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Archive for the ‘Parental Rights Amendment’ Category

Parental Due Process Act

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on November 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm
November 21, 4:36 PMSan Diego Courts ExaminerGregory Smart

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CA State Senate
CA State Senate
State of CA

There is currently an effort in the State of California to have the model legislation (below) passed in an effort to ensure Parental Due Process in the Juvenile Dependency Courts.

The model legislation was written by a team of attorneys at Pacific Justice Institute http://www.pacificjustice.org/ in Sacramento California.

Anyone wishing to get involved and/or support this legislation please contact Greg Smart at cpsvictim@gmail.com

Model State Legislation

Parental Due Process Act

Model State Legislation

A BILL
To protect the fundamental due process rights of a parent in proceedings to terminate parental rights.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This shall be cited as the “Parental Due Process Act.”

SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.
(a) FINDINGS- the legislature finds that–
(1) Parental rights are so fundamental to the human condition so as to be deemed inalienable. Termination of parental rights equals or exceeds the detriment of criminal sanctions.
(2) The “liberty interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests” recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court. Troxel v. Granville, 527 U.S. 1069 (1999). Moreover, the companionship, care, custody, and management of a parent over his or her child is an interest far more precious than any property right. May v. Anderson, 345 U.S. 528, 533, (1952). As such, the parent-child relationship is an important interest that undeniably warrants deference and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 (1972).
(3) State and local family services, child protective agencies, and courts have not recognized the rights of parents as inalienable, and, as a result, have failed to provide fundamental due process rights in the investigation and legal proceedings to determine abuse, neglect, and the termination of parental rights.
(b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this Act is to provide core fundamental due process rights to parents whose parental rights are subject to termination.

SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS.
As used in this Act:
(1) “Hearing” means any judicial or administrative hearing;
(2) “law enforcement officer” means an employee, the duties of whose position are primarily the prevention, investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws, including an employee engaged in this activity who is transferred to a supervisory or administrative position, or serving as a probation or pretrial services officer;
(3) “agency” means any state or local government;
(4) “Duress” consists of:
a. Unlawful confinement of the person of the party, or of the husband or wife of such party, or of an ancestor, descendant, or adopted child of such party, husband, or wife;
b. Unlawful detention of the property of any such person; or,
c. Confinement of such person, lawful in form, but fraudulently
obtained, or fraudulently made unjustly harassing or oppressive.
(5) “Actual fraud” consists of any of the following acts, committed by a party, or with his connivance, with intent to deceive another party thereto, or to induce him to enter into an agreement or to rely upon it to his detriment:
a. The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true by one
who does not believe it to be true;
b. The positive assertion, in a manner not warranted by the
information of the person making it, of that which is not true,
though he believes it to be true;
c. The suppression of that which is true, by one having knowledge
or belief of the fact;
d. A promise made without any intention of performing it; or,
e. Any other act fitted to deceive.
(4) “Undue influence” consists of:
a. In the use, by one in whom a confidence is reposed by another,
or who holds a real or apparent authority over him, of such
confidence or authority for the purpose of obtaining an unfair
advantage over him;
b. In taking an unfair advantage of another’s weakness of mind; or,
c. In taking a grossly oppressive and unfair advantage of another’s necessities or distress.
(5) “Malice” means conduct that is intended by the person to cause injury or despicable conduct that is carried out with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others;
(6) “Emergency” means exigent circumstances in which immediate action is required to prevent the imminent physical injury or death of a child.
SECTION 4. HEARINGS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
(a) Upon the request of a parent, guardian or custodian, the right to have proceedings open to the public shall be guaranteed in the following circumstances:
(1) any hearing for the purpose of terminating parental rights;
(2) any hearing for the purpose of determining if a child is or has been deprived.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a judge may, upon consideration of written motion and papers filed in opposition, exclude the public if it is determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the safety of the child would be in jeopardy by a public hearing.
If the public is excluded from the hearing, the following people may attend the
closed hearing unless the judge finds it is not in the best interests of the child:
(i) the child’s relatives;
(ii) the child’s foster parents, if the child resides in foster care; and,
(iii) any person requested by the parent.

SECTION 5. TRIAL BY JURY.
Upon the request of a parent, guardian or custodian, the right to a trial by jury shall be guaranteed in the following circumstances:
(1) any hearing to terminate parental rights;
(2) any hearing to determine if a child is or has been deprived.

SECTION 6. RELIGIOUS/CULTURAL/MORAL/ETHNIC VALUES AND BELIEFS OF PARENTS

In placing the legal custody or guardianship of a child with an individual or a private agency, a court shall take into consideration the religious, cultural, moral and ethnic values of the child or of his/her parents, if such values are known or ascertainable by the exercise of reasonable care.

SECTION 7. ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL RECORDING OF INTERVIEWS

Except in the case of an emergency, any law enforcement officer, agent or employee for a state’s health and welfare department or child protective services, or mental health professional, who interviews a child for the purposes of investigation, shall electronically and/or digitally cause to be made an audio and visual recording of all questioning of, and interviews with, children. All recordings made pursuant to subsection (a) shall be made available to the parent, guardian or custodian of a child not later than ten days prior to any hearing to terminate parental rights or to determine if a child is or has been deprived.

SECTION 8. EVIDENCE IN FACT-FINDING HEARINGS

(a) Only evidence that is competent, material and relevant may be admitted in a
fact-finding hearing.
(b) Any determination at the conclusion of a fact-finding hearing that
a respondent did an act or acts must be based on proof beyond a
reasonable doubt. For this purpose, an uncorroborated confession made
out of court by a respondent is not sufficient.

SECTION 9. RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL
(a) In that removal of a child from a home for even brief periods is an extreme hardship on families, upon the request of a parent, guardian or custodian, the right to a speedy trial shall be guaranteed in the following circumstances:
(1) any hearing to terminate parental rights;
(2) any hearing to determine if a child is or has been deprived.
(b) A hearing, as described in subsection a, shall be conducted within thirty days of any type of removal of a child. In the event that the thirtieth day falls on a legal holiday or other day when the court is not in session, the hearing shall be conducted prior to the thirtieth day. In no event shall a hearing be conducted beyond the thirtieth day after the removal of a child if the right to a speedy trial has been exercised.
SECTION 10. WAIVER OF RIGHTS
The rights of a parent or guardian as described in this Act cannot be waived, neither can parental rights be terminated, if said waiver is due to:
(1) mistake;
(2) fraud;
(3) undue influence; or
(4) duress.

SECTION 11. IMMUNITY

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the civil immunity of juvenile court social workers, agents or employees of a health and welfare department or child protective services or law enforcement official authorized to initiate or conduct investigations or proceedings shall not extend to any of the following:
(1) Perjury;
(2) Fabrication of evidence;
(3) Failure to disclose known exculpatory evidence;
(4) Obtaining testimony by duress, fraud, or undue influence.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any prosecutor, investigator, agent or employee of a state’s health and welfare department or child protective services who induces a parent to waive any of his or her rights under this Act by
(1) fraud;
(2) undue influence; or
(3) duress shall be subject to civil liability.

SECTION 12. DAMAGES
In the case of a determination by a court or jury of any violation of a parent’s rights under this Act, damages shall be presumed.
SECTION 13. ATTORNEYS FEES

Subsections (b) and (c) of section 722 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1988 (b) and (c)) (concerning the award of attorney’s and expert fees) shall apply to cases brought or defended under this Act.

SECTION 14. SEVERABILITY

If any provision of this Act or of an amendment made by this Act, or any application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.

New CA Legislation – Parental Due Process Act.

Dad tales of desperate and defeated, or deadbeat

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, judicial corruption, Liberty, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 23, 2009 at 3:45 am

Dad tales of desperate and defeated, or deadbeat

LESLIE CANNOLD

November 22, 2009 – 8:42AM

In recent weeks, I seem to have become a bloke magnet. Two weeks ago at the State Library cafe and one night last week at my usual watering hole, I’ve had men in my ear. Sweet men, sad men, vulnerable men – some recently divorced, others single for years – crooning variations on the same tragic tale. A tale about children they love but no longer see.

Once, I would have called them deadbeat dads. My own parents split when I was young but my father maintained scrupulous contact with my brother and me, and was dismissive of men who didn’t. And I knew the facts: that about 30 per cent of Aussie kids rarely or ever see the father who doesn’t live with them; and that before 1989, when the law gave men a choice about chipping in financially to support their children, only about one-third did.

But as I listened to the stories of these grieving men, the moral issue was no longer clear. There is no shortage of grievances, legitimate and otherwise, when a couple splits. But when fathers want to share care of their children but are granted access only on weekends – leaving the Child Support Agency as the only institution affirming the role of men in their children’s lives post-divorce – something seems amiss.

‘‘I was more than a wallet to those children,’’ the man in the cafe told me. ‘‘I parented them.’’ Later, a diary he had kept of his daughter’s first words and subsequent language development would arrive in the mail: proof of his commitment and grief.

The bloke at the bar, let’s call him Barry, was less certain of what he had to offer to his daughter who is three, no four, no three. He hadn’t seen her in years. ‘‘I don’t even have a place to live at the moment,’’ he confessed. ‘‘Had all my ID stolen a few months ago and been couch-surfing for the past three weeks.’’ I heard the rest of his sentence as if he’d spoken it aloud. ‘‘I wouldn’t be good for her, anyway.’’
‘‘She told me to bugger off,’’ he continued, speaking of his former partner, a girl he’d got pregnant, then agreed to support. He sipped his beer primly before cracking a wooden smile. ‘‘So I did.’’

But here’s the real question. Does the fact that many men feel sad when made to feel surplus to requirements in their own children’s life – disenfranchised by the legal system or their former spouse – mean they’ve been wronged?  Not necessarily. The terrible truth is that when relationships break down, what is in the best interests of children may not be what’s best for men.

Research by Australian researcher  Jennifer McIntosh finds that shared care is not the best arrangement for very young children and only works well for older kids where parents are emotionally mature and get along well. Men incapable of resolving the substance abuse, anger management or emotional issues that can contribute to relationship breakdown in the first place may not be the best influence on children, including their own.

And according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, there is ‘‘compelling evidence’’ that it is parental conflict and the negative economic consequences of divorce, not fatherlessness per se, that is costly for children of divorce. Deadbeat dads, or desperate, defeated and driven-away ones? You decide.

Do you have a moral issue you need resolve? Send it to Leslie@Cannold.com. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

Dad tales of desperate and defeated, or deadbeat.

Michael Robinson is now Fathers & Families’ full-time legislative representative in Sacramento

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Marriage, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting on November 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

A Major Announcement from Fathers & Families

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

By Glenn Sacks, MA for Fathers & Families

In a move that will change the course of the family court reform movement, Fathers & Families has just hired two experienced, accomplished legislative representatives. Soon we will be launching campaigns in support of our family court reform legislation—to get involved, please click here.

California

Readers of www.GlennSacks.com are familiar with Michael Robinson’s work in Sacramento on family court reform legislation, and Robinson and I have often worked together. In 2004 and again in 2006, we helped scuttle two bills (SB 730 and SB 1482) that would have led to unrestricted post-divorce move-aways. This was an important victory for California’s children of divorce, and one that surprised many Sacramento insiders, including Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters.

Robinson and I also worked together to pass family law legislation to help military parents (SB 1082) and on shared parenting and domestic violence reform bills. In 2007 and again this year, Robinson helped build a professional coalition to scuttle AB 612, a bill that would have banned target parents of Parental Alienation from raising PA as an issue in their cases.

Robinson has also been instrumental in passing legislation on paternity fraud (AB 252 and SB 1333), noncustodial parents’ access to school records (AB 164), Collaborative Law (AB 402, AB 189, AB 3051), and protection for disabled veterans with child support obligations (SB 285). He helped create the COAP program, which allows mothers and fathers who are unfairly saddled with inflated, unpayable child support arrearages to settle them for modest cash payments.

Michael Robinson is now Fathers & Families‘ full-time legislative representative in Sacramento, and we will be introducing several family court reform bills into the California legislature in February. Starting soon, Fathers & Families activists will be meeting with legislators throughout the state. We want your participation–to get involved, please click here.

