Are you involved in a child custody dispute in Texas? Do you believe the other parent is intentionally trying to turn your children against you? You may be dealing with a situation of parental alienation.
Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse in which one parent attempts to turn their child against the other parent. In Texas, parental alienation can be used as evidence in court to show that the other parent is an unfit guardian for the children.
However, proving parental alienation is often easier said than done. To help you navigate this complicated process and protect your time with your child, let’s explore how to prove parental alienation and what evidence is required to support your argument.
What Is Considered Parental Alienation in Texas?
Parental alienation is viewed in Texas as one parent engaging in a pattern of behavior that damages or has the potential to damage the relationship between the parent and the child.
This behavior, also known as “parental alienation syndrome,” can include badmouthing or criticizing the other parent, telling lies about them, interfering with their access to the child, and threatening to take away privileges if the child expresses affection for the other parent.
Spotting parental alienation can be difficult. Signs of parental alienation may include the following:
- The other parent uses the children to communicate their grievances.
- The children speak negatively about you, even if they were previously very close to you.
- The other parent becomes angry or aggressive when the child expresses love or affection for you.
- The other parent denies your access to the child or interferes with visitation rights.
When you believe the other parent is intentionally trying to turn your children against you, it’s essential to take note of their behavior. You will want to keep a record of any incidents that could be used as evidence in court.
Evidence Required to Prove Parental Alienation
When it comes to proving parental alienation during a child custody dispute, the evidence presented in court can make or break your case. Here are some of the pieces of potentially required evidence that could be used to prove parental alienation:
- Texts or emails between you and the other parent regarding access to the children.
- Witness statements from third-party observers regarding the other parent’s interactions with the children.
- Photos or videos of the other parent behaving inappropriately towards you or the children.
- Expert testimony from a psychologist or psychiatrist regarding the other parent’s behavior.
- Interviews with the child or children about their feelings toward both parents, particularly the alienated parent.
- Social media evidence, such as posts publically disparaging you, especially if the other spouse tags you and your children in the posts.
More general evidence can also be used to support your claim. For instance, if you can show that your child has stopped communicating with you or has taken on some of the other parent’s negative views about you, this can help to bolster your case. Various forms of evidence, such as text messages, may be used to support this.
Proving parental absence or neglect can also be used as evidence, especially if the other parent has refused to allow you access to the child.
Fighting Back Against Parental Alienation
It’s important to remember that you can fight back against the other parent if they are engaging in the type of behavior we outlined. The sooner you recognize and address parental alienation, the better your chances of winning a child custody dispute.
- If you have an active child custody case with the family courts, you can present the evidence you have collected as part of your defense.
- If you can prove that the other parent has been attempting to turn your children against you in violation of your existing court order, a judge may consider this evidence when making a custody determination.
Depending on the situation, a judge may limit or restrict their access to the children and award custody to you or alter the parenting plan. However, it’s important to remember that the court will always put the child’s best interests first.
Keep in mind that if the other parent can demonstrate they will provide a safe, stable home for the children, then the court may still award them custody. A child custody decision cannot be used to punish a parent for parental alienation; the main goal is to ensure the child’s best interests are met.
If you don’t yet have an active child custody case in court and believe that the other parent is attempting to alienate your children, you’ll need to file a petition with the court before you can present your evidence. Depending on the circumstances, this may involve a motion to modify an existing child custody order or a new petition for child custody.
How to Prove Parental Alienation: Work with a Texas Family Law Attorney
Dealing with parental alienation is never easy, but you don’t have to face it alone. The family law office of Parker & Aguilar can help you out. We will fight to protect your parental rights and help you determine the best course of action to defend your role as the child’s parent.
When you work with our team, we’ll take the time to understand your situation and help you weigh your legal options for resolving the issue at hand. If we believe that parental alienation is present, we’ll work with you to gather evidence of parental alienation and formulate the strongest possible defense in court.
If you’re facing parental alienation in Texas, don’t wait to get the help you need. We currently support parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact us today to discuss your situation.
You can reach our offices at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with one of our attorneys. Contact Parker & Aguilar today for a consultation about your rights and learn more about how to prove parental alienation. We look forward to assisting you.