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Parental alienation can factor into child custody dispute

Family courts are tasked with making difficult decisions each and every day. For those in Texas who are preparing to go before a family court judge, it is important to understand how the process works and what to expect, so that a parent can work with his or her attorney to structure the best possible legal argument or response. Courts are asked to make life-changing decisions in a very short period of time, armed with only minimal information about the parties before the court date and the input of an array of professionals. Very often, how things appear will guide the outcome of a child custody dispute more than the factual realities that a family is facing.

This is nowhere more true than in regard to issues of abuse. When one parent accuses the other of some form of wrongdoing, the parent making those claims must be prepared to back those allegations up with some type of verifiable fact. Otherwise, the other parent has an opportunity to claim that the accusing party is lying and has brainwashed the child or children into thinking poorly of the accused parent. This is known as parental alienation, and it is among the most controversial aspects of family law.

Providing proof of abuse can be difficult, especially if there is no physical evidence of what took place. Absent documented proof, the court is placed into the position of having to determine which parent is telling the truth. With solid legal counsel, a strong position in court and one or two counselors or other professionals on his or her side, a parent accused of abuse can often convince the court that those allegations are completely unfounded.

When a family law court believes that one parent has intentionally poisoned his or her children against the other parent, the consequences can be dire. This type of child custody dispute can result in a complete loss of custody for the parent making the allegations, which can place the children into the care of the person who abused them. For those in Texas who are preparing for a custody battle with an abusive parent, it is absolutely essential to work closely with legal counsel to determine the best way to proceed, including preparing a defense against claims of parental alienation.

Source: ABC News, "Are Some Divorcing Parents Brainwashing Their Children? The Controversial Idea of Parental Alienation", Lauren Pearle, April 8, 2016

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