Massachusetts

Enzo Pastore, our new deputy director, has worked on health care reform legislation in Washington DC, Albany, NY, and Boston, MA for 15 years. Pastore designed and promoted model prescription drug legislation that was introduced in 27 states in 2001. He led a successful legislative campaign in New York in 2007 to fund special housing for senior citizens and the disabled. In 2005, he helped defeat a federal Bush initiative that would have drastically cut Medicaid funding and services.

In January, we will launch our campaign to pass HB 1400, the Massachusetts Shared Parenting bill, and Pastore will be spearheading our campaign.

Through Fathers & Families’ efforts, over one-quarter of the Massachusetts Legislature has expressed clear, public support for our Shared Parenting Bill, many of them signing on as co-sponsors. We gathered thousands of signatures to place shared parenting on the 2004 Massachusetts ballot and led a successful campaign for its passage, winning 86% of the vote. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick told the Legislature that if they pass Fathers & Families’ Shared Parenting, he will sign it, and F & F recently met with Governor Patrick.

We need volunteers to meet with legislators, do media work, and help build our campaign–to volunteer, please click here.

Federal Legislation, plus Legislation in Texas & Many Other States

Robinson has worked with legislators and staffers in many other states on military parent legislation, and many states have passed bills modeled in part on SB 1082, the military parents bill we passed in California in 2005. These include: Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, Mississippi, Alaska, Missouri, and others.

Robinson worked with Texas Senator Jane Nelson to pass SB 279, a bill to protect military parents’ custody rights which was signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier this year.

Robinson worked with Mark Sullivan, Committee Chair of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association’s Military Committee, on the National Defense Reauthorization Act (HR 2647), which was signed by President Obama last month. The bill mandates that the Secretary of Defense produce a report on child custody litigation involving members of the Armed Forces, as well as international intrafamilial abductions of servicemembers’ children.

The Secretary of Defense will submit its report to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives by the end of March. Robinson says:

“Fathers & Families can play a major role in the implementation of this legislation. We need to make sure that the impact isn’t watered down, that it’s powerful, not sugar-coated.”

This problem affects both fathers and mothers who serve. If you are a military mother or father whose custody rights have been adversely affected due to your service, we want to make sure your story is included in the Secretary of Defense’s report. To submit your story for inclusion, please fill out our form here.

Prominent Biotechnology Executive Mark Benedyk, PhD Joins Our Board of Directors

Dr. Benedyk is the head of The Pfizer Incubator, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc., the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company. The Pfizer Incubator was initiated by Pfizer to support life science start-ups and to explore novel approaches to discovering new medicines.

Dr. Benedyk has over 15 years experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, where he has been involved in business development, product management, and corporate fundraising. His business strategy and fundraising skills will be invaluable for Fathers & Families, and we welcome him as our newest national board member.

What You Can Do

Experienced legislative experts like Robinson and Pastore cost money, as does the organizational work we do surrounding their efforts–please make a tax-deductible gift to support our important work by clicking here.

One very affordable way to help build Fathers & Families is to make a monthly gift–to do so, click here and enter an amount under “monthly contribution.”

The Family Court Reform Movement will not progress unless we engage in the political process on a professional level, as our opponents do.

Fathers & Families has the largest membership base, the highest media profile, the most funding, and now the best legislative advocates of any family court reform organization. The time to take this movement to a higher level is now, and it takes money to do it–please give generously by clicking here.

To volunteer to help, please click here.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers & Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families

A Major Announcement from Fathers & Families | Glenn Sacks on MND.

Crystel Strelioff’s family; History of PAS

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, DSM-V, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, federal crimes, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting, state crimes on November 20, 2009 at 4:30 am
November 18, 12:56 PMLA Family Courts ExaminerLaura Lynn

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PAS, Parental Alienation Syndrome knows no gender boundaries. You may not like the term PAS, but there is a behavior exhibited by some parents that cause the children to tell lies, and maybe even begin to believe those lies, about another parent.

There was some discussion about Crystel Strelioff, serving time for abducting her children. One of the children, now an adult, spoke at the Elkins Family Task Force Hearing in Los Angeles recently. He implied that his father had sexually abused him for 15 years while the court stood by.

I am certain tragedies like that do happen, but I am equally certain that in this particular case, there was no abuse by the father. The father had no contact with the son since 2004 and very little contact before that.

But, here is deposition testimony from court appointed evaluator Joanne Feigin in regards to Crystel’s brother Tim. The children’s names have been changed and their parent’s identity slightly veiled. Otherwise, this testimony is verbatim. There was no cross examination in regards to these statements.

Lawyer: At that time you interviewed the child again, this is since the last — since report number one, at that interview the child told you that his dad [Tim] told him to say to you “I want 100 percent with my dad and no time with mom”; is that correct?

Joanne Feigin: Yes.

Lawyer: As a matter of fact, you state in your report on page 24 that the child clearly — you use the word “clearly” — indicated that his father had told him very explicitly — and you use the word “explicitly” –to talk to [Ms. Feigin] about his preference and what to say about it. Is that correct?

Joanne Feigin: Correct.

Later…about an anti-drug video made by Tim with the mother acting as the drug addict, a video given to Joanne Feigin by either Tim or Crystel’s mother Helen, given without the soundtrack and only an explanation they thought the mother was using drugs…

Lawyer: Now, also in report one, I’m just going to just hit on this because you testified to it, that Tim alleged that the mother was using cocaine; correct?

Joanne Feigin: Correct.

Lawyer: He showed you a video which involved the mother?

Joanne Feigin: Correct.

Lawyer: And I think you even stated in the report that the father was disingenuous and deceptive; is that correct?

Joanne Feigin: Correct.

Lawyer: And that’s relating to the video?

Joanne Feigin: Yes.

Lawyer: And how he labeled it?

Joanne Feigin: Yes.

If Crystel’s family was showing this deceptive tape to the court appointed evaluator, who else did they show it to? The children?

And why, after this testimony, did the LASC commissioner transfer custody of the children from the mother to the father? Whether you call it PAS or just “lies told about one parent by the other parent”, isn’t this behavior that does not foster a relationship between both parents?

Crystel Strelioff’s family; History of PAS.

Worst Case of Parental Alienation Ever, Investigator States – Arrest Warrant for PA in Texas Case

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, DSM-V, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, MMPI, MMPI 2, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 20, 2009 at 2:55 am

Ireland mom faces U.S. extradition over child snatching

Ireland mom faces U.S. extradition over child snatching | Irish News | IrishCentral.

Ninth Circuit Gives Big Victory to Non-Custodial Father | Glenn Sacks on MND

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Glenn Sacks, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads on November 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By Robert Franklin, Esq.

A case decided November 10, 2009 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could have an enormous impact on fathers’ rights to their children.  (Note: The case is not yet published, so I can’t provide a link to it.)  It holds that even a divorced father with no right of physical custody must be given the opportunity to have custody of his child before a child protective agency can place it in foster care.  Failure to do so by a county child protective agency can subject the county to a suit for damages by the father under the federal civil law governing deprivation of constitutional rights.

To put it bluntly, this is a huge win for non-custodial parents.

The opinion in Burke, et al vs. County of Alameda California, et al now governs everyone within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit which encompasses California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Montana and the territories of Guam and the Northern Marianna Islands.  Unless overturned by the United States Supreme Court, Burke is binding precedent throughout the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth is the largest federal circuit and one of the most influential on the others.  Of course the opinion in Burke doesn’t govern cases in other circuits, but, given that it was a case of first impression (i.e. a similar case had never been decided before by that circuit) there, it may well be looked to by other circuits in deciding similar cases.  It may also be looked to by the Supreme Court should a similar case reach that level.

David and Melissa Burke lived together and apparently were married.  Melissa’s 14-year-old daughter “B.F.” lived with them.  She was the natural daughter of Melissa and Clifton Farina who had divorced some years before.  David was her stepfather and Clifton was a non-custodial dad.  Frustratingly enough, the opinion doesn’t tell us whether Clifton had an order of visitation, but it seems that he did not because the opinion says that he had no right of physical custody.  Nevertheless, he saw his daughter fairly often even though B.F. testified that his new wife didn’t like her and being around her was uncomfortable for the girl.  Melissa had sole physical custody of B.F.

When B.F. complained to an Alameda County Sheriff’s officer that David hit her repeatedly and often fondled her breasts, the officer, without a warrant, removed her from the Burke home and placed her with the county child protective services agency.  CPS in turn placed her in some form of protective care.

David, Melissa and Clifton Farina sued Alameda County and the sheriff’s deputy under federal statute 42 U.S.C. 1983 which allows civil suits against municipal and state entities which “under color of law” deprive someone of their constitutional rights.  The trial court granted the county’s motion for summary judgment, holding that neither the Burkes nor Farina had any claim against the county on which they could prevail at trial.  The Ninth Circuit agreed that the Burkes had no claim and that the sheriff’s deputy was immune from suit.

But the circuit court reversed the trial court as to Clifton Farina.  It said that, even though he had no right of physical custody, Alameda County could not lawfully ignore Clifton as a possible custodian of B.F.  Failure by the county to “explore the possibility of putting B.F. in his care” violated his constitutional right to a familial relationship and association with his daughter.  His case was returned to the trial court so a jury could hear and decide his claim for damages against the county.

On this blog, both Glenn and I have written about the outrageous preference on the part of CPS agencies for foster care over father care.  Those agencies routinely bypass fathers altogther and place children in foster care.  I reported on an Urban Institute study that showed that, even though CPS agencies know who the father is in some 88% of cases that come before them, attempts to contact him are made in barely over half those cases.  Glenn has written about a girl to whom Orange County, California lied repeatedly over many years, solely to keep her from her father and in foster care.

In short, after this case, CPS agencies can no longer do that without getting sued.  The Burke opinion is not clear on exactly what a county must do to comply with it.  But as I see it, they’ll have to make diligent efforts to locate the father and assess whether his care would be superior to that of a foster home.  If it would be, he would get custody.  In short, when taking a child from its custodial parent due to abuse or neglect, a state within the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction may no longer simply ignore the non-custodial parent.

Thanks to Ned for the heads-up.

Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com exposes the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was “tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers” and decided to start her own website. RealFamilyLaw.com

Ninth Circuit Gives Big Victory to Non-Custodial Father | Glenn Sacks on MND.

Parental Alienation and the DSM-V: A Call to Action

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Liberty, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 17, 2009 at 1:02 am

Parental Alienation and the DSM-V

A large group of mental health professionals, legal professionals, and other individuals have submitted a formal proposal to have the concept of parental alienation included in the next editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The proposal was submitted in November 2009. The authors of the 2009 proposal, who are listed below, represent eleven countries.

Please write to the following individuals and encourage them to include parental alienation in DSM-V:

David J. Kupfer, M.D. Dr. Kupfer is chair of the DSM-V Task Force. His address is: Western Psychiatric Institute, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Darrel A. Regier, M.D. Dr. Regier is vice-chair of the DSM-V Task Force. His address is: American Psychiatric Association, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1825, Arlington, VA 22209-3901.

Daniel S. Pine, M.D. D. Dr. Pine is chair of the DSM-V Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Work Group. His address is: NIMH, 15K North Drive, MSC 2670, Bethesda, MD 20892-2670.

