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Can a Parent Lose Custody for Parental Alienation in Texas?

Posted By Wong Fleming in Family Law
Can a Parent Lose Custody for Parental Alienation in Texas?

Divorce is hard on children and parents alike. In the most severe cases of contentious divorce, parental alienation is a common sight. As one parent works methodically to turn their children against the other parent, the once-strong bond between parent and child dissolves and even turns into regret and disdain. As committed Sugar Land family law attorneys, the team at Wong Fleming understands how painful this can be for the alienated parent.

Even if you’re not currently dealing with parental alienation, it’s good to know the warning signs. If your coparent engages in these behaviors, there’s a chance that they will take steps to alienate your child from you. Warning signs include finding reasons to deny visits or custodial time, feeding negative information or opinions to your children, inappropriately involving the children in the divorce, making false claims of abuse, and digging for details of your personal life.

Our team in Sugar Land serves clients throughout the Houston area. With our in-depth understanding of Texas family law, we’re the right choice for your difficult custody issues. Let’s sit down and talk about your next steps. Give us a call at 281-340-2074 today.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation occurs when one parent intentionally and strategically ruins a child’s relationship with their other parent. This is often done with the goal of securing full custody and limiting the other parent’s access to the child. It can be quite difficult to prove—in some cases, when a parent limits a coparent’s access to a child, it is actually due to abuse or unsafe circumstances for the child. It can be very difficult for legal professionals to tell which cases are parental alienation and which cases are one parent protecting their child.

Proving Parental Alienation

If you believe your custody time or visitation rights are in jeopardy because of parental alienation on the part of your coparent, you must take action to protect yourself and the relationship you have with your child. The longer a parent engages in alienation, the more damaged the relationship between the child and the other parent becomes.

However, you also cannot just go into custody negotiations alleging parental alienation without any evidence. In some cases, actual negligent or abusive parents have claimed parental alienation to try to maintain their parenting time. You must be able to distinguish yourself from these parents.

Getting your child into therapy can be very helpful, not only for your child’s mental wellbeing but for proving parental alienation. Children are encouraged to talk freely and openly with therapists, and this means that the therapist may get insight into what the child thinks about each parent and what shapes those opinions.

You may also discuss a parent coordinator or facilitator with your attorney. They are third party professionals that try to help parents work through conflict and figure out coparenting disputes. Note, though, that this often does not work with a parent who engages in alienation—they have already shown that they are willing to work against their child’s best interests, and that’s not likely to change when you bring a third party in.

How Parental Alienation Can Affect Custody

Parental alienation can definitely have an impact on custody arrangements. The court frowns heavily on parents that alienate their child from the other parent, as this violates the child’s right to a stable relationship with both parents. Furthermore, this violates the other parent’s rights. 

Unfortunately, justice does not always prevail in these cases. Parents who carefully orchestrate parental alienation are often good at manipulating other people in the same way. If they are able to influence others’ opinion of their coparent, including therapists, teachers, and family members, they may actually strengthen their own case.

If a child is victimized by parental alienation, that doesn’t always mean an automatic custody switch. If the harmful messages are deeply ingrained within the child, suddenly living with that parent could be incredibly stressful with them. The court may want them to live with another safe family member while they gradually rebuild their relationship with you.

Get the Help You Need With Wong Fleming

We understand how painful it can be to watch your own child turn against you through no fault of your own. The sooner you connect with a family law attorney in Sugar Land, the sooner you can take action to preserve your relationship with your child. Set up a time to talk to our team now by calling us at 281-340-2074 or reaching out online.

About the Author:

Wong Fleming

Wong Fleming is a law firm located in Sugar Land, Texas dedicated to serving our clients in multiple areas of practice. We offer a wide range of services in immigration law, family law, divorce, estate planning, and probate law. Attorney Rehan Alimohammad is a Partner in the Sugar Land office in charge of immigration law and tax Law. Attorney Tariq Zafar is also a Partner in Wong Fleming's Sugar Land office with a practice concentration in corporate law, business transactions and structuring, family law, estate planning, probate, real estate, and business litigation. Mr. Zafar is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Houston Bar Association, and the Fort Bend Bar Association. Handling... View full business profile here: Wong Fleming

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