fathers rights attorney

Jul
14

Parental Alienation Hurts Your Children – Know the Symptoms

Are you now going through or commencing a “High Conflict” Divorce with children where one Alienating Parent is encouraging or programming the child to reject the other parent without legitimate cause or justification. An alienating parent makes a child choose sides to bolster the alienators own parental identity and to undermine the target parent through denigration and interference with the child’s other parent relationship.  

Parental Alienation is more common than thought in divorce situations and many alienation situations continue throughout the entire relationship with the target parent and the affected child.   

A report from Fidler and Bala (2010) reported increased incidences and judicial findings in parental alienation and estimated signs of parental alienation in 11-15% of divorces with children. Psychiatrist, Dr. William Bernet, Professor at Vanderbilt University and advocate of parental alienation (Sept. 2013) “Almost every mental health professional who works with children of divorced parents acknowledges the PA (parental alienation) affects thousands of families and causes enormous pain and hardship”

What are the warning signs of “Parental Alienation Syndrome”?  Beware when a child starts displaying accelerated signs of hatred and anger rejecting any relationship with the target parent. This is especially transparent when a normal relationship existed before the deviant behavior manifests.

Are you having these types of problems with your children?  What are the basic symptoms of Parental Alienation(PA)? There are many versions but in our law practice, these are the most visible:

    • Under the idea of just being honest, the alienating parent tells the child “the entire family situation” through their opinionated eyes causing the child to think less of the target parent.  Placing singular blame for who caused the breakup of the family?
    • Alienating Parent refuses to allow the target parent access to school records/activities, medical/doctor records/appointments, extracurricular activities, or anything that would be a shared part of the child/parent life together.
    • An Alienating Parent makes demands on the target parent that are contrary to court orders. Allows the child to make choices about parental visits with the target parent contra to existing court orders causing the child to resent the target parent when the changes request cannot or should not happen.
    • Alienated parent may schedule the child in too many activities to assure no time is left for the target parent to visit with the child. Both parents need to be flexible with visitation to respond to the child’s need to have a relationship with both parents.
    • A parent listens in on the child’s conversation with the target parent or does not allow the child to talk with the target parent at the designed call time.
    • Refuses to allow children to takes their possessions to the target parent residence.
  • Alienated parent blames the target parent for financial problems, having a boy/girlfriend, or causing changes in the family lifestyle. Forcing adult issues on a minor to gain advantage.
  • When the child shows constant anger towards the target parent that accelerates to the point where the child avoids being with the target parent. No justified or demonstrative reason is given or exists for the anger and the child will not discuss the issue.
  • The alienating parent will use the child to spy and gather information against the target parent. This can cause the child to demean and fear the target parent while scaring the child’s self-image.
  • Alienating parent asks the child about the other parent’s personal life causing the child extreme stress/tension. A child not alienated wants to loyal to both parents.
  • Alienating parents have secret codes, signals, and words that reinforce very destructive on-going alienation.

In today’s world Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is now taken very serious in family law courts. Please review the symptoms of parental alienation and see if there are common elements in your relationship with your child to determine if parental alienation may be a factor.

If so, take action to help alleviate this this situation with your child.  Contact a medical professional who can help address this form of brainwashing.  The alienating parent always feels like they are helping the child, but in reality, by pushing the child into their way of thinking about the target parent, they are pushing the child into a life of low self- esteem, depression, lack of trust, and self- hate.  Many times the child will turn on the alienating parent when the real family picture comes out or as they grow and mature.

Nothing is ever gained by demeaning actions by one family member on all other members of the family unit. Many times it may also be necessary to contact a legal profession who is knowledgeable in Parental Alienation situations to legally intercede and help correct family issues before the child and parent regress to a non- existent relationship with each other.

Getting Even by using a child is never fair play.  The child has two parents and should be able to have a loving relationship with both.

By Nacol Law Firm P.C. | Parent Alienation
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Jul
13

Step Parent Conflict – Put Your Kids First!