Principal author of Parental Alienation, DSM-V, and ICD-11 are: William Bernet, M.D. Contributing authors: José M. Aguilar, Ph.D. (Spain), Katherine Andre, Ph.D., Mila Arch Marin, Ph.D. (Spain), Eduard Bakalář, C.Sc. (Czech Republic), Amy J. L. Baker, Ph.D., Paul Bensussan, M.D. (France), Alice C. Bernet, M.S.N., Kristin Bernet, M.L.I.S., Barry S. Bien, L.L.B., Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau, M.D. (Germany), J. Michael Bone, Ph.D., Barry Bricklin, Ph.D., Andrew J. Chambers, J.D., Arantxa Coca Vila (Spain), Gagan Dhaliwal, M.D., Benoit van Dieren, Ph.D. (Belgium), Christian T. Dum, Ph.D. (Germany), John E. Dunne, M.D., Robert A. Evans, Ph.D., Robert Bruce Fane, Ed.D., Bradley W. Freeman, M.D., Prof. Guglielmo Gulotta (Italy), Anja Hannuniemi, LL.Lic. (Finland), Lena Hellblom Sjögren, Ph.D. (Sweden), Larry Hellmann, J.D., Steve Herman, Ph.D., Adolfo Jarne Esparcia, Ph.D. (Spain), Allan M. Josephson, M.D., Joseph Kenan, M.D., Ursula Kodjoe, M.A. (Germany), Douglas A. Kramer, M.D., M.S., Ken Lewis, Ph.D., Moira Liberatore, Psy.D. (Italy), Demosthenes Lorandos, Ph.D., J.D., Ludwig F. Lowenstein, Ph.D. (United Kingdom), Domènec Luengo Ballester, Ph.D. (Spain), Jayne A. Major, Ph.D., Eric G. Mart, Ph.D., Kim Masters, M.D., David McMillan, Ph.D., John E. Meeks, M.D., Steven G. Miller, M.D., Martha J. Morelock, Ph.D., Stephen L. Morrison, Ph.D., Wade Myers, M.D., Olga Odinetz, Ph.D. (France), Jeff Opperman, S. Richard Sauber, Ph.D., Thomas E. Schacht, Psy.D., Jesse Shaver, Ph.D., M.D., Bela Sood, M.D., Richard K. Stephens, Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., Asunción Tejedor Huerta, Ph.D. (Spain), Hubert Van Gijseghem, Ph.D. (Canada), James S. Walker, Ph.D., Randy Warren, J.D., Monty N. Weinstein, Psy.D., Katie Wilson, M.D., and Abe Worenklein, Ph.D. (Canada).

Tags: Parental Alienation

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Children’s Day Rally for Parental Rights – Protecting Children by Empowering Parents

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Children and Domestic Violence, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 12, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Children’s Day Rally for Parental Rights

November 20 has been designated “Children’s Day” by the internationalists. But what greater way to support children than to protect their families? So, we’re celebrating Children’s Day with a Parental Rights Rally in Washington, D.C.

The rally will be held at the U.S. Capitol, on the East Lawn across from the Rayburn House Office building. It is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with several very special guests invited to speak, including Rep. Peter Hoekstra and Sen. Jim DeMint, the lead sponsors of the Parental Rights Amendment; Gerard Robinson with Black Alliance for Educational Options; William Estrada of Homeschool Legal Defense Association; Dean and Julie Nelson of National Black Home Educators; and Steven Groves of Heritage Foundation.

We know most of you won’t be able to come all the way to D.C. If you are among those who can, give us a call at 540-751-1200 for further details or directions.

Tell Us YOUR Story

Too many Americans – including congressmen – think the proposed Amendment is just about stopping the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But threats to parental rights are already going on in our nation today. You have seen them. You have experienced them, and we need to hear from you.

Have you: been harassed about your child’s school attendance? Had your child immunized without your consent? Been harassed for your decision over whether to immunize your child or not? Been denied your child’s library records? Had to fight to (or been refused to) opt your child out of specific classes, activities, or events at school? Been harassed for opting them out? Been denied access to your child’s health records, or been kept from staying with them at the doctor’s office? Had your child subjected to health screenings, drug tests, etc., without your knowledge or consent? Had your child obtain an abortion or birth-control prescription without your knowledge or consent? Received threats or had your child removed by social services without cause and a fair trial?

Please, email us at stories@parentalrights.org with a brief description of your run-in with parental rights limitations. (Remember, we will have to read every email sent in, so brevity will be greatly appreciated. We can always write you back if we need more information!) And pass this email along to anyone you know whose parental rights may have been violated, so that they will know to share their story with us, too!

 

Parentalrights.org – Protecting Children by Empowering Parents — Tell Us YOUR Story.

Child Custody – Phone Contact, Custodial Interference, Parental Alienation Part 7 | The Psycho Ex Wife

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting on November 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Phone Call Series: Lies, Manipulation, Custodial Interference, Parental Alienation – Part 7

Being the glutton for punishment that I obviously was in the summer of 2005, part 6 was a morning phone call.  I actually took an evening phone call from her the same day.

PEW: Hello? You recording?
LM Hey. Yes, I sure am.
PEW: Okay, good.
LM (inaudible)
PEW: Yeah, you change your mind?
LM No, I didn’t change my mind, did you change yours?
PEW: No.
LM I did speak with my father, though.
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM He asked me to ask you what he told you.
PEW: Hmm?
LM To ask you what he told you.
PEW: Well, I didn’t really talk to him.

I knew this.  She often lied about such things.  I’m not sure I even talked with my father at that point, but I did confront her with the above – mostly because that’s what my father probably would have said to me, had I talked to him or not.

LM Why would you suggest then that my father would be calling me?
PEW: I don’t know. I can’t believe that you did this to the kids.

QUICK!  MUST CREATE DIVERSION!  MUST CREATE DIVERSION!!!

LM I really wish you would stop saying that I did anything to the kids. The kids are, again, downstairs having a grand old time. Disappointed that you’re not coming down here to get them.
PEW: That was never… that was never supposed to happen.
LM Well, I guess you didn’t communicate very well, then. But all I told them is that we forgot to work on the specifics and that uh, if things didn’t work out for today that I would take them back on Tuesday night because I had to go back up there anyway.
PEW: Well the, I want to call them back at bedtime.
LM You can talk to them now if you want.
PEW: No, I don’t want them getting all upset and then (long pause) (inaudible) This definitely has to be the most vindictive thing you ever did.
LM I’m not doing anything to you and I’m not doing anything to the kids. I, I don’t know where you conjure up these things. You know, I’m sorry that our signals got crossed…
PEW: No signals got crossed…
LM …stop acting like I promised you any such thing, cause I didn’t.
PEW: No signals got crossed.
LM Please don’t act like I promised you any such thing, cause I didn’t. Number one. And number two, please don’t intimate that I’m doing anything to the kids. I said it before and I’ll say it again, just like two weeks ago. Your coming down here is… is of your own free will.
PEW: No.
LM If you want to come down here, I’m not keeping the kids from you, I’m not telling you you can’t see the kids, I’m just telling you that circumstances are not gonna permit me to bring them all the way back today, so…
PEW: Well, you wouldn’t even meet me in [halfway point]. That’s wrong. It’s wrong.
LM Why is that wrong?
PEW: And you know what? Tomorrow, I am having the contempt thing trialed. I’m not, not going to spend 14 years like this, no.
LM I don’t intend to spend 14 years like this either, I just don’t know what “like this” means.
PEW: Mmmhmm. Well, what would make you think after all, I’ve never driven down there except for the one time that you refused to meet me…

PEW logic:  Since she has never driven down “there” before, she should never have to drive down “there.”  I wonder how she would react if I were to use such a childish approach?

LM You mean, the one time that I made you stand by your commitment to come down like you had promised all week.
PEW: Right. Then why would I… why would I come down there?
LM You’re the one saying that you really miss the kids.
PEW: Hmm?
LM You’re the one saying that you really miss the kids.
PEW: I do really miss them, LM, but…
LM Stop making it out like I’m keeping them from you, because I’m not.
PEW: You are.
LM No, I’m not.
PEW: You are. I can’t drive my car down there. First of all, my lawyer said I can’t. I shouldn’t.

Which is it?  Can’t?  or Shouldn’t?  Let this be lesson 1,478,522 of how lawyers can be such scumbags… that is, assuming her lawyer actually told her that.  Her last one told her to move back into the marital home and so she broke in, so it’s entirely believable.  Maybe this new attorney was the same as the old.

LM Shouldn’t and can’t are two different things.
PEW: Yeah, I shouldn’t. And, advised strongly against it, so. (Long pause) (Inaudible) I mean, I can’t, I’m not gonna feel bad about what… whatever consequences you have tomorrow.
LM You don’t feel bad about anything.
PEW: Yeah, I do.
LM No, you don’t.
PEW: I felt more bad, obviously I feel the worst about the kids, but whatever you’ll sustain as a result of what you did today, I can’t feel sorry for you.
LM What exactly did I do today?
PEW: LM, you and I both know what you did today.
LM What did I do today? I’ve asked you repeatedly to send me the evidence that you have that I told you…
PEW: I did. Did you see the email I sent you?
LM No.
PEW: Oh, it says in there three separate times that your vacation was over.
LM Right.
PEW: Right. And you’ve returned them. Since you moved in March, you have done all the returning. So how all of a sudden…

Notice how it didn’t say, “I will bring the children back to you this weekend.”

LM Not since school I didn’t, I haven’t. I’d come up and get them, you came down and retrieved them. I came to [your vacation home location] to get them, and here we are again, I mean…
PEW: That’s bull and you know it.
LM That isn’t what happened?
PEW: No.
LM Okay, so I came, I picked up and dropped off during the school year. Then I didn’t come get them on the 25th, right? Is that what you’re telling me? I didn’t get them on the 25th when I came back from my trip. You didn’t come down here on the 2nd to get them.
PEW: Only because you refused to meet me. You said that…
LM No, only because I made you stand by your commitment. That you promised all week that you were coming down to get them and then changed your mind the day before. So, you keep saying the one version of events and I’ll bring the documentation and the evidence that you said you were going to come down and get them and only changed your mind Friday morning. It might have even been Friday afternoon.
PEW: No, I changed my mind after I talked to DW and she said that I was mentally unstable and my kids were… have mental health issues.
LM No, I don’t think that’s what happened. You keep saying that’s what happened, but I’m sure conveniently your recorder wasn’t working that day.
PEW: Yeah, is she coming with you?
LM What?
PEW: Is she coming to court, too?
LM I’m not telling you anything.
PEW: I hope so. I want my lawyer to have her testify, too. You made a big mistake today. A big one.
LM I don’t know what mistake you say I made.
PEW: You made a mistake LM. And the mistake was leading our kids to believe that you were bringing them home.

Click HERE: for a definition of projection…

LM No, I’m gonna tell you again, and I have mountains of evidence to the contrary. The only person that suggested to the kids that I was bringing them home was you and you had no business doing that, because I never told you that and I never told the kids that. Never, never, never. Okay? So stop saying that’s what you did, unless you can produce it, then you’re lying, okay?
PEW: So, there’s no… I will not… after Wednesday, I will never be required to drive again, anywhere.

Wrong again, PEW!

LM That may be.
PEW: Huh?
LM That may be.
PEW: That is gonna be, LM.
LM That may be.
PEW: And you’ll have yourself to thank for whatever, whatever trouble you get into because of being in contempt, I have… I cannot feel bad for you.
LM I… my understanding is that I’m not in contempt.
PEW: Well, your understanding is wrong. And you can claim that you’re innocent, but you’re not.
LM I keep missing the part where the custody agreement requires that I drop them off to you.
PEW: Well, the part where you moved 4 hours away, that’s the part.
LM No, that, I checked, I called Domestic Relations and you know what? I found no provision in the state law that says if I move out of state that automatically means that I have to pick up and drop off.
PEW: Well, then why would Gloria suggest that?
LM I can’t speak for Gloria.
PEW: Right. Well. She has me doing no driving.
LM She also suggests during the summer, meeting in [halfway exchange point].
PEW: Yeah.
LM Yeah, I know.
PEW: And I’ve offered to do that.
LM What’s that?
PEW: I’ve offered to do that today.

On the off-chance you’re not paying attention, try to recognize this for what it is.  She always “offers” things that benefit only her under the guise of doing me a favor.  The ONLY times she EVER offered to “meet” was when she was required to drive further.  Never has she offered anything to the benefit of someone else to her own detriment.  PEW is a taker, not a giver.

LM You offered it today?
PEW: Yeah. I also offered to do that two weeks ago when you forced me to drive 10 hours in one day.
LM No, I didn’t force you to do no such thing. The only thing I did was say you need to honor your commitment.
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM For once you need to honor an agreement. One time. In the whole situation, one time you needed to honor an agreement.
PEW: You’re a disgrace, LM.
LM I understand that. I understand that from you.
PEW: You are. Seriously, I don’t know how you live with yourself. And total disregard for the fact that I did give you some happy years. I did give you two beautiful children and this is just typical of what I’ve gotten back out of this.
LM No, it’s what you try to convince yourself is reality and reality is something vastly different.

