When an attorney talks about winning custody in the context of a family law case he or she could be referencing a number of different subjects related to this topic. Today in our blog post we're going to talk about a number of different subjects related to winning a child custody case. All of those subjects are going to fall under the general heading of in what ways parental alienation can impact in harm your efforts to become the primary conservator of your child. This is a very serious subject that impacts not only your relationship with your kids but also your relationship with your co-parent.
I think the tendency in many family law cases is for the two parents to attempt to win favor not only with the court but with their children. One of the ways that parents attempt to win favor with their children Is too tear down the other parent bye trying to alienate their children from their co-parent. Even if a co-parent is successful in alienating the kids from the other parent, the long-term impacts of that behavior can be harmful both too a parent child relationship and the parent-parent relationship
What is parental alienation?
I realized that the topic of parental alienation may not be one that many of you are familiar with. I know that our law office has written blogs on this subject before but if I were to guess the total number of parental alienation blogs would pale in comparison to the number of child custody or divorce blogs. Parental alienation is a subject that comes up both in divorce cases and child custody cases. It can be a topic that is right at the surface of a case, simmering to the top or it can be an issue that has been a problem for your family over the course of many years but does not get the attention That other matters related to your family do.
Whatever its place within the context of your family parental alienation takes up it is a subject that merits mentioning in my opinion. The reason I believe this is because no matter if it has been an issue in your lives thus far it can become a problem to you and your family during the course of a child custody or divorce case. When the stakes are high, as they often are in child custody and divorce cases, you shouldn't be surprised to find out that parents are willing to go to extreme measures in order to accomplish whatever goals they have for themselves in that case.
Therefore, if you and your opposing parent are both attempting to be named primary conservator of your child, either in a divorce or a child custody case, then parental alienation May either continue to be an issue in your case or may begin to be an issue as your case begins. With all of that said I wanted to do my best to define the term as to what parental alienation means and what impact it can have on your case.
In the simplest terms I can think of, parental alienation Involves a situation where your opposing parent attempts to win favor with your children by doing their best 2 harm your relationship to your kids. Typically speaking, this is done verbally bye gestures that are relatively small in nature. For example, an opposing parent could speak poorly about you in front of the kids when you are not around. I don't care what sort of relationship you have with your kids; a young child's mind can only withstand so much negative talk about a parent before he or she starts to believe that negative talk.
For this reason, many final decrees of divorce for final orders in child custody cases will demand that parents not speak about the other parent or their family when the children are with him or her. Courts have observed and understand that parental alienation occurs frequently in families and it can severely harm the relationship between separated families in significant ways. If you go through any court orders you have you may be surprised to find that such a provision exists in your own orders.
Additionally, parental alienation can occur in more subtle ways. For example, if your ex-spouse has a tendency to arrive a few minutes late to pick up the kids for weekend visitation due to a long distance drive he or she has to make in order to be there for the children A comment from you that their other parent must not care too much about your children due to their constant tardiness could be interpreted as parental alienation. Little comments like this, told to your kids just at the right time in the right circumstances could lead to alienation and a disruption to that parent child relationship
The tricky thing about parental alienation is that it can occur very easily even if we are not aware that we are engaging in that kind of behavior. Depending on the circumstances of your case it would be relatively easy for you to say things about your coparent which you do not necessarily mean. Or, you may think certain things about your co-parent and then on occasion let your true feelings show. It is not always appropriate for you to share your thoughts and emotions with your children in regard to your ex-spouse. Doing so may leave your children with questions about the nature of your relationship with him or her. Remember that children are not mentally or emotionally capable of processing information like an adult would be able to. Therefore, you should be considerate of your co-parent in deciding what to speak to your children about in regard to your relationship with him or her.
How is it that parental alienation can make is it difficult for you to in primary custody of your children?
Now that we have established what parental alienation is and how it may impact the relationship that you share with your children, we can get into the subject of our blog post today. Namely, what is it about parental alienation that can make your goal of winning primary custody of your kids a difficult one to achieve? There are many circumstances that play into whether or not you will be able to become primary conservator hope your children within a family law case. What is so special about parental alienation That I can have a big impact on the outcome of your case?
Well, as we have already seen parental alienation is one of those issues within a family law case that can occur subtly In without anyone noticing the extent of the problem. You can think of parental alienation like an invisible gas that sifts through your home. Nobody can see it and it is only detectable in most circumstances if you are attuned to what your children say and what you experience with them. Otherwise, the fact that you and your opposing parent do not live together does provide for ample opportunity for alienating behavior to occur.
Let's take a circumstance where you are a father who is attempting to modify your final degree of divorce so that you would become the primary conservator of your son. This is a goal that you have had for yourself since the end of your divorce and you believe that you are in a position to be able to request this modification. After successfully filing your modification lawsuit you began noticing that your son Was not as excited to see you achieved hesitant to engage with you when you all were together. Understandably, you became concerned it began to wonder what was going on.
Remember that the basis of a child custody case is to do what is in the best interest of your child. By alienating your child from you, his or her other parent can Big into poke holes in your theory that your child is better suited to live with you a full-time basis. Many times, especially with older children, a parent will file a motion with the judge requesting that their child meet with the judge to discuss their preference as to where he or she will be living full time after the conclusion of the child custody case.
It is true that the judge will look to more than just the opinion of the child when determining the issue of primary custody within a divorce or child custody case. There are many factors that are important in this sort of case. However, the preference of an older child does weigh in 2 the decision-making process of a judge. You should be mindful of this and should attempt to address any instances of parental alienation that you come across immediately rather than let them fester and become more significant.
How can you work on eliminating any sort of alienating behavior from your daily life?
The trouble with engaging in parental alienation is that once he starts to do it can be a hard habit to break. You may find yourself making comments about your opposing parent without your even realizing it. If it has become second nature to you to criticize , second guess and belittle your co-parent in front of your children Then you need to become aware of the things that you say and become more intentional about the words that you choose to use.
Once you make a decision to choose your words carefully then you will have done most of the work that you need to as far as eliminating alienating behavior show me your day life. From my experience, if one parent begins to engage in alienating conversation or behavior then the other parent is likely to do so as well. For the most part, parents want their Co parent to treat then fairly and to allow their children to have a relationship that is equally strong with both parents. Once one of you decides to violate that trust anything goes as far as feature alienating behavior is concerned.
One other thing that I would point out is that if you feel the need to constantly belittle, critique or second guess the actions of your co-parent then you may have a problem where you should talk to a professional about it. It is not appropriate for you to in essence have many counseling sessions where your children act as a counselor for you. If you are having trouble dealing with your family law case any problems that you have experienced associated with it then there are many persons available in our area to talk to you about those problems. Not only are these folks better suited to talk with about your problems than your children are, but these professionals can also help you achieve goals and think of solutions to helping you avoid alienating behavior in the future.
Overall, I can tell you that even if parental alienation is not a topic that is discussed much in the world of family law it is still a very important subject for you to be aware of. Once you and your Co parent begin to engage in this kind of behavior it can be difficult to identify and difficult to stop. Parental alienation could harm both of you in the future if you ever attempt to come back to court and attempt to win Primary custody of your children. It is best to never engage in the behavior in the first place so that you and your family can live well together even if you are living separately.
Questions about the material content in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone and via video we hope that the information shared with you today in this blog post has been helpful and we look forward to sharing additional tidbits regarding family law in Texas and blog posts to come.