In most custody disputes, even if the parents do not have an amicable relationship, they recognize the importance of their child maintaining a strong bond with each parent. In a large proportion of cases involving a child custody dispute, Texas courts will establish some sort of joint custody. However, in some situations, one parent will not appreciate the role his or her co-parent plays in a child’s life and will attempt to alienate the co-parent. Parental alienation hurts both the child and the parent suffering from the alienation. If you believe your co-parent is attempting to alienate you from your child, it is important to take action to protect your rights and prevent any further harm. The Dallas child custody lawyers of the McClure Law Group are well versed in the signs of parental alienation, and will aggressively advocate on your behalf to protect your relationship with your child.Parental Alienation Defined
Parental alienation is action taken by one parent to disparage and discredit his or her co-parent in the eyes of their child. A parent engaging in parental alienation tactics seeks to harm the co-parent by making the child believe the co-parent does not love the child or that the child would have a better life without the co-parent. Unless your child directly comments on the behavior of his or her other parent, it can be difficult to determine if your co-parent is engaging in alienation tactics. Some signs can signify attempts to alienate you, however, even if you do not have direct evidence. For example, if your co-parent refuses to comply with set drop-off and pick-up times, or refuses you access to the child altogether, they may be attempting to alienate you. Your co-parent may make your child feel guilty about wanting to spend time with you, or withhold information from you about the child’s education or health. He or she may also attempt to demean you by telling the child negative things about your relationship with the co-parent. If a child is young he or she may be confused by the negative comments your co-parent is making about you and may be unsure as to what is true. If a previously well-behaved child begins acting out, it may be a sign your co-parent has been making critical comments to the child regarding you.Battling Parental Alienation in the Texas Courts
It can be difficult to combat parental alienation tactics, as it is largely a question of your word against your co-parent’s. Unfortunately, parental alienation syndrome is not a recognized psychiatric disorder, and Texas does not have any laws regarding how to identify or address parental alienation. There are legal actions you can take, however, to prevent further damage to your relationship with your child if you believe your co-parent is engaging in parental alienation tactics, and a seasoned child custody lawyer can help you take these steps. First, if he or she refuses to comply with a set custody exchange schedule, or a court order regarding sharing of information regarding the child, you can seek enforcement of the custody order. Additionally, you can request an evaluation by a forensic psychologist to evaluate your child’s living home situation in the home of your co-parent and the mental health of both your co-parent and your child. If a forensic psychologist finds evidence of parental alienation, his or her findings can be helpful in seeking a modification of a custody order in any manner needed to rectify the harm. In some cases, if the court believes there is evidence of parental alienation, the court may assign a parental coordinator or facilitator to assist you in monitoring the behavior of your co-parent to see that he or she complies with court orders.Meet With an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in the Dallas Area
While generally parents have their child’s best interest in mind, unfortunately sometimes a parent’s effort to harm his or her co-parent will result in parental alienation, which ultimately harms the child. If you are suffering from parental alienation it is wise to consult with an attorney experienced in fighting the effects of parental alienation in the Texas courts. At the McClure Law Group, we are mindful of the difficulties of co-parenting with someone seeking to damage your bond with your child, and will work diligently in an effort to prevent further harm to your relationship with your child. We have a Collin County office in Plano (by appointment), and we frequently assist individuals in communities including Dallas, Garland, Fort Worth, Irving, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, and Rockwall, as well as other cities in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, Grayson, and Rockwall Counties. Contact us at 214.692.8200 or via our online form to set up a consultation.