Oh, burn!

PEW: No… (inaudible) …talking.
LM You gave me 10-years of verbal abuse, mental abuse, threats to leave, leaving dozens of times, forcing major life-decisions like moving and cars and everything. (Inaudible) …and everything else under threat of divorce and abandonment and it’s all in your own words.

Can you feel the love?

PEW: Yeah, and those letters saying that you spent the happiest years of your life with me.
LM You know, there were times where I tried really hard to make you happy.
PEW: Yeah, well.
LM Cards, were just totally smashed in my face. Christmases that were destroyed, because you were just so… I don’t what’s wrong, but something was not right. The things you’ve done over the course of the years.

Cue Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You…”

PEW: Well everything is fine now, so…
LM It can’t possibly be fine now, all you do is confrontation, and arguments, and go back on your word, and all you want to do is make an issue out of everything that comes up, PEW, I don’t know what, I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t know how to explain it. I just don’t know how to explain it. (Long pause) I try to make the most of my time with the kids and you’re calling me 6, 7 times a day, I mean it’s just so…
PEW: Did you explain this situation to your dad?
LM What’s that?
PEW: Did you explain this situation to your dad?
LM No I didn’t explain the situation to my dad. Oh, yeah, wait I did, I told him that you were mad that I wasn’t dropping them off or something.
PEW: What did he say?
LM He asked me if there were any provisions in the agreement regarding pick-ups and drop-offs. I told him “no, not to my knowledge.”
PEW: Mmmhmm. Right. Tell him that the kids cry every day? To talk to their mom?
LM No, they don’t cry every day. They only cry when you prompt them to cry.
PEW: No.
LM Yeah, they do.
PEW: No they don’t.
LM I told him, “yeah, you know, I feel bad, the kids miss their mother and she just doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by driving down here to get them.” That’s the reality. It was the reality two weeks ago, you decided, you know what, you know what, after a commitment to come down here you decided on Friday, “you know what? I don’t feel like driving all that way.” (Long pause) And what’s scary is you do nothing to, you do nothing to help me out in a pinch and then you, then you have this expectation that all you gotta do is ask and just eh…
PEW: I didn’t have to give you two weeks in the summer so far. I could have waited. I could have waited until I was court-ordered to do that.
LM I gave you plenty of notice for vacation time.
PEW: It doesn’t matter. I didn’t have to voluntarily give you two weeks out of the summer already and now you’re taking advantage of that.
LM Taking advantage of what?
PEW: You’re taking advantage of how nice I am.
LM No, I’m taking advantage? By what?
PEW: I let you try the every-other-weekend thing.
LM You let me? I did it because it was what was right for the kids. Do you want to talk about letting? I mean, I could have followed the custody agreement and taken them all but one weekend per month.

Gate-keeping mother, supported by the government.  Man, it’s good to be a father in this day-and-age.

PEW: What was Gloria’s suggestion for the school year?
LM The forthcoming school year is every other weekend.
PEW: No, every other weekend with one weekend in [custody state].
LM Yeah, but that’s not gonna work out either.
PEW: It’s gonna have to.
LM No, it won’t have to.
PEW: Yes, it will.
LM No, I don’t think it will because you know what? I don’t think the court is going to sanction me and sanction the grandparents of the children and everybody else who I might have opportunity to visit by telling me that I have to bear the expense of a stay in a hotel. What kind of… and that’s the extra interesting thing about this, you want to talk about doing what’s best for the kids, how is it best for the kids that I spend a weekend in a hotel room without their toys, without their friends, and I mean, what kind of a weekend are you setting your kids up to have by making that a stipulation?
PEW: Well, I was thinking more along the lines that you would stay with one of your brothers.

Oh, you were, were you?  Now you’re going to take command of what goes on in their homes to, Your Heinous?  The unmitigated gall…

LM They have families. They have plans. You just assume these people…
PEW: Okay, you know what…?
LM …can put up and adult and two children on a… on a whim. I mean that’s a pretty big assumption.
PEW: Well then you’ll get them once a month.
LM That might, that might be in the offing.
PEW: That is in the offing. It’s in the offing.
LM We’ll see.
PEW: And you know what? I don’t want to talk to you again. Could you please put the kids on now?
LM Yeah, I can put them on now, are you going to not incite them into crying and suggesting…
PEW: I don’t incite them into crying and you know I don’t.
LM Yes, you do. Yes, you do and you know, I’ll show that you do that. By asking “Oh, are you bored? You sound sad.” And even when S1says three times “No everything’s fine, everything’s fine” you say “you sound like you’re going to cry” You just pepper him until he does what you want him to do and that is cry into the phone to you. (Short pause) You do. You can say you don’t, I can show you that you do.
PEW: Okay. Show me.
LM I will.
PEW: Mmmhmm. It will backfire, LM, trust me.
LM There is nothing to backfire. I’m going to come down there and make a case for me spending meaningful time with the kids.
PEW: And it’s all going to backfire.
LM I don’t what you think I’m trying to do here…
PEW: Put the kids on I’m done talking to you.
LM I don’t know what you think I’m trying to do here…
PEW: Put the kids on I’m done talking to you.
LM You know, this whole backfiring thing…
PEW: I… am… done… listening… to… you… put… my… kids… on.
LM Are you okay?
PEW: Hmm?
LM Are you okay?
PEW: No, I’m not okay. I miss my kids.
LM Come and get them.
PEW: You bring them home like you were supposed to.
LM Before I put them on, I want you to hear how much fun they’re having so that when they start crying…
[Holds the phone over the stairs as the kids are laughing down below.]
PEW: The only reason they’re having fun… hello? The only reason they’re having fun is cause SD1 and SS1 are there.
LM No, they’re not.
PEW: They’re not having so much fun with you as they are with SD1 and SS1. No. You and Miss Personality.
LM SD1 and SS1 are at their father’s.

Oh, burn!  How devastating it must have been to learn that the children can actually have a wonderful time with their father and step-mother.  What a terrible shame for the poor, poor perpetual victim.

PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM Had a nice day, planting flowers in the nice picnic area that they made for themselves. Played bottlecaps in the driveway together.
PEW: You’re a great dad, LM.

You bet your ass I am.

LM I try my best given the circumstance.
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM I tell them to love their mom. I don’t manipulate them and make suggests to them that they do things to undermine their time with me.
PEW: (SCREAMS) SHUT UP! And put the kids on.
LM I’m just trying to tell you how… you know, you talk about co-parenting and doing the right things by the children and you say one thing and do something else.
PEW: I’m taping this, did I tell you that?
LM Well no, but I have no problem with that.
PEW: Well this is bordering on harassment. I’m asking you to let me talk to the kids and…
LM I’m just answering your contention that they don’t…
PEW: And I said I don’t want to talk to you anymore. All you do is blow hot air. Nobody cares. Nobody believes you. Only you and DW are the only two people that believe your little stories about having to move to [home state] and you know, that I’m mentally unstable and…
LM She never said that.
PEW: Well, where does she get that idea then? I’m a respected person in my community and nobody even knows you in your community.
LM Is there where you start with the insults and the storytelling again?
PEW: Mmmhmm.
LM Because you can’t help yourself?
PEW: Mmmhmm. What storytelling (inaudible)? Did you not abandon your kids, yes or no?
LM No, I didn’t abandon my kids.
PEW: Yeah you did.
LM I told you before, anytime you’re ready to give me primary custody… (a beep is heard)
PEW: What did you say?
LM I said, anytime you’re ready to turn over primary custody to me I’d be more than happy to take it, I…
PEW: (SCREAMS) NEVER! NEVER! NE-VER!!! It’s never gonna happen, LM.
LM Can you keep yourself under control, PEW?
PEW: I am under control. But I would never, I would… I would never give you custody ever. Not a psycho sociopath like yourself, no way. Put the kids on.
LM Is this the kind of talk that fosters goodwill between the parents?
PEW: I know, well… I’m telling you that there is nothing more infuriating to a parent than when the other parent is supposed to drop the kids off and…
LM I don’t know where you got that contention…
PEW: I haven’t seen them in a week and you’re not dropping them off. When they were supposed to be dropped off.
LM I don’t know that they were supposed to be dropped off and if you provided me evidence that I said that I’d do that, I would do that, but with that…

[LM calls to S1 “Hey, S1, you ready for your turn?” and S1 gets on the phone with PEW.]

S1: Mom, are you able to come down half-way?
PEW: Umm, buddy, we’re, me and daddy can’t like, get it worked out, so…
S1: (Sad) Can you ask him again?
PEW: I did, I did.
S1: Please, can you try again?
PEW: Huh?
S1: Can you try again?
PEW: Can I try again?
S1: Yes, cause I just can’t take it without you. I just can’t do it any longer.
PEW: Daddy says you guys are having a great time.
S1: Well…
PEW: Are you faking?
S1: I miss you, so badly.
PEW: Okay, well listen, you are a good boy right? And you can stay there for two more days, I have a great surprise for you for you when you get home.

Here we go again… with the manipulation…

S1: (whining) What is it?
PEW: (laughs) I can’t tell you.
S1: (laughs and whines)
PEW: But… but… can you be a good boy for two more days?
S1: (whines) Well, can you just tell me what it is?
PEW: (laughs) I can’t tell you what it is that’ll ruin the surprise…
S1: (whines) Tell me!
PEW: (laughs) Listen, you can’t cry anymore.
S1: (whines) Tell me!
PEW: (laughs) Listen, you can’t cry anymore.
S1: (whining)
PEW: Okay I’ll give you a hint but I can’t tell you what it is
S1: (whining) why?
PEW: if I (hears whining)
S1: What?
PEW: It’s alive (laughs) That’s all I can tell you
S1: Is it a fish
PEW: I don’t know, I said I can’t tell you

The stringing him along is completely painful to hear and read…

S1: Please, you have to tell me if I get it right
PEW: It’s a surprise so don’t
S1: (whining)
PEW: So, listen, listen, you cannot cry anymore
S1: Okay
PEW: Alright
S1: You can tell me, I won’t tell S2, I promise
PEW: (laughs) Try to guess again
S1: Ahh, lizard?
PEW: Ahh, can’t tell you
S1: Tell me
PEW: No, it’s not a lizard
S1: Is it a parrot?
PEW: no
S1: Cat?
PEW: No
S1: Dog?
PEW: No
S1: What is it?
PEW: I don’t know, I can’t tell you because I don’t wanna ruin the surprise
S1: (whining) please
PEW: You’re gonna love it
S1: (whining) tell me
PEW: but wait, listen, you have to um, you can’t be sad, you have to be happy for the next two days
S1: Alright I’ll be happy, if you’ll let me know, or tell me what it is
PEW: (laughs) Aunt DUI is here,
[to Psycho-SIL]: he said he’ll be happy for the next two days if I tell him what it is.
S1: Mommy can you tell me what it is
PEW: It’s a lizard
S1: It is?
PEW: Yes
S1: Yes! (yelling something in a happy voice, inaudible)
PEW: Okay, but you can’t be upset anymore
S1: (again making happy noises)
PEW: So you’re not gonna be sad anymore?
S1: No

This is what she’ll never get – she’s just gifted his compliance.  She’ll never get that this is precisely why he does what he does.  If he gives her the sad, crying act, she’ll buy him something.  When she complies with his manipulation, he’s happy.  It’s basic Pavlovian theory.  She teaches him to act the way he does and then rewards him for his behavior.  Hostile-Aggressive Parenting 101.

PEW: So you’re happy now
S1: Yes
PEW: I know
S1: (making happy noises)
PEW: (laughs)
S1: What color lizard is it?
PEW: It’s a green one
S1: Okay (making happy noises)
PEW: You’re funny
S1: Oh wait, can I tell S1?
PEW: Um, yea
S1: S2, Mom bought a lizard for us. Dad, you wanna know what Mom bought for us? (LM answers: a lizard?) Yep. K, I guess, Mom?
PEW: Yes?
S1: Um, he has his food?
PEW: uhhuh
S1: Cage?
PEW: Yes, does um, he’s really (inaudible)
S1: Was it big or little?
PEW: He’s medium, so you gotta do me a favor and be happy til Tuesday when you come home okay?

