Parental Alienation Lawyer

Parental Alienation Law

Divorced parents may worry that their former spouses speak badly about them to their children, but when do a few negative comments cross the line and become psychologically damaging to a child and destroy the parent-child relationship?

We’ve written about Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS, here. It occurs when a parent actively tries to distort a child’s perception of the other parent so that they will withdraw and avoid them. The long-lasting effects of such alienation can hurt both the child and the parent. Psychologists recommend that parents be on the lookout for the following warning signs that may indicate that one parent is attempting to alienate the child.

Providing too much information about the marriage or reasons for divorce. Assigning blame to the other parent for financial trouble or for splitting apart the family, Pretending the child has a choice about visitation even though it has already been determined by the court, Asking the child to spy on the other parent, Wanting to change a child’s name or have a stepparent adopt. Acting hurt of jealous when child enjoys their relationship with other parent. Encouraging the child to remain angry at the other parent.Arranging special words or symbols intended to exclude the other parent

Children who appear angry with a parent without a clear reason, or express that they have no happy memories of that parent, may have fallen victim to an attempt to alienate them from the parent in question. Why there are many reasons why a parent would attempt this behavior, it is often indicative of anger or other unresolved personal issues. But whatever the reason, the impact on the relationship can be difficult to overcome.

Paying a Child’s Tuition After Divorce

If you’re going through a divorce and have children who are either attending or preparing to enter college, you might wonder how you will handle tuition and other college-related expenses in your post-divorce life. The following are answers to a few of the most common questions we receive on this issue:

Are divorced parents obligated to pay for their child’s college education?

Child support payments stop at the age of emancipation, which is 18 years old. This means there is no obligation for divorced parents to pay for their child’s college education. In fact, no parents — married or divorced — have to pay for their child’s education at all.

Can financial support for college costs be included in a divorce settlement?

Yes. In fact, this is the best way to get the financial support you need for paying college-related costs if you get divorced. You may then put these funds into an escrow or trust account to ensure their availability when needed or simply get a lump sum payment upfront.

If I make a college support agreement, what should it cover?

A college support agreement will include the percentage of expenses each parent will be responsible for, any limits on these payments, restrictions or conditions about the college (or type of college) the child would attend, which specific expenses will be covered and any other financial considerations. These details will typically require a lot of individual negotiations.

Does custody play a role in responsibility for college expenses?

If there is split custody, the calculations will become a bit more complicated. In general, the courts wish to create arrangements that avoid one parent being unfairly burdened with college costs. A judge may consider factors such as each parent’s income, tuition expenses, childcare costs and any scholarships the child earned.

Parental Alienation Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help in a parental alienation divorce case, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506 for your free consultation. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Proving Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is the term for one parent’s intentional or unconscious behavior that encourages the child to reject the other parent. Alienating behavior includes subtle physical or verbal clues as well as overt actions and candid statements that punish the child for maintaining a positive relationship or reward the child for rejecting the targeted parent. Alienating behavior is most problematic when practiced by a custodial parent who has the child for a greater amount of time and can induce the child to cancel visitation sessions, cutting off access for the noncustodial parent.

Proving Parental Alienation

You might be the victim of parental alienation if:

  • Your child no longer seems to enjoy doing favorite activities.
  • Your child is moody and won’t give you any explanation why.
  • Your child complains of not feeling well when you are together.
  • Your child finds excuses to cut your parenting time short.
  • Your ex cancels parenting time because your child is not “in the mood.”

Of course, all of these signs could simply indicate that your child is an adolescent. So how can you prove parental alienation in court? Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Hire an attorney who understands how parental alienation works and has secured remedies for alienation from the court.
  • Document every detail of your interactions with your ex and your child that indicates alienation might be at work. Be specific in your account.
  • Don’t try to make your child out to be a victim of parental alienation syndrome. That won’t fly in Utah courts. Keep the focus on your ex’s manipulative behavior.
  • Don’t play defense. You have a visitation order and it’s the custodial parent’s duty to make your child available to you.

Many targeted parents want to show the court how reasonable they can be, so they don’t fight back hard enough. That can lead the court to decide that it’s the targeted parent who is dragging out the proceedings to the detriment of the children. So, in the best interest of the children, the targeted parent has visitation restricted or denied.

Name Changes in Utah

If you took the name of your spouse when you married, you can now choose to keep your current name or resume your former surname when you divorce. You might decide to retain your married name for a variety of reasons, such as maintaining consistency with your children or keeping your professional and social contacts. Conversely, reclaiming your former name can signify a new beginning or a return to your roots. The decision is entirely yours — your spouse has no say in the matter.

Utah Name Change Process

To resume your surname, you can request the change in your final divorce decree. The court does not charge any additional fees when the name change is conducted during your divorce proceedings. You can still change your name after your divorce is finalized by filing a petition with the court for a fee. The judge may ask you whether you owe child or spousal support, have been convicted of a crime, filed for bankruptcy, have judgments or liens recorded against you or are involved in a lawsuit. If your answer is yes to one of these questions, the judge may conduct further inquiry to ensure your name change does not adversely affect other people’s rights.

An order that indicates your name does not automatically trigger changes to other important documents. You must apply to the appropriate agencies and organizations to update the information on your:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Green card
  • Professional license
  • Income tax documents
  • Human resources documents
  • Health insurance policy
  • Auto insurance policy
  • Retirement funds
  • Bank accounts

Utah Name Change Law waives fees typically assessed by the state on applications to change a surname on a license, permit, registration and other documents if the request is based on a marriage or divorce. However, you might be charged by private companies, professional organizations or the federal agencies for documents they issue.

Free Initial Consultation with Utah Lawyers

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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