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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