In her head now, his happiness is predicated solely on what she’s done.  In her mind, she’s the sole reason he is happy with me now, because of the gift.  He’s to be happy as a “favor” to her.

S1: Okay, I’m so happy, woohoo
PEW: It’s only two more days okay? You know, you know Mommy loves you so much right
S1: What happens if we’re not happy? You’re giving the lizard back?
PEW: (laughs) No, I’ll be sad if you guys aren’t happy, I just want you to be happy while you’re at Daddy’s, okay? Cuz what? It’s only two more days right?
S1: Well all we have to play with is some Power Rangers and Buzz Light Year, and a movie and that’s all we got to play with, SD1 and SS1 aren’t here
PEW: Well you’ll have a good time, it’s only two…
S1: And we have some board games and the bottle cap game.
PEW: right.

Yes, PEW… games their father plays with them.  It’s why they’re having such a happy week.

S1: Right, Mom, now I got an idea
PEW: What?
S1: Um on the driveway
PEW: Yes
S1: If you move your car a little back
PEW: Umhmm
S1: Guess what we can do?
PEW: What?
S1: We can draw a big giant square on the driveway
PEW: Umhmm
S1: I mean big, and a 1 in one corner and a 1 in the other corner, and then you make a 7 in the other corner and an 8 in the other corner
PEW: Right
S1: And then on the side you make a rectangle, then put a line down in the middle and then put 9 then you pt 11 with it
PEW: Uhhuh
S1:And then you put, then you make another one and there’s 12 and 10, and then you have another spot where 1, 3 and then the other spot there is 6 and 4, and then in the middle, you have to make a smaller square in the middle and then make a skeleton face in the middle
PEW: Ummhmm
S1: And then put cross bones, you know it’s just like cross bones, and then what you have to do is, you make a skeleton
PEW: Ohhhhh
S1: A skeleton head, and then you make two really skinny rectangles all the way to the other side and then you write 13 and 14
PEW: Ummhmm
S1: Okay
PEW: Right
S1: And then you need bottlecaps, so you can use your Corona bottlecaps in that game
PEW: Okay, can you show me how to do that square thing
S1: Um, I’ll show you how daddy makes the square
PEW: Okay
S1: And I’ll help you out with it
PEW: Okay, sounds good, you’re funny
S1: Um is it, wait, does the lizard have that thing coming out of it? Like that neck thing coming out of it
PEW: Um, no it’s not there at all
S1: Can you go look at it?
PEW: Yea
S1: Are you looking at it now
PEW: Uhhuh
S1: Okay well does like some of that long neck part there
PEW: Um, it’s like medium sized neck
S1: Um, that’s an iguana
PEW: Oh (laughs)
S1: Yea, so you called it a lizard, it’s an iguana. Ewwwww
PEW: What?
S1: S2 had a Corona bottle cap in his mouth and hit had permanent marker on it
PEW: Uhoh, did he get it in his mouth?
S1: Yes, he put it in his mouth
PEW: Oh no, oh boy, oh boy
S1: I know, I thought he had nothing in his mouth, and then he spits it out at me, a bottle cap falls in his hands
PEW: (laughs) you’re funny, you’re a funny guy
S1: (inaudible)
PEW: What are you gonna name him?
S1: Um, Rocky, S2 I need to know the lizards name, name it Rocky? Okay me and S2 both agreed on naming him rocky, so it’s Rocky
PEW: Okay that sounds good, I like that name
S1: Okay
PEW: Okay well I wanted to say goodnight, cuz I guess I won’t talk to you again tonight
S1: Does he eat live worms
PEW: Yes
S1: And (inaudible) I’ll feed him don’t worry
PEW: Okay, you don’t mind?
S1: Yea, but guess what, if he ever escapes guess what I’ll do
PEW: What?
S1: Don’t worry, I’ll chase him around and I’ll get him
PEW: Okay (laughs)
S1: I’ll make sure we have the door closed though (inaudible) it would be a problem if we had an iguana running all around our house
PEW: Right
S1: Yea
PEW: That would be
S1: Where is it, in our room or in our playroom or what?
PEW: Downstairs by the hermit crabs
S1: Okay
PEW: K?
S1: If he moves, does he move a lot?
PEW: Yes, he does, he likes it here
S1: Okay
PEW: Yea, he needs some friends
S1: I can’t wait until I get to see him
PEW: Yea, so that’s what you can look forward to when you come home okay? And don’t be sad anymore
S1: Alright
PEW: I love you so much, you’re the best little boy in the world
S1: Alright, I’m so happy
PEW: (laughs)
S1: I can’t wait to see my lizard
PEW: Lizard boy
S1: (inaudible) if I can find them
PEW: Well we got bugs, and betas, your betas are still doing good
S1: Good, you know what I would do, if I’m quick enough, I’d grab the iguana and (inaudible) (laughs)
PEW: (laughs) you’re funny, you’ll like him
S1: And guess what
PEW: Aunt DUI said to tell you hi.
S1: Alright. None of the fished died right?
PEW: No, no they are both still doing good
S1: Is the shark still alive, the shark
PEW: No, he died, we still got the hifin tetra and the Danube and the two betas that you and S2 got, or that you won down the shore. And I’m proud they’re still alive
S1: Alright
(inaudible)
PEW: So does S2 wanna talk to me?
S1: What?
PEW: Does S2 wanna talk or no?
S1: Um I wanna talk to you for a little bit
PEW: Oh okay
S1: You know you didn’t have to buy me a lizard, but I want him anyway
PEW: Yea
S1: How big is the cage
PEW: About, bigger than the hermit crab cage, um
S1: Does it have like little um platforms where he can climb up on
PEW: Uhhuh
S1: I knew it
PEW: Which would you rather have, a lizard or a snake?
S1: I’d have both
PEW: Both? (laughs)
S1: Did you get two?
PEW: No, but I was debating whether to get the snake because I knew that you kept saying that you wanted a cord snake, remember?
S1: Oh yes
PEW: But I’m a little scared of snakes
S1: Alright I’ll have the iguana
PEW: (laughs) You’re funny (inaudible)

“You’re funny.”  “You’re a funny guy.”  “You’re a good boy.”  Over and over and over again.  She has no idea how to talk to the children.  When in doubt – buy them a gift so that you can have a discussion about what PEW did and not what’s going on in the children’s lives.  It’s all about PEW.  All the time.

S1: I know, woohoo
PEW: So
S1: If you ever get a lizard, it’s not a lizard
PEW: (laughs) They also had some cute parakeets at the pet store
S1: What?
PEW: I said they also had some cute parakeets there
S1: Awwww guess what they have, the birds that can fly free
PEW: Yes
S1: Yea,
PEW: is that where you guys go?
S1:: Yea, the birds, they have no cages
PEW: Uhhuh
S1:: Yea, they were flying up on top of the cage, they can fly out anytime they want
PEW: Wow, that’s cool
S1: And guess what
PEW: What?
S1: He was flying up (unaudible) he was like ahh (more inaudible)
PEW: Oh yea, was he like a big huge parrot?
S1: Yea he was, he had the white and then the black circles around his eyes
PEW: Oh okay, it’s not a parrot it’s a cockatoo
S1: Yea? Isn’t a cockatoo the pretty one with red and green and blue and stuff
PEW: Oh okay, and a mackaw?
S1: Yea, they had a big mackaw too and a baby
PEW: Uhhuh
S1: Either that or a (inaudible)
PEW: You’re funny

“You’re funny.”  Where have I seen that before?

S1: I love you and guess what, they also have some turtles at the store, no wait they weren’t turtles they were tortoises
PEW: Oh really?
S1: Yea
PEW: They got some tortoises at our pet store
S1: They do?
PEW: Um yea
S1: Were they grey and really little?
PEW: They were grey and really big, about the size of your head
S1: Oh my
PEW: Then they have big ones like big as a dog, yea, but I think I’d be afraid, what would you do with it?
S1: Um you could leave it out front, or out to the wild
PEW: Yea
S1: Yea
PEW: You think?
S1: Yea
PEW: You’re such an animal lover huh?
S1: Yea
PEW: I know, you take after me, I love animals too.

You ARE me.  I have no concept of the children as being their own individuals.  They are just an extension of me.  Me me me me my my my my me my me.

S1: Guess what, there’s this snake, he’s venomous, but guess what
PEW: What?
S1: Well he curls up like a ball and you can play catch with him even like throw him up and down
PEW: Ahh
S1: Yea, real quick like a ball. Yea (inaudible) found one and he threw him up and down and he said, he said (inaudible) it’s just another ball
PEW: You’re funny

“You’re funny.”  Where have I seen that before?

S1: Yea
PEW: Would you pet a snake
S1: Yea if it wasn’t venomous
PEW: Really?
S1: (inaudible) if it didn’t bite you, did you know that?
PEW: No, and you wouldn’t be afraid
S1: Um, no
PEW: Oh
S1: This is what I would do, if you were scared to hold it, I would let you real quick (inaudible)
PEW: Yea
S1: Real quick, get him behind the head and hold him like that you know
PEW: Umhmm
S1: And then he won’t bit you then
PEW: Right, yea, well maybe (inaudible) because I don’t think they bite anyway, do you?
S1: I don’t know
PEW: Hmmm
S1: Do you know they are actually selling frogs? Even yellow frogs, I don’t know it was either a toad or a frog
PEW: Yellow?
S1: Yea yellow, and it had spots
PEW: Oh I never saw that. What else did they have there, did they have cats and dogs?
S1: Um no they don’t have cats and dogs
PEW: Oh
S1: But they have an animal shelter with a funny looking cat, Sarah was like look at that funny looking cat (laughs) and we all start laughing cuz he’s all funny looking
PEW: Right
S1: But he’s nicer than he looks, he was really nice
PEW: Yea
S1: He was a sweetheart
PEW: So, huh
S1: So he just kept going around in circles and then he comes by and he jumps, you know
PEW: Yea awww
S1: And then there was this big cat, when I would move my finger he would go after it. One time I moved my finger all the way up to the top and he jumps up to get me, all four of his feet weren’t on the ground then he’d move to the side of the cage
PEW: Awwwwww
S1: Then he came right back down, he was cute, he got me with his teeth one time though.
PEW: Right they like to chew on your fingers.
S1: Yea I hate cats.
PEW: Yea, baby dogs like to do that too, they like to chew.
S1: They won’t on your hand though.
PEW: Right, they’re cute though.
S1: Yea they are cute though.

(A lot of inaudible, can hear words and they’re talking about dogs)

PEW: cutie pie
S1: I’ll ask S2 if he wants to talk
PEW: Okay bud, well you have a good nights’ sleep okay?
S1: Alright
PEW: I’ll see you day after tomorrow
S1: Okay, bye
PEW: Love you
S1: By

The conversation closed with S2…

S2: Hi mom
PEW: Hi
S2: What is that? What is it? What is it called? (inaudible) Mom, the iguana?
PEW: umhmm
S2: The iguana it’s (inaudible)
PEW: Yes and it also eats lettuce, lettuce and bananas
S2: I wanna, can I give him a banana when I come see you
PEW: Sure, yea
S2: A banana
PEW: Yep. So how you doing bud?
S2: do (inaudible) walk around a lot?
PEW: yea he does
S2: do you have a cage for him?
PEW: yea, you’re funny

“You’re funny.”  Where have I seen that before?

S2: (inaudible)
PEW: Does he have a long neck?
S2: Did you say yes?
PEW: No he doesn’t have a long neck, he has a medium sized neck
S2: what does, I’ll ask S1, what else did he say?
PEW: the (inaudible) and the cage
S2: what else did he say
PEW: ahh I guess that’s it, he asked me a lot of questions
S2: Good bye I love you
PEW: Oh you’re done?
S2: Yea
PEW: I love you baby
S2: Bye
PEW: You’re a good boy I’ll see you soon okay
S2: Okay
PEW: Night pumpkin
S2: Bye
PEW: Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite
S2: Alright, bye

More interesting calls to come… there would be several more before she wises up and disallows any further recording of phone calls.