Thirty seven percent of families in the United States are blended families. Sixty percent of second marriages end in divorce. A biological parent has his hands full, but as most step-parents will tell you, their job is even more complicated.

Following a divorce, it is not uncommon for a new step-parent to become the target of unprovoked spite or anger. In many cases, the previous-spouse harbors unfounded fears that their child will look to a new step-parent as a mother or father replacement figure. This can engender resentment to what may already be an uncomfortable situation between parties. Regretfully, these issues often escalate very quickly. Such resentments place the children squarely in the middle of a bitter fight between the people they love the most and are not healthy for anyone involved. The pain of conflicting loyalties to each parent and a child’s feeling of being “caught in the middle” of such disputes exacts an enormous emotional toll on a child. When a parent is in a rage, it is not uncommon for a child to withdraw. The child’s behavior towards the non-primary parent may abruptly change. This change in behavior may have more to do with keeping the primary parent happy than it does with how they really feel about the non-primary parent or step-parent. It is essential that you make it clear to your child that you love them and will always be there for them, regardless of the emotional or less than rosy current circumstances.

It is crucial to a child’s self-esteem and emotional growth that parents avoid putting children in the middle of such disputes. This can be incredibly difficult, however, when a selfish or manipulative parent does not think twice about wrongfully placing his or her child in the middle of conflict. Children are very perceptive and as they grow older they will ultimately realize when a parent has lied to them and used them for their own emotional or financial gain. Though they may temporarily identify with the aggressors, in time they will deeply resent the parent who has manipulated them.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is critical that biological parents avoid arguments or conflicts in the presence of the children. Such conduct is conducive to parental alienation goals of the misguided previous spouse. If the child sees that you maintain a calm and collected demeanor, it gives them reason to pause and feel safe.

If a previous spouse is making statements to the child regarding issues that should only be discussed between adults, tell the child that such discussions are inappropriate and you will take them up with the other parent at another time.

It is ok to tell your child “I am sorry,” if they are upset, even if you are not the parent upsetting them. This validates that they are hurting and relieves any false guilt they may have over things that are being said and done when you are not present. It is sometimes helpful to use everyday situations to explain conflict to your child. As an example, when dealing with conflict explain that “brothers and sisters fight, but they still love each other. Families have to work through conflict in order to stay together. I would not leave you if you made a mistake, I would not want you to leave me.” Such statements reinforces that reasonable conflict is ok and assures the child that you will remain a constant force in their life regardless of the situation.

If you feel that the conflict has escalated to a point of becoming emotionally abusive and/or destructive to the child, consult a Family Law / divorce attorney. It may be in the best interest of the child that he or she be removed from the primary parent and placed with the non-primary parent so that he or she is allowed to love all parental figures, parents and step-parents alike, unconditionally.

By Nacol Law Firm P.C. | Impact on Children
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Jul
12

Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Impact on Children

Parental Alienation Syndrome is the systematic denigration by one parent with the intent of alienating the child against the rejected parent. In most cases, the purpose of the alienation is to gain custody of the child and exclude involvement by the rejected parent. In other cases the alienator wants the rejected parent out of the way to start a new life, or the aligned parent wants more of the marital money and assets than he/she is entitled to and uses the child as a pawn. The aligned parent hates the rejected parent and the children become false weapons. These are just a few reasons Parental Alienation occurs in domestic disputes.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is common because it is an effective though devious device for gaining custody of a child. Through systematic alienation, one parent may slowly brainwash a child against the other parent. The parent involved in such alienation behavior then may gain the misplaced loyalty of the child.

In a recent survey, one in five parents stated that their primary objective during the divorce was to make the experience as unpleasant as possible for the former spouse; despite the effects such attitudes and behavior have on the children.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is a form of emotional child abuse. Parents in hostile separations may suffer depression, anger and anxiety or aggression. The expression of these feelings results in withdrawing of love and communication which may extend to the children through the alienating parent. When the mother is the alienator, it is a mechanism employed to stop the father from having contact with his children; and can be described as the mother holding the children “hostages.” The children usually are afraid of the mother, frequently identify with the aggressor, and obey her as a means of survival. The child may also be instilled with false memories of the father, coached and/or brainwashed.

