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Parental Alienation

Apr 16 2015

It is common for divorcing parents to feel emotions such as anger, betrayal, loneliness, and sadness. And, when those emotions are experienced and dealt with in healthy ways, those parents are good role-models for their children, showing them how to deal with those kinds of emotions in healthy ways. But, in some cases, parents, unfortunately, engage in behaviors that can be extremely harmful to their children: they cause (possibly severe and permanent) emotional harm to their children by attempting to alienate the children from their other parent.

This process is known as “Parental Alienation” which has been defined as “a constellation of behaviors whose intent and effect is to destroy the present and future relationship between a child and the alienated parent.”

When confronted about his or her alienating behavior, the alienating parent typically responds with either denial of having said or done what is demonstrably the case; or with some justification for the behaviors, typically along the lines of “the children being entitled to hear the truth.” And, of course, that “truth” is always that particular parent’s perception of “The Truth.” And, that “truth” shared with the children invariably shows the child’s other parent in a negative light. The important thing is that whether the statements are, in fact, true, they are, nevertheless, harmful to the healthy emotional development of the children involved.

That harm may result in the parent-child relationship’s being negatively impacted by “Parental Alienation Syndrome”(PAS). Children subjected to a campaign of Parental Alienation usually do not develop emotionally in a healthy way. Rather, they may become emotionally stunted.  They are the collateral damage of a campaign of hatred directed against their other parent. Almost certainly, damaging their own children is not the goal of the alienation. But, the results are clear that damaged children are one of the results of the alienation.

Accordingly, Parental Alienation is treated as Child Abuse. This means that parents who are found to be engaging in Parental Alienation may lose custody of their children. And, they may have their access to their children supervised. Further, these parents may not be able to see their children until and unless these parents undergo counseling to understand the dynamic of the harm which they are causing to their children (they usually believe, initially, that they are not damaging their children, but are, instead, “supporting” them).

As it should be, allegations of Parental Alienation are treated quite seriously by the courts. And so, If you are involved in a child custody case in which Parental Alienation is alleged by you to be occurring, or if those allegations are being made against you, then you would be wise to seek the assistance of a skilled Family Lawyer who has handled these types of case. In our experience, too many of the lawyers involved in these cases are ill-equipped to present, or to rebut, the allegations of Parental Alienation made in these cases. They do not put in the time to become educated about the dynamics of this type of child abuse. And so, they deprive the court of valuable evidence about the allegation of Parental Alienation. Less than ideal court decisions, then, may result.

Importantly, when Parental Alienation is occurring, or is alleged to be occurring, time is not your friend. In order to protect your parental rights, and your children’s rights, you must act quickly. According to the experts in Parental Alienation Syndrome, if PAS occurs, then the emotional damage can be permanent or long lasting.

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About Us

The Heiman Law Firm provides professional family law services in cases such as divorce, child custody, child support, CPS, adoption and more. We have been proudly serving clients, primarily in Denton County, for over 25 years.

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405 State Highway 121 Byp Ste A250
Lewisville, TX 75067

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Frisco, TX 75033

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