Child Custody – Phone Contact, Custodial Interference, Parental Alienation Part 7 | The Psycho Ex Wife.

Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, judicial corruption, MMPI, MMPI 2, mothers rights, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, state crimes on November 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Child custody evaluators commonly find themselves confronted with resistance when they attempt to use the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) in courts of law. Although convinced that the patient being evaluated suffers with the disorder, they often find that the attorneys who represent alienated parents, although agreeing with the diagnosis, will discourage use of the term in the evaluators’ reports and testimony. Most often, they will request that the evaluator merely use the term parental alienation (PA). On occasion they will ask whether other DSM-IV diagnoses may be applicable. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the reasons for the reluctance to use the PAS diagnosis and the applicability of PA as well as current DSM-IV substitute diagnoses.

Mental health professionals, family law attorneys, and judges are generally in agreement that in recent years we have seen a disorder in which one parent alienates the child against the other parent. This problem is especially common in the context of child-custody disputes where such programming enables the indoctrinating parent to gain leverage in the court of law. There is significant controversy, however, regarding the term to use for this phenomenon. In 1985 I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to describe this phenomenon (Gardner, 1985a).

The Parental Alienation Syndrome

In association with this burgeoning of child-custody litigation, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the frequency of a disorder rarely seen previously, a disorder that I refer to as the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). In this disorder we see not only programming (“brainwashing”) of the child by one parent to denigrate the other parent, but self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parent’s campaign of denigration against the alienated parent. Because of the child’s contribution I did not consider the terms brainwashing, programming, or other equivalent words to be sufficient. Furthermore, I observed a cluster of symptoms that typically appear together, a cluster that warranted the designation syndrome. Accordingly, I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to encompass the combination of these two contributing factors that contributed to the development of the syndrome (Gardner, 1985a). In accordance with this use of the term I suggest this definition of the parental alienation syndrome:

The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a childhood disorder that arises almost exclusively in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present, the child’s animosity may be justified and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation for the child’s hostility is not applicable.

It is important to note that indoctrinating a PAS into a child is a form of abuse—emotional abuse—because it can reasonably result in progressive attenuation of the psychological bond between the child and a loving parent. In many cases it can result in total destruction of that bond, with lifelong alienation. In some cases, then, it may be even worse than other forms of abuse, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. A parent who demonstrates such reprehensible behavior has a serious parenting defect, their professions of exemplary parenting notwithstanding. Typically, they are so intent on destroying the bond between the child and the alienated parent that they blind themselves to the formidable psychological consequences on the child of their PAS indoctrinations, both at the time of the indoctrinations and in the future.

Most evaluators, family law attorneys, and judges recognize that such programming and child alienation is common in the context of child-custody disputes. They agree, also, that there are situations in which the child’s alienation is the result of parental programming. Some object to the use of the term syndrome and claim that it is not a syndrome, but that the term parental alienation (PA) should be used. The problem with the use of the term PA is that there are many reasons why a child might be alienated from parents, reasons having nothing to do with programming. A child might be alienated from a parent because of parental abuse of the child, e.g., physical, emotional, or sexual. A child might be alienated because of parental neglect. Children with conduct disorders are often alienated from their parents, and adolescents commonly go through phases of alienation. The PAS is well viewed as one subtype of parental alienation. Accordingly, substituting the term PA for PAS cannot but cause confusion.

Is the PAS a True Syndrome?

Some who prefer to use the term parental alienation (PA) claim that the PAS is not really a syndrome. This position is especially seen in courts of law in the context of child-custody disputes. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease. The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause. Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to such a cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together. The term syndrome is more specific than the related term disease. A disease is usually a more general term, because there can be many causes of a particular disease. For example, pneumonia is a disease, but there are many types of pneumonia—e.g., pneumococcal pneumonia and bronchopneumonia—each of which has more specific symptoms, and each of which could reasonably be considered a syndrome (although common usage may not utilize the term).

The syndrome has a purity because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves together as a group. Often, the symptoms appear to be unrelated, but they actually are because they usually have a common etiology. An example would be Down’s Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, Mongoloid faces, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and atypical creases in the palms of the hands. Down’s Syndrome patients often look very much alike and most typically exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down’s Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.

Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. These include:

     

  1. A campaign of denigration
  2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
  3. Lack of ambivalence
  4. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon
  5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
  6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
  7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
  8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent
  9.  

Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of these symptoms. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (if not all) of the symptoms will be present. This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively “pure” diagnosis that can easily be made. Because of this purity, the PAS lends itself well to research studies because the population to be studied can usually be easily identified. Furthermore, I am confident that this purity will be verified by future interrater reliability studies. In contrast, children subsumed under the rubric PA are not likely to lend themselves well to research studies because of the wide variety of disorders to which it can refer, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and defective parenting. As is true of other syndromes, there is in the PAS a specific underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child. It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term.

In contrast, PA is not a syndrome and has no specific underlying cause. Nor do the proponents of the term PA claim that it is a syndrome. Actually, PA can be viewed as a group of syndromes, which share in common the phenomenon of the child’s alienation from a parent. To refer to PA as a group of syndromes would, by necessity, lead to the conclusion that the PAS is one of the syndromes subsumed under the PA rubric and would thereby weaken the argument of those who claim that PAS is not a syndrome.

The PAS and DSM-IV

There are some, especially adversaries in child-custody disputes, who claim that there is no such entity as the PAS. This position is especially likely to be taken by legal and mental health professionals who are supporting the position of someone who is clearly a PAS programmer. The main argument given to justify this position is that the PAS does not appear in DSM-IV. To say that PAS does not exist because it is not listed in DSM-IV is like saying in 1980 that AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) did not exist because it was not then listed in standard diagnostic medical textbooks. DSM-IV was published in 1994. From 1991 to 1993, when DSM committees were meeting to consider the inclusion of additional disorders, there were too few articles in the literature to warrant submission of the PAS for consideration. That is no longer the case. It is my understanding that committees will begin to meet for the next edition of the DSM (probably to be called DSM-V) in 2002 or 2003. Considering the fact that there are now at least 133 articles in peer-review journals on the PAS, it is highly likely that by that time there will be even more articles. (A list of peer-reviewed PAS articles is to be found on my website, www.rgardner.com/refs, a list that is continually being updated.)

It is important to note that DSM-IV does not frivolously accept every new proposal. Their requirements are very stringent with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical entities. The committees require many years of research and numerous publications in peer-review scientific journals before considering the inclusion of a disorder, and justifiably so. Gille de La Tourette first described his syndrome in 1885. It was not until 1980, 95 years later, that the disorder found its way into the DSM. It is important to note that at that point, Tourette’s Syndrome became Tourette’s Disorder. Asperger first described his syndrome in 1957. It was not until 1994, 37 years later, that it was accepted into DSM-IV and Asperger’s Syndrome became Asperger’s Disorder.

DSM-IV states specifically that all disorders contained in the volume are “syndromes or patterns” (p. xxi), and they would not be there if they were not syndromes (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Once accepted, the name syndrome is changed to disorder. However, this is not automatically the pattern for nonpsychiatric disorders. Often the term syndrome becomes locked into the name and becomes so well known that changing the word syndrome to disorder would seem awkward. For example, Down’s syndrome, although well recognized, has never become Down’s disorder. Similarly, AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) is a well-recognized disease but still retains the syndrome term.

One of the most important (if not the most important) determinants as to whether a newly described disorder will be accepted into the DSM is the quantity and quality of research articles on the clinical entity, especially articles that have been published in peer-review journals. The committees are particularly interested in interrater reliability studies that will validate the relative “purity” of the disease entity being described. PAS lends itself well to such studies; PA does not. One of the first steps one must take when setting up a scientific study is to define and circumscribe the group(s) being studied. PAS lends itself well to such circumscription. PA is so diffuse and all-encompassing that no competent researcher would consider such a group to be a viable object of study. Whether one is going to study etiology, symptomatic manifestations, pathogenesis, treatment modalities, treatment efficacy, or conduct follow-up studies, one is more likely to obtain meaningful results if one starts with a discrete group (such as PAS) than if one starts with an amorphous group (such as PA). One of the major criticisms directed against many research projects is that the authors’ study group was not “pure” enough and/or well-selected enough to warrant the professed conclusions. Studies of PAS children are far less likely to justify this criticism than studies of PA children.

Whereas the PAS may ultimately be recognized in DSM-V, it is extremely unlikely that DSM committees will consider an entity referred to as parental alienation. It is too vague a term and covers such a wide variety of clinical phenomena that they could not justifiably be clumped together to warrant inclusion in DSM as a specific disorder. Because listing in the DSM ensures admissibility in courts of law, those who use the term PA instead of PAS are lessening the likelihood that PAS will be listed in DSM-V. The result will be that many PAS families will be deprived of the proper recognition they deserve in courts of law, which often depend heavily on the DSM.

Recognition of the PAS in Courts of Law

Some who hesitate to use the term PAS claim that it has not been accepted in courts of law. This is not so. Although there are certainly judges who have not recognized the PAS, there is no question that courts of law with increasing rapidity are recognizing the disorder. My website (www.rgardner.com/refs) currently cites 66 cases in which the PAS has been recognized. By the time this article is published, the number of citations will certainly be greater. Furthermore, I am certain that there are other citations that have not been brought to my attention.

It is important to note that on January 30, 2001, after a two-day hearing devoted to whether the PAS satisfied Frye Test criteria for admissibility in a court of law, a Tampa, Florida court ruled that the PAS had gained enough acceptance in the scientific community to be admissible in a court of law (Kilgore v. Boyd, 2001). This ruling was subsequently affirmed by the District Court of Appeals (February 6, 2001). In the course of my testimony, I brought to the court’s attention the more than 100 peer-reviewed articles (there are 133 at the time of this writing) by approximately 150 other authors and over 40 court rulings (there are 66 at the time of this writing) in which the PAS had been recognized. These lists of the PAS peer-reviewed articles and legal citations are frequently updated on my website (www.rgardner.com). I am certain that these publications played an important role in the judge’s decision. This case will clearly serve as a precedent and facilitate the admission of the PAS in other cases—not only in Florida, but elsewhere.

Whereas there are some courts of law that have not recognized PAS, there are far fewer courts that have not recognized PA. This is one of the important arguments given by those who prefer the term PA. They do not risk an opposing attorney claiming that PA does not exist or that courts of law have not recognized it. There are some evaluators who recognize that children are indeed suffering with a PAS, but studiously avoid using the term in their reports and courtroom, because they fear that their testimony will not be admissible. Accordingly, they use PA, which is much safer, because they are protected from the criticisms so commonly directed at those who use PAS. Later in this article I will detail the reasons why I consider this position injudicious.

Many of those who espouse PA claim not to be concerned with the fact that their more general construct will be less useful in courts of law. Their primary interest, they profess, is the expansion of knowledge about children’s alienation from parents. Considering the fact that the PAS is primarily (if not exclusively) a product of the adversary system, and considering the fact that PAS symptoms are directly proportionate to the intensity of the parental litigation, and considering the fact that the court that has more power than the therapist to alleviate and even cure the disorder, PA proponents who claim no concern for the long-term legal implications of their position are injudicious and, I suspect, their claims of unconcern are specious.

Sources of the Controversy Over the Parental Alienation Syndrome

There are some who claim that because there is such controversy swirling around the PAS, there must be something specious about the existence of the disorder. Those who discount the PAS entirely because it is “controversial” sidestep the real issues, namely, what specifically has engendered the controversy, and, more importantly, is the PAS formulation reasonable and valid? The fact that something is controversial does not invalidate it. But why do we have such controversy over the PAS? With regard to whether PAS exists, we generally do not see such controversy regarding most other clinical entities in psychiatry. Examiners may have different opinions regarding the etiology and treatment of a particular psychiatric disorder, but there is usually some consensus about its existence. And this should especially be the case for a relatively “pure” disorder such as the PAS, a disorder that is easily diagnosable because of the similarity of the children’s symptoms when one compares one family with another. Why, then, should there be such controversy over whether or not PAS exists?

