posed by parental alienation.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC: Here to serve you and your family

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is thankful for this opportunity to go into some detail on the subject of parental alienation and share some of the experiences we’ve seen in past clients our office has represented.

If you have any questions after reading this post please feel free to contact our office in order to set up a consultation with one of our family law attorneys. These meetings are free of charge and allow you to ask as many questions as you would like.

From Baytown to Hempstead and all points in between, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC represents mothers, fathers, husbands and wives across southeast Texas. Please call today in order to learn more about our office and how we can serve you and your family.


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  1. Parental Alienation in Texas: What is it and What can it mean for your family?
  2. Texas Child Visitation Enforcement
  3. 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
  4. I Want a Texas Divorce but My Husband Doesn’t: What can I do?
  5. Am I Married? – Marital Status in Texas
  6. 6 Tips – On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
  7. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
  8. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  9. 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
  10. The benefits of not immediately introducing your children to your new love interest after divorce

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Tomball, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Tomball TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Tomball, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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