Your child custody agreement involves your co-parenting plan and court-ordered visitation schedules. However, sometimes despite court agreements, animosity prevails and one parent may attempt to physically or emotionally alienate the children from their ex.
This can quickly lead to serious legal complications and is something that should be stopped as soon as red flags start to appear post-divorce. If you notice any of these signs of parental alienation coming from your ex-spouse, it’s time to seek legal counsel before the issue becomes an uphill custodial battle.
Your Ex Isn’t Compliant with Court-Ordered Visitation
Refusing to allow a parent to see the other parent even after a court order is considered direct interference with regard to your custody agreement.
In instances where blatant parental interference is involved, depending on the severity, the court can impose severe sanctions to the offending party. Parental interference that goes against court orders is a felony and is something that should be taken directly to your family law attorney upon the first offense.
Prevention of Attendance to Extracurricular and Social Events
There are also several forms of indirect interference; one of the most typical being preventing an ex-spouse from attending public events like athletic activities, parent/child school days, etc.
These situations don’t typically involve one parent taking away court-ordered visitation rights, but is as serious as direct parental interference.
Your Child Knows Intimate Details About Your Divorce
If you are spending your time with the kids and they discuss details of your divorce that you haven’t brought to their attention, you need to set some firm ground rules with your ex-spouse. Intimate details like infidelity, finances, or substance abuse are inappropriate topics to discuss around children under 18.
In order for your co-parenting agreement to work, you must both be on the same page as to what is and isn’t on the table for discussion with your children. This will create a stable environment for your children at either home, even if you and your ex-spouse aren’t on the best of terms.
This is a form of parental alienation that is often an attempt to pit children against their parents. Typically, one parent knowingly undermines the other and allows children to get used to activities not allowed in the other parent’s home.
For example, if you don’t allow your child to eat sweets beyond 8 PM, yet your ex-spouse does, tension could arise between you, your ex, and your children. Even if both parents disagree on each other’s house rules, they should both teach their children to abide respectfully by the rules of each household.
Can the Courts Step In?
Regardless of alienation reasons, the courts will want to maintain the best situation for your children. So, if there are signs of co-parenting alienation or misconduct, there are legal steps that can be taken.
The court could impose a range of remedies including possible commitment to jain in cases of contempt, fines including the payment of court fees and litigation costs, and, when justified, the court can modify existing visitation orders to reduce or even sometimes terminate the offending parent’s visitation with the child.
Even what appears innocent to one parent can impact the outcome of your child custody case.
If you notice the signs of alienation or interference, your family law attorney can help start the process of:
- Arranging a court-assigned parental coordinator
- Seeking custody modifications
- Further enforcing a custody agreement that involves you visiting your child who may have been emotionally conditioned to not want to be with you
Deter Parental Alienation with the Help of Marx, Altman & Johnson
If you are experiencing parental alienation or foresee this issue in the future once your divorce is final, the Fort Worth divorce attorneys of Marx, Altman & Johnson can help you ensure your custody plan stays on track. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a free consultation.