The PAS and the Adversary System

The PAS is very much a product of the adversary system (Gardner, 1985a, 1986, 1987a, 1987b, 1989, 1992, 1998). Furthermore, a court of law is generally the place where clients attempt to resolve the PAS. Most newly developed scientific principles inevitably become controversial when they are dealt with in the courtroom. It behooves the attorneys — when working within the adversary system — to take an adversarial stand and create controversy where it may not exist. In that setting, it behooves one side to take just the opposite position from the other if one is to prevail. Furthermore, it behooves each attorney to attempt to discredit the experts of the opposing counsel. A good example of this phenomenon is the way in which DNA testing was dealt with in the OJ Simpson trial. DNA testing is one of the most scientifically valid procedures for identifying perpetrators. Yet the jury saw fit to question the validity of such evidence, and DNA became, for that trial, controversial. I strongly suspect that those jury members who concluded that DNA evidence was not scientifically valid for OJ Simpson would have vehemently fought for its admissibility if they themselves were being tried for a crime, which they did not commit. I am certain, as well, that any man in that jury who found himself falsely accused of paternity would be quite eager to accept DNA proof of his innocence.

The Denial of the PAS is the Primary Defense of the Alienator

A parent accused of inducing a PAS in a child is likely to engage the services of a lawyer who may invoke the argument that there is no such thing as a PAS. The reasoning goes like this: “If there is no such thing as the PAS, then there is no programmer, and therefore my client cannot be accused of brainwashing the children.” This is an extremely important point, and I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. It is a central element in the controversy over the PAS, a controversy that has been played out in courtrooms not only in the United States but in various other countries as well. And if the allegedly dubious lawyer can demonstrate that the PAS is not listed in DSM-IV, then the position is considered “proven” (I say “allegedly” because the lawyer may well recognize the PAS but is only serving his client by his deceitfulness). The only thing this proves is that in 1994 DSM-IV did not list the PAS. The lawyers hope, however, that the judge will be taken in by this specious argument and will then conclude that if there is no PAS, there is no programming, and so the client is thereby exonerated. Substituting the term PA circumvents this problem. No alienator is identified, the sources are vaguer, and the causes could lie with the mother, the father, or both. The drawback here is that the evaluator may not provide the court with proper information about the cause of the children’s alienation. It lessens the likelihood, then, that the court will have the proper data with which to make its recommendations.

Which Term to Use in the Courtroom: PA or PAS?

Many examiners, then, even those who recognize the existence of the PAS, may consciously and deliberately choose to use the term parental alienation in the courtroom. Their argument may go along these lines: “I fully recognize that there is such a disease as the PAS. I have seen many such cases and it is a widespread phenomenon. However, if I mention PAS in my report, I expose myself to criticism in the courtroom such as, ‘It doesn’t exist,’ ‘It’s not in DSM-IV’ etc. Therefore, I just use PA, and no one denies that.” I can recognize the attractiveness of this argument, but I have serious reservations about this way of dealing with the controversy—especially in a court of law.

Using PA is basically a terrible disservice to the PAS family because the cause of the children’s alienation is not properly identified. It is also a compromise in one’s obligation to the court, which is to provide accurate and useful information so that the court will be in the best position to make a proper ruling. Using PA is an abrogation of this responsibility; using PAS is in the service of fulfilling this obligation.

Furthermore, evaluators who use PA instead of PAS are losing sight of the fact that they are impeding the general acceptance of the term in the courtroom. This is a disservice to the legal system, because it deprives the legal network of the more specific PAS diagnosis that could be more helpful to courts for dealing with such families. Moreover, using the PA term is shortsighted because it lessens the likelihood that some future edition of DSM will recognize the subtype of PA that we call PAS. This not only has diagnostic implications, but even more importantly, therapeutic implications. The diagnoses included in the DSM serve as a foundation for treatment. The symptoms listed therein serve as guidelines for therapeutic interventions and goals. Insurance companies (who are always quick to look for reasons to deny coverage) strictly refrain from providing coverage for any disorder not listed in the DSM. Accordingly, PAS families cannot expect to be covered for treatment. I describe below additional diagnoses that are applicable to the PAS, diagnoses that justify requests for insurance coverage. Examiners in both the mental health and legal professions who genuinely recognize the PAS, but who refrain from using the term until it appears in DSM, are lessening the likelihood that it will ultimately be included, because widespread utilization is one of the criteria that DSM committees consider. Such restraint, therefore, is an abrogation of their responsibility to contribute to the enhancement of knowledge in their professions.

There is, however, a compromise. I use PAS in all those reports in which I consider the diagnosis justified. I also use the PAS term throughout my testimony. However, I sometimes make comments along these lines, both in my reports and in my testimony:

Although I have used the term PAS, the important questions for the court are: Are these children alienated? What is the cause of the alienation? and What can we then do about it? So if one wants to just use the term PA, one has learned something. But we haven’t really learned very much, because everyone involved in this case knows well that the children have been alienated. The question is what is the cause of the children’s alienation? In this case the alienation is caused by the mother’s (father’s) programming and something must be done about protecting the children from the programming. That is the central issue for this court in this case, and it is more important than whether one is going to call the disorder PA or PAS, even though I strongly prefer the PAS term for the reasons already given.

In addition, if the court does not wish to recognize the PAS diagnosis there are other DSM-IV diagnoses that are very much applicable in this case. For the alienating father (mother) the following diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). For the PAS child the following DSM-IV diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). With regard to the alienated parent, the mother (father), no DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted. (However, a DSM-IV diagnosis may be warranted, but generally it is not related to the PAS as the symptoms have not played a role in contributing to the disorder).

I wish to emphasize that I do not routinely include this compromise, because whenever I do so, I recognize that I am providing support for those who are injudiciously eschewing the term and compromising thereby their professional obligations to their clients and the court.

Warshak (1999, 2001), has also addressed the PA vs. PAS controversy. He emphasizes the point that espousers of both PA and PAS agree that in the severe cases the only hope for the victimized children is significant restriction of the programmer’s access to the children and, in many cases, custodial transfer—sometimes via a transitional site. Warshak concludes that the arguments for the utilization for PAS outweigh the arguments for the utilization of PA, although he has more sympathy for the PA position than do I. Elsewhere, I have also addressed myself to this issue (Gardner, 2002).

DSM-IV Diagnoses Related to the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Examiners writing reports for and testifying in courts of law can generally find diagnoses in DSM-IV that are immune to the argument, “It doesn’t exist because it’s not in DSM-IV.” These diagnoses are not identical to the PAS, but they have common elements that can justify their utilization. None of them, however, are identical to the PAS and cannot be used as substitutes for it. I present here those that are most applicable and potentially useful in courts of law.

Diagnoses Applicable to Both Alienating Parents and PAS Childrem

297.3 Shared Psychotic Disorder

     

  1. A delusion develops in an individual in the context of a close relationship with another person(s) who has an already-established delusion.
  2. The delusion is similar in content to that of the person who already has the established delusion.
  3.  

This DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted in some of the severe PAS cases in which the programmer is paranoid, and the child’s campaign of denigration incorporates the same paranoid ideation. In a sense, most of the moderate, and even some of the mild cases of PAS, are examples of the folie à deux phenomenon. However, one cannot justifiably consider the mild and moderate cases of PAS to warrant the label psychotic with the implication of complete break with reality. In severe cases we do see bona fide delusions of persecution that can justifiably be considered paranoid. Most often, the delusional system is circumscribed to the alienated parent. It is important to note that this single diagnosis can be applied to both the alienator and the alienated child.

V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem

This category should be used when the focus of clinical attention is a pattern of interaction between parent and child (e.g., impaired communication, overprotection, inadequate discipline) that is associated with clinically significant impairment in individual or family functioning or the development of clinically significant symptoms in parent or child.

This diagnosis generally applies to a dyad. Obviously, there are a wide variety of parent-child relational problems that have nothing to do with PAS. In fact, it is reasonable to state that parent-child relational problems probably began with the first families that existed. This diagnosis is an excellent example of the aforementioned principle that none of the DSM-IV diagnoses described here can be reasonably substituted for the PAS. Rather, they are best viewed as disorders that have some symptoms in common with the PAS and may therefore justify being listed as additional diagnoses.

In the PAS situation there is a pathological dyad between the alienating parent and the child and another pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child. The pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child is one in which the child is being programmed into a campaign of denigration against the previously loving parent. The child is being programmed to exhibit any and all of the primary symptomatic manifestations of the PAS. With regard to the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, the child exhibits inordinate hostility, denigration, and fear of the target parent to the point where that parent is viewed as noxious and loathsome. Examiners using this criterion do well to emphasize that two separate parent-child relational problems are manifested.

Diagnoses Applicable to Alienating Parents

297.71 Delusional Disorder

     

  1. Nonbizarre delusions (i.e., involving situations that occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, infected, loved at a distance, or deceived by spouse or lover, or having a disease) of at least 1 month’s duration.
  2.  

Of the various subtypes of delusional disorder, the one that is most applicable to the PAS:

Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way

This diagnosis is generally applicable to the PAS indoctrinator who may initially recognize that the complaints about the behavior of the alienated parent are conscious and deliberate fabrications. However, over time, the fabrications may become delusions, actually believed by the programming parent. And the same process may ultimately be applicable to the child. Specifically, at first the child may recognize that the professions of hatred are feigned and serve to ingratiate the child to the programmer. However, over time the child may come to actually believe what were originally conscious and deliberate fabrications. When that point is reached the delusional disorder diagnosis is applicable to the child. Generally, this diagnosis is applicable to relentless programmers who are obsessed with their hatred of the victim parent, by which time the child will have probably entered the severe level of PAS. It is to be noted that when the PAS is present, most often one observes a circumscribed delusional system, confined almost exclusively to the alienated parent. This diagnosis may also be applicable to the PAS child, especially the child who is in the severe category.

301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder

     

  1. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
    1. suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
    2. is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
    3. is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
    4. reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
    5. persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
    6. perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
    7. has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner
  2.  

PAS programmers who warrant this diagnosis would often satisfy these criteria before the marital separation. A detailed history from the victim parent as well as collaterals may be important because the programming parent is not likely to directly reveal such symptoms. They may, however, reveal them in the course of the evaluation, because they are such deep-seated traits, and are so deeply embedded in their personality structure, that they cannot be hidden. Most people involved in protracted child-custody litigation become “a little paranoid,” and this is often revealed by elevations on the paranoid scale of the MMPI. After all, there are indeed people who are speaking behind the patient’s back, are plotting against them, and are developing schemes and strategies with opposing lawyers. This reality results in an elevation of the paranoid scale in people who would not have manifested such elevations prior to the onset of the litigation. We see here how adversarial proceedings intensify psychopathology in general (Gardner, 1986), and in this case, paranoid psychopathology especially. The PAS child is less likely to warrant this diagnosis. When the severe level is reached PAS children may warrant the aforementioned Shared Psychotic Disorder diagnosis. On occasion, the diagnosis Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type (295.30) is warranted for the programming parent, but such patients generally exhibited other manifestations of schizophrenia, especially prior to the separation. It goes beyond the purposes of this paper to detail the marital symptoms of schizophrenia which should be investigated if the examiner has reason to believe that this diagnosis may be applicable.

It is important for the examiner to appreciate that there is a continuum from delusional disorder, to paranoid personality disorder, to paranoid schizophrenia. Furthermore, in the course of protracted litigation, a patient may move along the track from the milder to a more severe disorder on this continuum.

301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
    Note:Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
    Note Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
  10.  

Some alienators may exhibit some of these symptoms prior to the separation. However, as a result of the stresses of the separation, the symptoms may progress to the point where the diagnosis is applicable. Criterion (1) is likely to be exhibited soon after the separation because the marital dissolution is generally associated with real feelings of abandonment. Criterion (2) is often seen when there is a dramatic shift from idealization of the spouse to extreme devaluation. The campaign of denigration is the best example of this manifestation of BPD.

Criterion (4) may manifest itself by excessive spending, especially when such spending causes significant stress and grief to the alienated parent. Following the separation, alienating parents may satisfy Criterion (6) with affect instability, irritability, and intense episodic dysphoria. Although such reactions are common among most people involved in a divorce, especially when litigating the divorce, patients with BPD exhibit these symptoms to an even greater degree. Chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion [7]) go beyond those that are generally felt by people following a separation. Criterion (8) is extremely common among PAS programmers. The tirades of anger against the alienated parent serve as a model for the child and contribute to the development of the campaign of denigration. The stress-related paranoia, an intensification of the usual suspiciousness exhibited by people involved in litigation, may reach the point that Criterion (9) is satisfied.

