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Signs To Watch for In Your Children After A Divorce

When it comes to the subject of children in divorce cases I have heard people say wildly different things about how kids fare after a divorce. I’ve either heard that children are incredibly resilient in the divorce did not faze them whatsoever or I have heard experiences about children suffering because of the breakup of a marriage. The reality of the situation is that it is probably different for every family in terms of how well the kids do or do not adapt to life after a divorce. Think for a moment about all the factors that went into your divorce. All those factors are more will likely play a role in determining how well your kids do after a divorce.

The difficult part about this topic is that there is only so much you can do to ease this transition period for your children. Like anything else in life, different children adapt to change in different ways. Whereas some children will struggle in adapting to a new school other children make friends and social connections with ease. This can have as much to do with the personality of your children as it does about your ability to parent them. While in many ways it would be nice to be able to determine how your children adapt to life after divorce the reality is that the age and maturity level of your kids have as much to do with this. That anything else. For that reason, there’s only so much you can do.

In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share with you my thoughts on what signs you can watch for in your children to determine how they are adapting to life after a divorce. Without question, there will be some degree of change that they will experience in their lives both in the short and long term. However, that does not mean that you cannot play a role in helping them identify areas of their life that may need some love and care that only a parent can provide. With that said, here are some of my thoughts on what you can look for in terms of being able to identify problems and how you can help your child solve some of these issues.

Are your children acting strangely toward you?

Parental alienation is a major issue in divorce and child custody cases. Even though it plays a prominent role both during family cases and after family cases new parents are coached up on how to identify the warning signs of parental alienation and even if your parents know how to handle issues related to parental alienation once they arise. Before we go any further in today’s blog post I want to share with you what my definition of parental alienation is as well as how you can equip your family to avoid the worst of these side effects of parental alienation in your life.

parental alienation occurs when One parent uses their position to negatively influence the children towards their Co-parent. This can occur by coherently using their words, actions, and position of influence cause your child to feel badly towards one of their parents. In case this was not clear enough let’s walk through what parental alienation could look like on a practical level. Suppose that immediately after your divorce your child would come home from seeing her father and always have an attitude with you. Initially, you may have chalked this up to typical teenage angst but after a while, you may have become suspicious that it was something more.

The reason why you may have thought that it was something more was that your child would be fine with you during the week and on weekends with you. However, their attitude would change as soon as she stepped out of the house and began spending time with your ex-husband. When she would come home and display a negative attitude towards you it immediately got your attention, but you did not think it was anything two out of the ordinary. It was hard to distinguish between her behavior in these regards and her behavior just in her normal daily life.

It can be difficult to figure out what exactly is happening with your children especially when they are young. Younger children do not communicate all that well. On the flip side, while younger children do not communicate all that well they are also harder to influence because they simply do not understand much of what we talked to them about anyways. For this reason, very young children, children who have not yet reached school age, are difficult to manipulate or influence negatively. Parental alienation tends not to be as important a subject for children of this age.

As children get older, however, the issues that they face with parental alienation increase. Younger school-aged children can be subtly influenced by parents in ways that the children will likely never be able to pick up on. Mentioning you in a negative light or criticizing something seemingly benign about your nature can be enough to cause your child to think about you in a whole new light. The simple act of not disciplining you can be enough to cause your children to take solace in the parent who is more fun and less Chrome to discipline.

Teenage and older children can be the easiest group to manipulate and may be most susceptible to parental alienation tactics. Think about it in terms of how your child can’t get upset with you at this age for little to no reason at all. Teenage children naturally try to establish some degree of autonomy and assert themselves as individuals. As a result, they are prime targets to be manipulated spying on adults. It is an abuse of trust and authority for a parent to engage in alienating behavior. Unfortunately, all too often we see after divorce cases parents attempting to gain the upper hand through alienation.

If you were named as the primary conservator of your child in a divorce case, then your Co-parent may be upset and attempt to alienate your child to win primary conservatorship Down the line in a modification case. Many parents of older children understand that if they try to modify a custody order that judges must consider the testimony of a child over the age of 12 asked to whom they believe would be better suited to act as primary conservator. That doesn’t mean that the testimony of your child will be the sole determining factor in this, but it can certainly play a significant role depending upon the circumstances of your case and the judge in question. Therefore, your spouse may believe that he or she has an inside track to modifying conservatorships if a material and substantial change in circumstances can be proven.

They would argue that certainly, a strong desire of your son or daughter to live with your ex-spouse full time would be a significant enough change in circumstances to merit consideration of a modification. In that case, it will be up to you to prove that parental alienation had been occurring and to provide proof as much as possible about the behavior that your Co-parent had been engaging in.

It can also mean discussing with your Co-parent once you identify that alienating behavior is occurring. You should request an opportunity to speak to him or her in person about the behavior. There is no doubt that this conversation will be awkward, but you must walk through the issues associated with your case. Without being able to engage in conversations like this it will be difficult for you and your family to move past these issues. 

Bear in mind that it can be difficult to enforce a divorce decree on grounds of parental alienation. First, there may not be anything in your final decree of divorce that specifically talks about parental alienation or even behavior that mirrors alienation. Even if your divorce decree does mention a prohibition against language or behavior like this it can be difficult to provide evidence to be able to show a judge that this behavior has occurred. This may be a matter of taking circumstances into your own hands and being direct with your Co-parent. 

Depending upon the age of your child you may need to talk with him or her about the circumstances. Without a doubt, you will have to be able to have an honest discussion with your co-parent but at the same time does not alienate your child further by badmouthing that parent to your child. This is a fine line for you to have to walk but if you can manage it you can avoid the worst of the side effects associated with parental alienation. Your relationship with your child may hang in the balance so be sure to keep an eye on this type of behavior after your divorce or child custody case.

How is your child doing in school?

This is one of the most significant factors at play when it comes to how to identify if your child is adapting well after a