- Are your children showing irrational fear or anger toward you, your parents, or your relatives?
- Do they side with your spouse no matter the situation?
- Are they – or others you know – repeating rumors or lies about you, made up by your spouse?
- Are your children showing behavioral or mental health issues that weren’t present before your divorce?
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, you and your children might be suffering from parental alienation at the hands of your soon-to-be-ex. Parental alienation is the process of one spouse manipulating their children against the other. It is especially prevalent when divorce is imminent and high-conflict, and it can negatively affect both your children and your relationship with them.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent manipulates or coerces their children against the other parent. It could include making up lies about the other parent, encouraging the children to shun the other parent, or directly gossiping to other adults involved in the children’s lives. The most prevalent feature of parental alienation is the psychological manipulation of the children.
Parental alienation most often occurs between couples who are undergoing or have undergone a high-conflict divorce. Whether due to complicated financial circumstances, cheating or psychological matters, or other sources of animosity, more complexity in divorce often means deeper-rooted parental alienation issues. It may take a skilled legal professional to help you see the lesser-known signs of parental alienation, but you will likely be able to recognize many of them yourself.
What are the Signs of Parental Alienation?
If you suspect the signs of parental alienation are manifesting themselves in your children’s behavior, this could very well be the case. Unfortunately, parental alienation often reveals itself through the victims – your children. Signs of children undergoing parental alienation may include:
- Irrational fear or anger toward you
- Lashing out or repeating lies they’ve heard about you
- Extreme negative memories of you and/or denial of good memories
- Viewing your spouse as the “better” or “good” parent
- Withdrawing from your family and friends
- Showing depression or anxiety in school or at home
- Always siding with your spouse, even if irrational
These signs are fairly easy to spot and may help you understand the nature of the parental alienation taking place in your divorce or separation.
You can also recognize signs that your spouse is using parental alienation tactics if they constantly lie to you, are not on good terms with you during or after your divorce, or incite your children’s anger (or fear) against you by feeding them made-up stories or unsupported claims. Any of these could be contributing to the larger issue of parental alienation, especially if your children’s behavior is changing after being with your spouse or talking with them for prolonged periods.
How Can Parental Alienation Be Treated?
If you believe your soon-to-be-ex is manipulating your children against you or causing psychological damage, it’s critical to enlist the help of a parental alienation attorney. Hiller Law firmly believes that parental alienation is a legal matter in a high-conflict or complex divorce. We take a two-track approach to treating parental alienation by:
1) Pursuing aggressive custody litigation. We use traditional litigation and the court system to fight for your children and your right to see them. This can include drafting orders to transfer your children to your home, enforcing fines or jail time, or legally prohibiting contact between the alienator and the children.
2) Offering therapeutic intervention options. Although courts do not always require therapeutic options for parental alienation, we are committed to providing therapeutic intervention in these cases. We aggressively fight for you and your children through litigation and offer therapeutic treatment for all parties involved, including the alienating parent. Historically, therapy is only ordered for the children, and we have seen this is not effective. We are fully committed and practice aggressive litigation with the goal of therapeutic treatment for not only the children but the targeted parent and most importantly, the alienating parent. This whole family approach produces results. We offer clients options to pursue therapeutic intervention such as individual counseling, reunification therapy that allows you, your child and spouse to meet with a counselor together, or involvement with support groups.
With the aggressive legal support and holistic approach from a Hiller Law parental alienation attorney, you can get justice and begin healing your family. If you need to speak to a parental alienation lawyer today, contact our offices in Austin or Houston at 512-360-9100 or 713-784-9500. We are fully qualified to handle your high-conflict divorce or parental alienation case and always fight for your children’s best interests.