Studies show that Parental Alienation is experienced equally by both sexes. Adolescents (ages 9-15) are usually more affect than younger children. Children most affected tend to be those subjected to parents’ highly conflicted divorces or custody battles. A study by Fidler and Bala (2010) show increasing incidences and increased judicial findings of parent alienation in the US. 11-15% of all divorces involving children include parental alienation issues.

If the parental alienation has been successful and has influenced the child against the target parent, the observer will see symptoms of parental alienation syndrome. Many children appear healthy until asked about the target parent.

Warning signs of a Parental Alienation Syndrome Child:

  1. The child is a “parrot” of the aligned parent with the same delusional, irrational beliefs and consistently sides with this parent. Denys suggestions that their hatred for rejected parent is based on views and behavior of aligned parent.
  2. Idealization of aligned parent and wants to constantly be in the aligned parent presence.
  3. The child develops serious hatred for the rejected parent and rejects a relationship with the rejected parent without any legitimate justification. The child sees nothing “good” about the rejected parent and only wants to destroy the relationship.
  4. The child refuses to visit or spend time with the rejected parent, frequently faking fear.
  5. The child’s reasons for not wanting a relationship with the rejected parent are primarily based on what the aligned parent tells the child. Accusation against rejected parent too adult-like for the child’s age.
  6. The child feels no guilt about his/her behavior toward the rejected parent and will not forgive past indiscretions.
  7. The child’s hatred extends to the rejected parent’s extended family, friends, partner, or Idealization of aligned parent aligned parent without any guilt or remorse.
  8. Ignores/rejects the rejected parent in the presence of the aligned parent.
    • Children who live in alienated family situations are usually unable to form healthy relationship with either parent. Some of the areas of concern for children impacted by parental alienation are:
    • Emotion Distress, Anxiety, Depression, and Self Hate
    • Poor reality testing and unreasonable cognitive operations
    • Low self-esteem or inflated self-esteem, Pseudo-maturity
    • Aggression and conduct disorder
    • Disregard for social norms and authority, adjustment difficulties
    • Lack of remorse or guilt

Parental Alienation Syndrome is recognized by the courts but is very difficult to define and in most cases requires bringing in County Social Services, Child Protective Services, and/or other professionals. Anyone claiming Parental Alienation Syndrome should look for family therapy as a constructive way forward. Other forms of abuse are physical, sexual, and neglect which are much easier to identify.

Children having some of these symptoms need help. Please contact an attorney and discuss your options on how to help this child. Formulate a plan to move forward. Do not give up your parental rights! Your child desperately needs and is entitled to your help!

By Nacol Law Firm P.C. | Parent Alienation
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Jun
06

Children – The Innocent Bystanders of Divorce

Divorce, in many cases, has a life-altering impact on a child’s development and well-being.  Given that one out of every two marriages ends in divorce, thousands of children are impacted each year. Divorce places enormous stress on a child trying to adjust to new feelings and rapidly changing situations in their lives. The resulting instability often leads to resentment towards the child’s parents and a difficulty acclimating to all the abrupt and immediate changes in a child’s life.

Children perceive divorce as a very traumatic event and are very concerned about their security. Many children internalize the dissolution and blame themselves for the breakup. They are scared that both parents may leave them.

Some very disturbing research on children and divorce has just been released by the Census Bureau Study, “The Marital Events of Americans: 2009”.

*1.5% of US children live in the home of a parent who divorced in the last year. The average age of the child is 9.8 yrs. old and the male/female ration is 1:1.

*64% of the children were White, non- Hispanic children, with the largest percentage living in the South (41%).

*Children living with a divorced parent are likely to be in a household below the poverty level (28%) and more likely to be living in a rented home (53%).

*Most children live in a mother headed households (73%). Because mothers have lower earning potential in the labor force, the family often lives below the poverty level.

*These children of divorce are often living with their parents’ unmarried partner (13%).  Only 5% of the children are living in a household with a married couple.

