We Recognize that Parental Alienation is Child Abuse
During the early stages of your divorce, you may not notice what may be the beginning of parental alienation (PA). It is very important to know that PA ISemotional child abuse.Further, most PA doesn't really start to show obvious signs until after the divorce. Nonetheless, one thing you can do during the early stages of any breakup is to have both parents and children evaluated by a mental health professional (MHP) specifically trained and recognized as a high conflict (HC) and PA expert. And, if you do nothing else, seek out a lawyer who offers a “Two Homes" program and collaborative divorce. That gives you a better chance of keeping the peace throughout your divorce and beyond. Remember, usually this is for any major conflict or PA has developed.
If PA does develop, here are the questions you can ask yourself:
- 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 answered yes to any of the above, you and your children might be suffering from PA at the hands of your (soon-to-be) ex. It is especially prevalent when divorce is imminent, and it can negatively affect both your children and your relationship with them.
What is Parental Alienation (PA)?
PA occurs when one parent turns their children against the other parent through psychological manipulation of the children.
- The children are actively resisting/refusing a relationship with the rejected parent.
- The children previously had a positive relationship with the rejected parent (or was never given a chance).
- There is absence of bona fide abuse or neglect.
What are the Signs of Parental Alienation?
Unfortunately, PA often reveals itself through the younger victims – your children. Common things you may see in your children 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 ex 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
You can also recognize signs that the other parent is alienating your child if they are constantly lying 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.
How Can PA Be Addressed?
If you believe the other parent is manipulating your children against you or causing psychological damage, it's critical to enlist the help of an attorney who is highly knowledgeable in parental alienation. Hiller Law takes a three-track approach to address parental alienation:
1) Litigation. If we can't get you into collaborative divorce, then the only option might be pursuing aggressive custody litigation. We use traditional litigation and the court system to fight for your children and their right to have a positive and loving relationship with you as their parent. 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 until the abuse stops. Remember, this is only if PA is starting to move from “mild to moderate” to severe. Even if we pursue this option, we will simultaneously trying to get therapeutic intervention into your case.
2) Offering therapeutic intervention options. We are committed to providing therapeutic intervention in these cases. We aggressively fight for you and your children through litigation; however, we encourage therapeutic treatment for both parents and the children. Historically, therapy has only been ordered for the children, and we have seen that this is not effective. Conversely, whole family therapy produces results. Additionally, early intervention where mild-to-moderate PA exist, as set out above, is by far the best way to handle PA. It can be very damaging and very expensive if PA is allowed to go too far. The thing to remember is that most judges and lawyers are not educated about PA even though they say they are.
3) Education, Therapy and Mediation. On this track, if you are truly fortunate, you can have the "Two Homes" program, an early intervention education about PA, a mediator who monitors your situation and whatever therapy is needed for your family. You are truly fortunate because this is a combination of programs that is just being rolled out.
Get Started Today!
With the legal support and holistic approach from a Hiller Law PA 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 parental alienation case and always fight for your children's best interests.