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Child custody: Avoid competing for a child's favor after divorce

Regardless of how amicable Texas parents are after a divorce, there typically comes a time when one parent feels neglected with regards to his or her relationship with a child. It is not uncommon for mothers' relationships with their children to be very close while the kids are still small, often leaving the father feeling distant. However, as children grow older and start voicing their choices as to who they want to spend time with -- regardless of which parent has child custody -- a mother may find herself feeling pushed to the side.

Such situations may result in parents competing -- not to be the best parent, but to be the most popular parent. Children are clever, and such competition between parents creates the ideal situation for a child to become manipulative -- a character trait that parents may not want to encourage. The best way to avoid the development of such conditions is for parents to continue to communicate in the years after the divorce.

Parents may recognize a time when it may be in the best interest of a child to file a motion to modify the child custody order. When parents remain positive in their co-parenting, the needs for such changes will be recognized for what it is and not seen one parent losing the competition. If children are allowed the freedom to choose whom they want to be with without having to consider the other parent's feelings, they will likely grow up to be well-adjusted adults.

Any Texas parent who has come to a stage at which child custody modifications may be considered, it may be wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can explain the legal requirements for filing such a motion and assist in communication with the other parent and his or her legal counsel if necessary. An attorney may even be able to suggest the services of a family law mediator if there is a lack of communication between the parents.

Source: charlotteobserver.com, "Avoiding the "Most Popular Parent" contest in custody cases", Patra A. Sinner, April 6, 2016

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