Children of divorce often suffer from anxiety, depression and reduced self-esteem issues.  Robert Hughes, associate professor in the Dept. of Human Development and Family Science, Ohio State University, found that children from divorce are more aggressive and more likely to get in to trouble with school authorities or police during adolescence. Also children from divorce are more vulnerable to becoming a victim of violence or become a perpetrator of violent acts on themselves and or others.

If you are considering divorce, carefully consider the impact on your children. To help children through this difficult time, parents must realize and accept that they are responsible for this situation and that their children often suffer as a result of the parent’s decision.

Parents should be very sensitive to the child’s emotional needs to ensure the best possible adjustment of his or her mental, physical, spiritual well-being towards a healthy, responsible adult.  Remember! Your child is the “Innocent Bystander.”

Seek professional help if you child is struggling with the changes in his or her life. Your attorney knows a resource that may be available to address your child’s pressing needs.

By Nacol Law Firm P.C. | Impact on Children
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Domestic Violence Against Men: The New Intimate Partner Epidemic ?

When you think of domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence between couples what usually comes to mind? A woman being hurt or abused? This is the majority of public thought in the United States, yet the latest studies on domestic violence are showing a new and very alarming trend: notable rising rates on Intimate Partner Violence against Men.   

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. This was a serious eye opener on violence and men.  In the United State for the previous 12 months, app. 5,365,000 men had been victims of intimate Partner physical violence compared with 4,741,000 women. This physical violence includes slapping, pushing, & shoving.  Also tracked were more serious threats of being beaten, burned, choked, kicked, slammed with a heavy object or hit with a fist. Roughly 40% of the victims of severe physical violence were men. Again in 2011 the CDC repeated the survey and the results were almost identical!

Domestic violence (intimate partner violence) against men include emotional, sexual, verbal, physical abuse or threats of abuse. It happens in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Have you ever felt scared of your partner and changed your behavior since you were afraid of what your partner might do? If so, you may be in an abusive relationship.

Are you being abused? What are the warning signs? What kind of abuse are you experiencing?

Emotional & Verbal Abuse:

  • Calls you names, belittles you, or puts you down regularly
  • Is jealous and possessive and accuses you without just cause of being unfaithful
  • Tries to isolate you from family and friends
  • Tries to totally control your life: how you spend your money, what you wear and where you may be going
  • Constantly makes unreasonable demands for your attention.
  • Blames you for her violent behavior and says you deserve it
  • Gets very angry or violent when drinking alcohol or using drugs

Physical Abuse:

  • Biting, burning, or choking you
  • Hitting, punching, or slapping
  • Pushing, shoving, or throwing things at you
  • Knifing or burning you
  • Forcibly holding you down
  • Hurting you, your children or your pets

Sexual Abuse

  • Forcing you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
  • Hurting you during sex
  • Forcing you to have unsafe sex

Threats and Intimidation:

  • Threatens to hurt / kill you
  • Threatens to kill themselves or the children
  • Stalks you
  • Reads all your emails, texts, or mail
  • Destroys things that belong to you

Being a man in an abusive relationship,  it may seem hard finding the help that you need. It has been estimated that about 20% of men who call the police to report an abusive spouse /partner are themselves arrested for domestic violence.

You do not have to stay in an abusive relationship. You need to start by discussing your situation with either someone you trust or a health professional who can give you guidance. Gather evidence on what is happening, photographs of any injury or bruises experienced during a confrontation, threatening emails or texts that can be used in a court of law, make a list of people who have experienced confrontations between you and your intimate partner.

Stay away from any type of violence with your partner since she may try to put you into a damaging situation with the police to make you look like the abuser or try to entrap you.

You can overcome these challenges and escape from the abusive intimate partner.  If you have a family or are concerned for your well-being, contact a legal professional who can help you break from this situation and also work to get your children out of harm’s way.  Just remember, if you are not available for her domestic violence, a predator will look for someone else to take your place and children are easy targets!

By Nacol Law Firm P.C. | Domestic Violence
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Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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