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Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the deliberate attempt by a parent to destroy the relationship between their children and the other parent. The alienating parent’s goal is to destroy the children’s bond with the other parent and establish themself as “the best parent.”

Parental Alienation Syndrome does not occur over night. It is a systematic process which ultimately results in the destruction of a child’s relationship with the other parent. Parental Alienation Syndrome is frequently observed in hotly contested child custody cases and it is important that parents and attorneys are vigilant as to the symptoms of PAS. Some of the signs of PAS include:

  1. Negative statements about the other parent in front of the child or children. A parent who is exhibiting behaviors symptomatic of PAS will do their best to put the other parent in a negative light by making negative comments about the other in front of the children. This behavior results in the children mimicking the sentiments of the alienating parent.
  2. Involving the children in the pending litigation puts parental alienation syndrome in court. A divorce or custody battle is a matter between two adults. Children should not be privy to the details of a battle between their parents and a parent who willfully exposes a child to such details is often attempting to tarnish the child’s relationship with their other parent.
  3. Refusal to Co-Parent. Co-parenting is an integral part of raising a child and a parent who refuses to co-parent is often not concerned with the best interest of the child, but only destroying the bond.

A divorce or custody battle is already emotionally trying time for a child. A parent who inflicts the above behaviors is inflicting parental alienation syndrome, which will only increase the turmoil that a child goes through. If you believe that the other parent is exhibiting signs of parental alienation, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC.

Recommended Resources:

Welcome Back, Pluto

  • Understanding, Preventing, and Overcoming Parental Alienation™

We recommend that both parents learn about parental alienation syndrome  as there are several levels and for the most part we are all guilty of PAS of some form.    At our firm, we recommend that clients watch the “Welcome Back, Pluto” video by Dr . Richard A. Warshak which helps parents understand, prevent and overcome parental alienation (Warshak, Welcome Back Pluto).

Chapter Titles:

  1. What is alienation?
  2. Understanding alienated children
  3. Mistakes favored parents make
  4. What’s in a name?
  5. Understanding favored parents.
  6. The plight of rejected parents.
  7. Tips for parents
  8. Tips for kids

Divorce Poison – Signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome

  • How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing

He is also the author of “Divorce Poison” which is another guide to help a parents prevent and overcome parental alienation.   If your spouse is bad-mouthing you to your children it is critical that you choose the correct approach in addressing the issue.   Handling the issue poorly could lead to losing your children’s respect and affection (Warshak, Divorce Poison).

This title offers specific advice to protect children from Parental Alienation Syndrome.  In it, you will learn (Warshak, Divorce Poison):

  • How to respond when your children join forces with your ex
  • How to react if your children refuse to see you
  • How to answer rude and hateful behavior
  • How to insulate children from the harmful effects of bad-mouthing
  • How to identify and correct your own contributions to parent-child conflicts
  • How to defend against false accusations of brainwashing
  • How to choose the best therapist and lawyer
  • How reconcile with children after years of estrangement

Works Cited

Warshak, Richard A., Dr. “Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing.” Divorce Poison. Dr. Warshak, n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

Warshak, Richard A., DR. “Welcome Back, Pluto Understanding, Preventing, and Overcoming Parental Alienation™.” Welcome Back, Pluto. Dr. Warshak, n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

Texas child support obligations are calculated using a percentage of your net resources, that percentage being based on how many children one has an obligation to support. Unless there are additional circumstances, as outlined below, a court cannot order a party to pay above Guideline child support amounts as dictated by the Texas Family Code.

There are special circumstances where a court will order a party to pay child support obligations above the guideline amount.  Texas Family Code §154.123 states the court shall consider the following factors when deciding if guideline child support is applicable:

  1.   the age and needs of the child;
  2.   the ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;
  3. any financial resources available for the support of the child;
  4. the amount of time of possession of and access to a child;
  5. the amount of the obligee’s net resources, including the earning potential of the obligee if the actual income of the obligee is significantly less than what the obligee could earn because the obligee is intentionally unemployed or underemployed and including an increase or decrease in the income of the obligee or income that may be attributed to the property and assets of the obligee;
  6. child care expenses incurred by either party in order to maintain gainful employment;
  7. whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child;
  8. the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance actually and currently being paid or received by a party;
  9. the expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school;
  10. whether the obligor or obligee has an automobile, housing, or other benefits furnished by his or her employer, another person, or a business entity;
  11. the amount of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties;
  12. provision for health care insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
  13. special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child;
  14. the cost of travel in order to exercise possession of and access to a child;
  15. positive or negative cash flow from any real and personal property and assets, including a business and investments;
  16. debts or debt service assumed by either party;  and
  17. any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents.

After the court examines the above factors and circumstances, it may determine that it is in the child’s best interest to order child support in an amount above guideline recommendations.

This is NOT advisable for several reasons.

First, the ordering containing a child support obligation could ostensibly be in effect for many years, depending on the age of the child when it is first submitted to the court. Second, costs of living increase, people have more children, jobs are lost, two incomes become one; there are a variety of events that could cause a party to regret agreeing to pay a higher amount of child support than guideline amount. Third, there are penalties associated with failure to pay child support obligations; a person does not want to set themselves up for criminal or punitive sanctions for failure to pay if they could have avoided it by paying the guideline amount.

If a party insists on providing more for their child than the guideline amount it would be advisable to do it informally. A party can purchase school supplies, clothing and toys, pay for ballet lessons or put the money in a college fund rather than committing to a higher amount of child support in a court order. While it is admirable that a parent may want to go above and beyond the minimum support obligation, it shouldn’t be at their expense should circumstances change and they are unable to pay the increased support obligation.

An Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) is a legal document, filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which establishes a man as the legal father to a child. The AOP can be obtained at the hospital where the child is born, the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate and the hospital will send the AOP to be filed with the state. The AOP can be signed and sent off later, but it is most convenient to be completed at the hospital when the baby is born.

If the mother of the child is married to a man who is not the biological father of the child in question, the husband must sign what is called a Denial of Paternity along with the father signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity. The signing of an AOP establishes that the signatory is the legal father of the child and establishes paternity.

If there is a pending court case establishing paternity of a child, the Court must either have a valid Acknowledgment of Paternity or a genetic test establishing paternity for the Court to adjudicate parentage as a matter of law.

Contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC if you have additional questions about establishing the paternity of a child.

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