What Is Parental Alienation and How Does It Affect Child Custody?

When involved in a lawsuit, you hear a lot of legal language, and during custody battles, “parental alienation” is a term you may hear. Parental alienation is a parent’s influence to prevent the child from having a close relationship with the other parent, either physically or emotionally.

Based on the Texas Family Code, courts encourage both parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their children — in most cases. When awarding custody to a particular parent, courts also consider whether the parent receiving primary custody will encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. The exceptions to this guideline of sharing are when a parent could be a danger to the child’s well being because of domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, or drug or alcohol addiction.

Parental alienation generally occurs over a period of time and is not usually based on single events. Parental alienation comes about through gradual influence. Examples of behavior that courts view as parental alienation include:

 

  • Attempts to prevent or keep children from visitation with the other parent
  • Sharing a lot of information with the children about why the other parent is bad
  • Pressuring the child to choose them over the other parent
  • Encouraging children to focus on the other parent’s flaws
  • Telling children how the other parent isn’t interested in them or doesn’t love them
  • Irrationally exhibiting fear of the other parent or not trusting the other parent

If you are involved in a divorce and have concerns about parental alienation, you should discuss it with your lawyer. We are happy to answer your questions and explain how the law applies to your case.
Channa E. Borman is an experienced divorce and family law attorney. C.E. Borman & Associates, represents clients in Bryan, College Station and other nearby Texas communities.

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