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Is your spouse serious about child custody, or is it just a game?

Each Texas family court case is complex in its own way, and the key to successful cases involving children is demonstrating exactly what is in the best interests of those children. But what if one parent is more interested in winning the case or upholding his or her own image than in doing what is right for the kids?

Judges in family law cases are used to seeing parents with a range of problems that effectively categorize their divorces as "high-conflict." So when a parent stands before a judge and appears to be put-together, as it were -- intelligent, well-spoken, well-dressed -- then the sheer rhetorical effect on the judge can be significant. Indeed, parents going to court over their parental rights would do well to take certain cosmetic steps to show their fitness.

But some parents might appear to be reasonable and put-together, but their main (and sometimes secret) goal is to win a competition with the other spouse or control that spouse and the kids. That kind of approach does not serve the children, and many therapists would say the controlling spouse might even have a personality disorder.

Given the volume of high-conflict family law cases heard by judges throughout the country, there is the potential for judges to be too easily swayed by a parent who appears to handle the conflict in stride. But personality disorders such as narcissism -- in which a person is desperately concerned with his or her own image rather than the well-being of others -- are a reality.

Houston-area parents who are up against this kind of situation need to make the necessary legal preparations to ensure that their children's best interests are truly protected.

Source: Huffington Post, "Why Our Family Law Courts are Failing," Tina Swithin, March 27, 2013

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