October 28, 2007

Parental Alienation Discussed

As many of my cases deal with possible BPD and NPD-type disorders, I see traits of Parental Alienation Syndrome in alienating parents. These cases are very challenging...in part because there are kids being harmed by the alienation and by the pathology directed at them on a daily basis by the alienating parent. Further, the cases can be difficult to manage as the alienating parents are often skillful manipulators that have had some prior success through the years harming the healthy, non-disordered "target" parent's legal standing, through false accusations and false orders of protection (often easy to obtain on an ex parte basis). Many disordered parents obtain custody and control of children through manipulation of the court process. In the end, the non-disordered target parent suffers, and the kids suffer, perhaps more, emotionally and developmentally.

There are strategies to combat PAS in custody cases. The article below discusses PAS in some detail.

"Welcome to the Swamp." by Amy Johnson Conner

That's what a judge once told a client of a divorce attorney when accusations of parental alienation were leveled against the client in a custody hearing.

Parental alienation syndrome - a controversial diagnosis to describe a child who compulsively denigrates one parent in response to consistent brainwashing by the other parent - has become a not-uncommon theme in custody cases.

According to Richard Gardner, the psychologist who is considered the father of the syndrome, it typically manifests itself as a campaign of denigration by one parent against the other, which is accompanied by weak, frivolous and absurd rationalizations for the deprecation. As a result of this steady campaign of insult, the child reflexively supports the alienating parent and experiences no guilt over their own cruelty towards the targeted parent.

But the mental health profession is far from agreement about the existence of the syndrome. Noting the lack of supporting data, the American Psychological Association has "no official position on the purported syndrome," according to a statement in its website.

The legal community is divided as well.

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October 28, 2007

5 Common Financial Mistakes in Divorce

1. Hanging onto the house at all costs.

Many couples scrambling to obtain a divorce settlement wish to keep the house at any cost. However, keeping the four bedroom marital home may be a financial undertaking that neithe rparty can absorb in the post-divorce environment. Maintenance and child support to the recipient parent can help fund the mortgage and taxes, but some parties find that the burdens of keeping the marital home post-divorce outweigh the benefits, especially in this current home market/mortgage environment.

2. Failing to make a clean financial break.

Clean separation of assets and debts is another difficult task, but one that Howard Dvorkin, the founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services says is absolutely necessary, or the consequences can be devastating. Although the task may seem insurmountable, “the alternative is much worse,” says Dvorkin. “Having a spouse drive up your debt when you’re not married anymore” can seriously affect one’s credit score.

3. Counting on your ex to honor financial commitments.

Depending on your former spouse to comply with financial arrangements is also a huge mistake, according to this article. Although both parties in a divorce are beholden to a court-ordered divorce agreement, creditors are not bound by the terms of the divorce judgment. If your ex fails to pay on debts or loans, you may be hurt when applying for future financing.

4. Forgetting to change your will and beneficiary forms.

Wills and trusts can also be seriously impacted by divorce proceedings. Parties in divorce should separately seek counsel for the redrafting and execution of new estate plans, reflecting the wishes of the maker of the will and/or trust prior to the time of the divorce.

5. Overlooking taxes.

Finally, never forget which amount of money in your divorce settlement is maintenance, and which amount is child support. While child support payments are not taxable to the recipient, maintenance payments are.

Source: "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do Financially" by Kathy Chu, published in USA Today. Thanks to South Carolina Law Blog for the highlighting of this article.

October 28, 2007

Isolation: Living with a Borderline Personality Partner

BPD is a devastating disorder-both for the person who has it and their family members. Partners often find themselves becoming isolated, losing both family and friends to the craziness and jealousy that sometimes comes with living with a BP partner.

The Effects of Isolation
Isolation is an extremely powerful weapon. It can be used to break people down, causing them to lose hope, self-esteem, and even their individuality. It is effective and swift.
It very unlikely that your partner is consciously using isolation as a tool to get what they need. But it doesn't matter. It works just the same.
Following are some questions to help you determine if you have become isolated:

· If so, is it because your partner insisted you stop visiting others, was jealous of other friends, or made threats?
· Would you be embarrassed if people knew about your private life?
· Are there absurd "rules" you must follow that you would never tell anyone? For example, one BP was furious at her husband because of the way he chewed. So for the next 15 years of the marriage, he ate in the kitchen. His children thought all fathers ate in the kitchen and were surprised to learn it was different at their friends' houses.
· Have you made large sacrifices for your partner that have taken you away from friends and family for a long time? For three years, one husband worked two jobs and took care of their three children by himself to avoid "stressing" his BPD wife. Yet at a group therapy session, she angrily claimed he had done "nothing" to support her in years.
· Do you feel so responsible for your partner that you avoid leaving the house?
· When was the last time you made a new friend, took a class, went to a movie your partner didn't want to see, or took a day trip out of town?
· If you're on the phone when your partner comes home, do you quickly hang up to avoid answering questions about the call?
· Do you avoid contact with members of the opposite sex when you're with your partner so you won't be accused of wanting to have an affair?

Credit: Randi Kreger www.BPDCentral.com

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