Many people assume that emotional abuse is not as serious as physical or sexual abuse. This is not the case in parental rights and child custody matters in Texas. In the Interest of SD and GD concerned the termination of a parent-child relationship between a Texas mother and her two children. The father and mother had married in 2003 and had two children. The father divorced the mother in 2010. Shortly thereafter, the mother accused the father of physically and sexually abusing one of the kids and physically abusing the other. She made several allegations of abuse that caused Child Protective Services to investigate the father. Each time, they found there was no abuse.
Since she’d made multiple unfounded allegations of abuse, CPS investigated her for emotional abuse of one of the children, S.D. They determined she’d coached her daughter to allege abuse against the father and found the mother had been emotionally abusive.
The court granted a divorce but appointed both parents as joint managing conservators. Although it found there was evidence the mother had a history of emotional abuse, it determined she should have a modified possession order. The mother was supposed to see a therapist who specialized in anger management and false memory syndrome. She had to give the father a written verification she was seeing the therapist in order to have certain times of unsupervised possession. The modified possession order further provided that as the mother completed additional therapy, she’d have more unsupervised possession. She was also supposed to pay child support, although this was delayed so that the mother could complete the therapy.