It's hard enough to go through all the emotional distress of divorce, but when your ex tries to turn your child, your everything, against you, that's when enough is enough. 

You just went through a heartbreaking divorce. Your ex won primary custody, but you won visitation rights to your child in court. It starts out with your child acting differently toward you during your scheduled visitation. Maybe they give you some sideways glances, maybe they shy away from your friendly touch. It starts to get worse. Your child no longer wants to see you, but you can't understand why. You've done nothing to warrant this behavior from a child that you took care of and loved unconditionally for years. Your ex starts preventing you from visiting your child, claiming that you somehow caused this by your own behavior. Maybe your ex even goes so far as to say that you abused your child. The child that you loved with all your heart. How could your ex say that? How did you end up so far away from a positive relationship with your child? How can you fix it when your ex won't let you see your child anymore, when your ex is telling the court that you are not a fit parent and should not even have visitation rights? 

We know what you are experiencing. There is a name for it, and we can help. 

Parental alienation happens when one parent discredits the other parent to a child that the two parents share custody of, and it is often accompanied by several false targeted accusations. It could be your ex telling your child that you abandoned them, that you will hurt them if given the chance, or (for younger children) that they just don't want to see you. It's painfully easy for an alienating parent to destroy your relationship with your child, but there is hope. 

Hickey & Hull Law Partners is experienced in handling parental alienation cases, and we care about each and every case, even when it hurts. Give us a call because things are about to get better.

Parental Alienation Stories

The Role of Family Law Attorneys in Addressin...

Parental alienation is a common issue that can arise in the context of divorce or child custody disputes. It occurs when one parent attempts to turn the child against the other parent, often through negative comments or behaviors. In Arkansas, family law attorneys can be essential in addressing parental alienation and promoting the child’s best interests. Here’s how. How Family Law Firms Can Help You If a parent believes that they are a victim of parental alienation, it is important to seek the advice of a family law attorney.  A family law attorney can help the parent understand their legal rights and options, and can provide guidance on how to address the situation effectively. The attorney can help the parent document instances of parental alienation and can work to protect the parent's relationship with their child through legal means such as filing a motion to modify custody or visitation orders.  Family law firms can also help the parent navigate the emotional and psychological impact of parental alienation, and may be able to refer them to resources such as family counselors or therapists who can provide additional support. Let’s dive into how exactly family law firms like Hickey & Hull can help you. #1: Recognizing the Signs of Parental Alienation One of the critical roles of family law attorneys in addressing parental alienation is to help their clients recognize the signs of this behavior. This includes — but is not limited to — several signs: The child consistently makes negative comments or has an intense dislike towards one of their parents without any apparent justification The child may refuse to spend time with the targeted parent or may seem to fear or avoid contact with them The child may parrot or repeat negative comments or accusations made by the favored parent about the targeted parent, even if they seem out of character for the child The child may have a sense of entitlement or a belief that the targeted parent is not deserving of their love or attention The favored parent may restrict communication between the child and the targeted parent or may interfere with visits or phone calls If these signs are present, it is crucial to seek professional help to address the situation and prevent further damage to the relationship between the child and the targeted parent. #2: Advocating for Clients in Court Another vital role of family law attorneys in addressing parental alienation is to advocate for their clients in court.  In Arkansas, courts must consider the child’s best interests when making custody and visitation decisions. This involves presenting evidence of parental alienation and its impact on the child’s well-being and working to develop parenting plans that promote the child’s relationships with both parents.  Your attorney will work with you to develop the best strategies for documenting any symptoms of alienation.  #3: Working with Mental Health Professionals In some cases, family law attorneys may also work with mental health professionals or other experts to develop a comprehensive plan for addressing parental alienation.  This could include developing a parenting plan that includes specific guidelines for communication and visitation and working with the child to address any underlying emotional issues contributing to the alienation. Why Work With Hickey & Hull Law Partners Today Parental alienation can be a complex and emotionally charged issue. But family law attorneys — like the Hickey & Hull Law Partners team — in Arkansas are essential in addressing this behavior and promoting the child’s best interests.  Whether through advocacy in court, working with mental health professionals, or developing comprehensive parenting plans, the Hickey & Hull family law attorneys can help families navigate the challenges of parental alienation and work towards positive solutions that promote the long-term well-being of everyone involved. Fill out our online form today, or call us for a free consultation. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560. No matter what, we’re here for you and your family.  

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Why Children Take Sides Against a Parent ...

