Divorce can feel like going to war, especially if you and your ex can’t seem to find common ground on major issues, like how to fairly split up custody. Although an appropriately defensive attitude can stop you from getting taken advantage of by your ex, being too aggressive or combative can have negative consequences, especially if you hope to secure custody in the divorce.

The Texas family courts usually want to preserve the children’s relationships with their parents, which often means shared custody or co-parenting arrangements. Unfortunately, there are some things that you might do that could negatively influence your parental rights and possibly even convince the courts that you should have less parenting time than your ex. Aggressively fighting or trying to alienate the kids from your ex are examples of steps that could backfire during a divorce.

The focus is on the kids’ needs, not your preferences as a parent

While your former spouse may aggravate you, they are important for the development and mental health of the children. The family courts usually prefer to see parents who willingly work together and try to put the kids first.

If you are antagonistic and outwardly resistant to sharing custody without a reasonable cause for doing so, such as a history of abuse or addiction that could endanger your children, the courts may view that as a sign that you won’t put the kids’ needs first as a custodian parent either, which could lead to them choosing to favor your ex in their determination.

Even after you’re divorced, interfering in the parental relationship is dangerous

There are some parents who will slowly try to turn their children against their ex. Intentionally telling stories that show the other parent in a terrible light or constantly belittling and complaining about an ex are both examples of how one parent might contribute to the alienation of the other parent.

Kids may eventually say they don’t want to see the other parent, which will only complicate things. If your ex can build a claim of intentional parental alienation because you have tried to turn the kids against them or have tried to reduce or eliminate their parenting time, the courts may determine that you haven’t acted in the best interests of the child and approve a request to change the custody order in favor of your ex.

As hard as it may be, trying to stay positive about your ex in front of the kids can go a long way toward protecting your relationship with them after a divorce.