Articles Posted in Parental Alienation

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Today is Parental Alienation Awareness Day. My practice has been focused rather intensely on the problem of the pathology of parent alienation for over 20 years. I have seen both Fathers and Mothers the victims of attacks, and targeting for alienation, by the disordered parent that seeks to damage the relationship between the parent and the child(ren). Parental Alienation exacts a terrible toll on both the targeted parent, as well as the child, whose developmental life is always impacted by being removed from a beloved parent’s life.

Fortunately, within the court system, guardians ad litem, evaluators and judges are becoming more aware of the traits and symptoms of PAS. It has been my job, for over these 20 years, to identify these pathologies, and do all possible to intervene in the alienation, and to use proper methodologies in the court system to reverse it, and reunify the child with the loving parent.

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I am always careful to identify good articles on the emerging clinical science behind Parental Alienation. Here’s an excellent review by Dr. Kruk for your consideration.

Credit: Edward Kruk Ph.D.

Recent Advances in Understanding Parental Alienation Implications of Parental Alienation Research for Family-Based Intervention

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From an interview with Dr. Amy Baker, PA expert:

” I must admit I am a bit disappointed in the comments so far on the WDET website in response to my interview. I hate to see the conversation devolve into a gender war when the research is so clear that both mothers and fathers can be alienators. I would prefer to see attention focused on prevention (education of custody evaluators about differentiating alienation from estrangement, training attorneys in proper handling of these cases, and so forth). There is so much to agree on! See http://wdet.org/posts/2015/07/17/81018-what-is-parental-alienation-syndrome/

..and my response to those commentators questioning Dr. Baker’s approach:

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The case involving the Michigan judge that placed three children in juvenile hall as a punishment and coercive measure has been roundly criticized for using contempt proceedings, in what even the judge agreed is a longstanding Parental Alienation case. From a local Detroit newspaper account:

Three Bloomfield Hills kids who refused an order by a judge to go to lunch with their father have been ordered to a juvenile detention facility.The Tsimhoni family was in Oakland County’s family court for a hearing on supervised parenting time when Judge Lisa Gorcyca took matters into her own hands.

June 24 court transcripts showed how upset the judge was. She ordered the Tsimhoni kids ages 14,10 and 9 to have a “healthy relationship” with their father. She criticized them for avoiding him and even compared them to Charles Manson and his cult. Gorcyca then ordered the children to apologize and have a nice lunch with their dad. When they refused, Gorcyca held them in contempt and had each child hauled off to Children’s Village’s juvenile hall – until they are 18 years old.

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I have represented, along with alienated parents, the grandparents that have been kept out of the lives of their grandchildren. For many years, Illinois did not recognize the right of grandparents to assert a petition for Grandparent Visitation. Illinois, however, currently has a Grandparent visitation statute that permits, under certain circumstances, grandparents petitioning a court for the right to have visitation with their grandchildren.

Recognizing the seriousness of the issue, leading Parental Alienation expert and author Dr. Amy Baker has written on the issues concerning Grandparent Alienation:

” Grandparents can derive tremendous pleasure from relationships with grandchildren and suffer terrible pain and loss when those relationships are disrupted or prevented. As with alienation between a parent and child, alienation between a grandparent and grandchild represents a form of ambiguous loss in which the child is physically absent but very much alive in the heart and mind of the grieving grandparent. There is no closure because the child is still alive. That is the blessing and curse of alienation.

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The State of Arizona considered recently an addition to its list of factors in determining the award of custody to a parent in a divorce case. This proposed addition addresses an issue that I have seen many times in my many years of managing high conflict custody cases: the false allegation of domestic violence in a contested custody case.

A false allegation of domestic violence in a custody case often takes the form of an initial filing for an Emergency Order of Protection prior to, or at the same time, that a divorce is being filed. The parent filing the falsely alleged OP believes that he/she will gain an advantage in the divorce case by having the other parent removed from the marital home and estranged from the children.

I see these false claims in OPs being made by parents actively committing Parental Alienation.

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Notes from last week’s Forensic Forum in Chicago: A most excellent program; cutting edge information and illuminating insights into managing PA cases.

Dr. Warshak captured in two hours the important clinical and legal management issues with PA cases. Judge Michele Lowrance made an important observation: many “targeted” parents act out in court; they cry, are angry, and show disappointment with the court. The alienating parent learns to be charming and composed. The result: the targeted parent gets reprimanded by the court, empowers the alienator, and fuels the PA fires further. Good observation and a word to the targeted wise. Says Dr. Warshak: “alienated parents need to learn to have a thick skin.”

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One observation that wasn’t made I will make here: the best GALs contribute heavily to the early phases of the case, and the ultimate outcomes. Much deserved attention was placed by the panel on the roles of clinicians and 604(b)s in PA cases, but in my view, a wise and experienced GAL can be influential in an initial intervention and a properly managed outcome.

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Actor Jason Patric discusses his custody case with the mother of his child, conceived through in vitro fertilization. Patric had an ongoing relationship with the child’s mother, and acted as a Dad to the child after it was born. Due to California’s current laws relating to custody and IVF, Patric apparently has all of the standing for custody as the anonymous IVF donor, who supplied his genetic material to a sperm bank for money. Patric has further complications as he alleges the mother is actively alienating him from the child.

Some states impose a duty of child support on a father that provides his sperm for an IVF procedure. Efforts are being made to modify the California statute, to allow Dads who intended to be Dads of an IVF child to have legal standing for custody and visitation rights.