Dirty Divorce Trick #12 : Alienating a Child from the Other Spouse
Be sure to read our Guide to Divorce Dirty Trick in Texas. We have also created The Ultimate Guide to Child Custody in Texas; and The Ultimate Guide to Texas Marital Property Law. Lastly, we have created The Ultimate Guide to Parental Alienation Syndrome.
One of the most common dirty divorce tricks is when a spouse intentionally alienates the children from the other spouse to hurt the other spouse or to decrease the amount of time that the other spouse has with the children. Some spouses will literally hide the children from the other spouse by denying access, moving to an unknown residence with the children, withdrawing the children from school (and not telling the other parent where a child is enrolled, and otherwise being evasive about the children visiting with the other parent (or speaking to them).
This is one of the harshest tricks as people love their children and typically had regular contact with their children when they were happily married. It is a huge blow to all of a sudden be separated from their own children.
Imagine a mother who refuses to allow the father to see the children more than a couple of hours a week (supervised) during a pending divorce case. Remember that absent an emergency, there can be quite a lag of time between when a divorce is filed and when the court finally has an opportunity to hear the issues about child custody. During this pending time, the mother continuously and repeatedly talks badly to the children about their father. The mother is in essence trying to turn the children against the father. The hope from the mother is that at the end of the day the mother will, or the court will allow the mother to present the testimony of the children who will say that they don’t want to be around their father. This is especially true if the children are 12 years old or older since the judge may consider the children's testimony at his/her discretion.
These cases are grave and severe. When they happen, the dad would need to be aggressive and tactical with his attorney. Often the best maneuver is to get experts such as psychologists who are trained in spotting and dealing with alienation involved in the case to help prevent the alienation and to reduce the children's direct involvement with the litigation. The psychologists can provide the judge with their opinion and personal interaction regarding both parents.
Some of the dirty divorce tricks discussed may seem silly at first glance. You may even say, “that wouldn’t happen to me”. But these tricks are very real, and they happen all the time. They can all be defended, and in many cases, they can be turned around so that the offending spouse who tried to play the dirty divorce trick will actually come off in a worse position in front of the court than if they had done it the right way. However, to turn around the tricks discussed you will have to take a proactive approach to identify and then work with your attorney to stop the trick(s), minimize the damage, and then show it for being what it is.
If you still have questions after reading this series, you likely need a personalized plan and answers catered to your situation. You can accomplish this by contacting an experienced family law attorney.