If you’re separated from your children’s parent, then you’ve probably experienced some awkward moments: Learning how to co-parent and communicate are no easy feat, especially among two adults who may have resentful feelings towards one another.  But sometimes, the children begin to replicate ill feelings towards one parent, even if they’ve had an otherwise good relationship. In this blog post, we’ll dive into why children take sides against a parent — and what you can do to remedy it. Why Do Children Take Sides Against a Parent? There are a few reasons why children might suddenly take sides against a parent:  There’s an apparent conflict between the parents. Children may choose one parent over the other to cope with the conflicting situation. They may also choose to side with the parent that is less predictable in behavior: For example, they might side with the parent who frequently gets upset when someone disagrees with them just to help keep the peace. There are ongoing legal and/or custody battles. During custody battles, a parent may use the child as a tool to gain an advantage in the legal proceedings, leading the child to choose one parent over the other. The child may also default to the parent with primary custody.  One parent is influencing the children. One parent may influence the child by speaking negatively about the other parent or making the child feel guilty for not choosing their side. A parent with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or personality disorders, may alienate the child from the other parent to cope with their difficulties. When a parent influences their children to think or feel a certain way about the other parent, this may be a type of parental alienation — even if it’s done subconsciously. Unfortunately, parental alienation is highly mentally and emotionally damaging to everyone involved.  Consequences of Parental Alienation Parental alienation is an emotional and mental manipulation performed by a trusted person on a child who may not know any better.  Children tend to have rose-colored glasses when it comes to their parents, so it’s easy for them to fall into this type of manipulation. In fact, some argue that this is a type of child abuse.  Studies show that the consequences of parental alienation are monumental. Children who experienced parental alienation during their childhoods may experience these factors as adults:  Mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and PTSD Emotional pain, like insecurity and lack of decision-making Addiction and substance use, and abuse Coping and resilience  As you can see, three out of four of the expected outcomes of parental alienation are damaging to a person’s mental well-being — which is why this syndrome is critical to identify and reverse as quickly as possible.  How to Address Parental Alienation If you suspect you and your child are victims of parental alienation, there are steps you can take.  For starters, speak to an experienced family therapist who can identify and heal the relationship between you and your child. You could also speak with your child and encourage open communication and honesty to promote safety. If you’re on decent terms with the other parent, express your concerns and try to work towards a shared goal of healthy parenting. However, if the alienation feels beyond repair or it’s challenging to work with your ex-spouse, you might need to bring in experts from the court of law. Family law attorneys can help enforce parenting plans, create your case for a judge, and document everything that happens between you, your child, and the other parent. Hickey & Hull Law Partners Can Help Your Family With decades of expert experience in family law, Hickey & Hull Law Partners are not strangers to the phenomenon that is parental alienation. Our goal is to represent you and protect your family, so if you want to learn more about how we can help, fill out our online form. You can also call us anytime: Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

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How To Help Your Children Cope with a Narciss...

Parental narcissism can be a difficult and painful experience for a child, because they can be self-centered and lack empathy, making it difficult for their children to feel seen or heard. However, there are ways to help your child cope with parental narcissism and mitigate its effects.  How to Help Your Children Cope Psychology experts say that children may suffer in several ways when living with or sharing time with a narcissistic parent:  Low self-esteem Chronic self-blame  Insecure attachment style Fierce independence or unhealthy codependency Indecision and doubt Can’t focus on own needs Narcissism Unfortunately, these things can affect the way your child grows up: They may grow up feeling anxious, depressed, insecure, or even fall into NPD themselves.  So how can you, as their other parent, help protect them and practice healthy coping mechanisms?  Don’t Speak Poorly of the Other Parent Always be the bigger person and never speak badly about the other parent in front of your child.  When you speak poorly about the other parent, you’re trying to convince them to think the way you do, which is a type of parental alienation. This will confuse your children and put them in a position where they feel unsafe and must choose between their parents.  The time will come when they get older and will understand how they were affected as a child, but it’s essential not to pull them into adult-only issues. And, as the designated calm parent, you can help your child have a better sense of security, safety, and trust.  Maintain a Consistent Schedule and Structure Unfortunately, narcissistic parents have a notorious lack of presence and/or consistency. Some days, the parent may be in a great mood, while a minor thing can tick them off and put them into a rage. Other times they’re nowhere to be seen because they are off doing something else.  You can’t always control what goes on at the other parent’s home. But when your child is with you, it’s time to stay consistent.  That’s because children thrive from routine. One study shows that, just like adults, children do better when their daily activities and schedules are predictable and familiar. With a consistent schedule, they will feel more comfortable, confident, secure, and in control of themselves and their environment.  Help Build Positive Traits In Your Children Children are malleable creatures, which means they learn a lot from their environments and the people around them. When your kids are with you, take every opportunity to help build and enforce positive traits, such as:  Self-soothing techniques, like breathing, instead of throwing tantrums Understanding that everybody makes mistakes, including adults Model healthy communication because narcissistic parents tend to guilt trip and gaslight with unpredictable emotions Encourage individuality, so they have a strong sense of self  Document Any Potential Abuse It’s not uncommon for narcissistic parents to resort to emotional, mental, or physical abuse. It’s a sad yet important truth to understand — so if you suspect your children are being abused in any way, be sure to report every aspect of the incident, such as: What you noticed: Did you find an unexplainable bruise, or did your child say something that raised alarms?  When you notice: As soon as you see something alarming, take note of the time and date. Even if you notice the same things over time, document each incident.   The story: When you ask your child, “Where were you when you got that bruise?” or “What was happening [when Mommy said that to you]?” be sure to record the incident verbatim somewhere safe.  If you suspect your child suffers from emotional, mental, or physical abuse due to living with a narcissistic parent, you need to seek legal help immediately.  Hickey & Hull Law Partners Can Help You Today Working with a family law expert is crucial for protecting your child from the harmful effects of parental alienation and parental narcissism. A family law expert can help you understand your legal rights and options and work with you to develop a plan of action that is in your child's best interest.  Whether you are dealing with a problematic co-parent or navigating the complexities of a custody dispute, a family law expert can provide the support and guidance you need to protect your child from harm and ensure that their needs are met.Call us today or fill out our online form if you have any questions or want to get started immediately. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

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In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Little Rock:
124 W. Capitol Avenue Suite 870
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Russellville: 

127 East 3rd Street
Russellville, Arkansas 72801

Phone: (479) ‍434-‍2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-‍2415



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Mon - Fri 8:30am - 5:00pm (Closed 12:00pm - 1:00pm)

In Northwest Arkansas:
409 W. Poplar Street
Rogers, AR 72756
Phone: (479) ‍802-6560
Fax: (479) ‍802-6561

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