In an effort to prevent what psychologists label parental alienation syndrome, family courts in Texas and other jurisdictions are now considering reunification therapy in child custody cases. In some cases, the children are reunified with one parent while in other cases both parents are involved. The setting and timetable for the reunification may also vary depending on the program.
Some programs involve the parents and children going on a retreat for a few days while other involve the children living with a parent for up to 90 days. Others like to take a more organic approach that allows the children to regain trust in their parents over a longer period of time. However, there are some who are against the idea because it could cause more trauma for children or perhaps put them in the vicinity of an abusive parent.
The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence issued a statement years ago praising a judge in Canada who refused to force children into such a program. The non-profit coalition believes that by confining a child away from his or her home, it amounts to forced deprogramming. That child may be forced by threats and coercion to accept a parent that he or she has no attachment to while being isolated from the parent whom he or she has a relationship with.
After a divorce, both parents may be entitled to child custody rights. Determining who gets custody depends on a number of factors that the court will take a look at. An attorney may be able to help a parent establish that having custody rights is in the best interest of the child. In most cases, a court is loathe to keep a parent away from a child unless it puts the child at risk for physical or emotional abuse.