Your child custody order is a valuable document. It provides you with legal rights to make decisions and spend meaningful time with your child.
Once your custody order is in place, you likely hope that you and your co-parent can maintain a peaceful relationship and follow the terms of the order. Unfortunately, that does not always happen.
Your co-parent may behave in ways designed to turn your child against you or undermine your relationship with your child. There is a name for this type of behavior: parental alienation syndrome.
Signs of parental alienation syndrome
Common signs of parental alienations syndrome include one parent constantly speaking poorly about the other parent or not following a custody order. You may see signs of it in your child, if your child appears to start acting as if your co-parent is the “good parent,” while you are the “bad parent.”
Sometimes a co-parent can go to extreme lengths to harm your relationship with your child, including filing a custody modification petition to take away your custody time.
Texas law requires that there be a substantial change in circumstances to justify a parent filing a custody modification petition.
Your co-parent can make various false claims as part of the petition, such as false claims of abuse or neglect as alleged evidence of a substantial change in circumstances.
Defending yourself against false claims
This is another sign of parental alienation syndrome. While Texas does not have a specific statute on parental alienation syndrome, you can still use it as a defense in custody court.
It is important to work with a family law attorney experienced with custody cases involving parental alienation syndrome. Parental alienation syndrome can be considered a form of emotional abuse, so if you think you are a victim of it, you should take it seriously.