The examiner should note which of the symptoms are present and comment: “Five criteria need to be satisfied for the BPD diagnosis. Ms. X satisfies four. Although she does not qualify for the diagnosis at this point, she is at high risk for its development. Furthermore, when one lists diagnoses at the end of the report one might note the DSM-IV diagnosis and add in parenthesis “incipient.”

301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
  10.  

My experience has been that most PAS indoctrinators do not satisfy enough criteria (five) to warrant this diagnosis. However, many do exhibit three or four of them, which is worthy of the examiner’s attention and should be noted in the report.

Criterion (5) is especially common in PAS indoctrinators. They act as if court orders have absolutely nothing to do with them, even though their names may be specifically spelled out in the ruling. Unfortunately, they often violate these orders with impunity because courts are typically lax with regard to implementing punitive measures for PAS contemnors. As mentioned in other publications of mine (Gardner, 1998; 2001), the failure of courts to take action against PAS programmers is one of the most common reasons why the symptoms become entrenched in the children.

Criterion (6) is often frequently satisfied by the programmer’s ongoing attempts to extract ever more money from the victim parent, but feels little need to allow access to the children. There is no sense of shame or guilt over this common form of exploitation. The programmer’s lack of empathy and sympathy for the victim parent is quite common and easily satisfies Criterion (7). The PAS, by definition, is a disorder in which a programmer tries to destroy the bond between the children and a good, loving parent. In order to accomplish the goal, the alienator must have a serious deficiency in the ability to empathize with the target parent. Criterion (9) is often seen in that PAS indoctrinators are often haughty and arrogant and this symptom goes along with their sense of entitlement. Again, if warranted, the diagnosis can be listed as “incipient.”

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to PAS Children

312.8 Conduct Disorder

  1. A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three (or more) of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months:
  2.  

This diagnosis is often applicable to the PAS child, especially in situations when the conduct disturbances are the most salient manifestation. Under such circumstances, an examiner who is not familiar with the PAS may erroneously conclude that this is the only diagnosis. Such a conclusion necessitates selective inattention to the programming process, which is the hallmark of the PAS. Once again, we see here how a diagnosis, although in DSM-IV, cannot be used as a substitute for the PAS, but may be used as an additional diagnosis. I will not list here all 15 of the DSM-IV criteria, but only those that are most applicable to the PAS:

    Aggression to people and animals

     

  1. often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
  2. often initiates physical fights
  3. has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)
  4. has been physically cruel to animals
  5. has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery) Destruction of property
  6. has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage
  7. has deliberately destroyed others’ property (other than by fire setting)Deceitfulness or theft
  8. often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., “cons” others)
  9. has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)Serious violations of rules
  10. has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period
  11.  

As can be seen, most of the 15 criteria for the conduct disorder diagnosis can be satisfied by PAS children, especially those in the severe category. The target parent is very much scapegoated and victimized by PAS children. In severe cases they are screamed at, intimidated, and sometimes physically assaulted with objects such as bats, bottles, and knives. The child may perpetrate acts of sabotage in the home of the victim parent. Destruction of property in that person’s home is common and, on rare occasion, even fire setting. Deceitfulness is common, especially fabrications facilitated and supported by the alienator. Stealing things, such as legal documents and important records, and bringing them to the home of the alienator is common. Running away from the home of the target parent and returning to the home of the alienator is common, especially in moderate and severe cases.

309.21 Separation Anxiety Disorder

     

  1. Developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached, as evidenced by three (or more) of the following:
  2.  

I reproduce here those of the eight criteria that are applicable to the PAS:

1) recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

4) persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation

8) repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

It is important for the reader to appreciate that the original diagnosis for separation anxiety disorder was school phobia. The term separation anxiety disorder is a relatively recent development emerging from the recognition that the child’s fear was less that of the school per se and much more related to the fear of separation from a parent, commonly an overprotective mother (Gardner, 1985b). DSM-IV recognizes this and doesn’t necessarily require the school to be the object of fear, but rather separation from the home, especially from someone with whom the child is pathologically attached.

It is important to note that the PAS child’s hatred of the victim parent has less to do with actual dislike of that parent and has much more to do with fear that if affection is displayed toward the target parent, the alienating parent will be angry at and rejecting of the child. At the prospect of going with the victim parent, the child may exhibit a wide variety of psychosomatic symptoms, all manifestations of the tension associated with the visit. The distress may be especially apparent when the alienating parent is at the site of the transfer. The child recognizes that expression of willingness or happiness to go off with the alienated parent might result in rejection by the alienator. The separation anxiety disorder diagnosis is most often applicable to the mild and moderate cases of PAS. In the severe cases, the anxiety element is less operative than the anger element.

When applying these criteria to the PAS child, one does well to substitute the PAS indoctrinating parent for the parent with whom the child is pathologically attached. At the same time one should substitute the alienated parent for the school or other place outside the child’s home. When one does this, one can see how most of the aforementioned criteria apply. When the child with a separation anxiety disorder is fearful of leaving the home to go to many destinations, the school is the destination the child most fears. It is there that the child feels imprisoned. In contrast, PAS children generally fear only the target parent and are not afraid to leave the programming parent and go elsewhere, such as to the homes of friends and relatives. In short, the PAS child’s fear is focused on the alienated parent. In contrast, the child with a separation anxiety disorder has fears that focus on school but which have spread to many other situations and destinations.

300.15 Dissociative Disorder
Not Otherwise Specified

This category is included for disorders in which the predominant feature is a dissociative symptom (i.e., a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment) that does not meet the criteria for any specific Dissociative Disorder. Examples include:

     

  1. States of dissociation that occur in individuals who have been subjected to periods of prolonged and coercive persuasion (e.g., brainwashing, thought reform, or indoctrination while captive).
  2.  

Of the four categories of dissociative disorder (NOS), only Category 3 is applicable to the PAS. This criterion was designed for people who have been subjected to cult indoctrinations or for military prisoners subjected to brainwashing designed to convert their loyalty from their homeland to the enemy that has imprisoned them. It is very applicable to PAS children, especially those in the severe category. Such children have been programmed to convert their loyalty from a loving parent to the brainwashing parent exclusively. Cult victims and those subjected to prisoner indoctrinations often appear to be in a trance-like state in which they profess their indoctrinations in litany-like fashion. PAS children as well (especially those in the severe category) are often like robots or automatons in the way in which they profess the campaign of denigration in litany-like fashion. They seem to be in an altered state of consciousness when doing so.

Adjustment Disorders

The following subtypes of adjustment disorders are sometimes applicable to PAS children:

309.0 With Depressed Mood.

309.24 With Anxiety.

309.28 With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.

309.3 With Disturbance of Conduct.

309.4 With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct

Each of these types of adjustment disorders may be applicable to the PAS child. The child is indeed adjusting to a situation in which one parent is trying to convince the youngster that a previously loving, dedicated, and loyal parent has really been noxious, loathsome, and dangerous. The programmed data does not seem to coincide with what the child has experienced. This produces confusion. The child fears that any expression of affection for the target parent will result in rejection by the alienator. Under such circumstances, the child may respond with anxiety, depression, and disturbances of conduct.

313.9 Disorder of Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence Not Otherwise Specified

This category is a residual category for disorders with onset in infancy, childhood, or adolescence that do not meet criteria for any specific order in the Classification.

This would be a “last resort” diagnosis for the PAS child, the child who, although suffering with a PAS, does not have symptoms that warrant other DSM-IV childhood diagnoses. However, if one still feels the need to use a DSM-IV diagnosis, especially if the report will be compromised without one, then this last-resort diagnosis can justifiably be utilized. However, it is so vague that it says absolutely nothing other than that the person who is suffering with this disorder is a child. I do not recommend its utilization because of its weakness and because it provides practically no new information to the court.

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to Alienated Parents

In most PAS cases, a diagnosis is not warranted for the alienated parent. On occasion that parent does warrant a DSM-IV diagnosis, but its applicability usually antedated the separation and usually has not played a role in the PAS development or promulgation. As mentioned elsewhere (Gardner, 2001), the primary problem I have seen with alienated parents is their passivity. They are afraid to implement traditional disciplinary and punitive measures with their children, lest they alienate them even further. And they are afraid to criticize the alienator because of the risk that such criticism will be reported to the court and compromise even further their position in the child-custody litigation. Generally, their passivity is not so deep-seated that they would warrant DSM-IV diagnoses such as avoidant personality disorder (301.82) or dependent personality disorder (301.6), because such passivity does not extend into other areas of life and did not antedate the marital separation. One could argue that they have an adjustment disorder, but there is no DSM diagnosis called “adjustment disorder, with passivity.” Accordingly, I will often state for alienated parents, “No Axis 1 diagnosis.”

If, indeed, the alienated parent did suffer with a psychiatric disorder that contributed to the alienation, then this should be noted. Certainly, there are situations in which the alienated parent’s psychiatric disorder is so profound that it is the primary cause of the children’s alienation. In such cases, the PAS diagnosis is not warranted. Under such circumstances, this disorder should be described instead as the cause of the children’s alienation.

Final Comments About Alternative DSM-IV Diagnoses for the PAS

As mentioned, the primary reason for using these diagnoses is that the PAS, at this point, is not recognized in some courts of law. They cannot be used as substitute diagnoses for the PAS, but sometimes share in common some of the symptoms. Accordingly, they can be used as additional diagnoses. It is too early to expect widespread recognition because it was not feasible for the PAS to have been placed in the 1994 edition, so few were the publications on the disorder when the preparatory committees were meeting. This will certainly not be the case when the committees meet in the next few years for the preparation of DSM-V, which is scheduled for publication in 2010. None of the aforementioned substitute diagnoses are fully applicable to the PAS; however, as mentioned, each one has certain characteristics which overlap the PAS diagnosis. Because no combination of these alternative diagnoses can properly replace the PAS, they should be used in addition to rather than instead of the PAS. There is hardly a diagnosis in DSM-IV that does not share symptoms in common with other diagnoses. There is significant overlap and often fluidity in DSM diagnoses. None are “pure,” but some are purer than others, and the PAS is one of the purer ones.

At this point, examiners who conclude that PAS is an applicable diagnosis do well to list it in the appropriate place(s) in their reports (especially at the end). At the same time, they do well to list any DSM-IV diagnoses that are applicable for the alienator, the alienated child, and (if warranted) for the alienated parent. Accordingly, even if the court will not recognize the PAS diagnosis, it will have a more difficult time ignoring these alternative DSM diagnoses.

Conclusions

Controversies are likely when a new disorder is first described. This is predictable. The PAS, however, has probably generated more controversy than most new diagnostic contributions. The primary reason for this is that the PAS is very much a product of the adversary legal system that adjudicates child-custody disputes. Under such circumstances, it behooves opposing attorneys to discredit the contribution and to find every argument possible for obstructing its admission into courts of law. And this is what happened with the PAS. The purpose of this article has been to help evaluators involved in such disputes understand better the nature of the controversy and to deal with it in the context of the present legal situation. Like all compromises, the solution is not perfect. None of the additional diagnoses are identical to the PAS, but they do serve a purpose in a court of law in that they are established psychiatric diagnoses that are applicable to PAS alienators, PAS children, and (on occasion) the alienated parent. Ultimately, if PAS is admitted into DSM-V, the main argument for its inadmissibility in courts of law will no longer be applicable and the need for listing these additional diagnoses in courts of law will be reduced.

References

American Psychiatric Association (1994), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised (DSM-IV). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Boyd v. Kilgore, 773 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) (Prohibition Denied)

Kilgore v. Boyd, 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, FL., Case No. 94-7573, 733 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) Jan 30, 2001

Gardner, R. A. (1985a), Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. The Academy Forum, 29(2):3-7.

_______ (1985b), Separation Anxiety Disorder: Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1986), Child Custody Litigation: A Guide for Parents and Mental Health Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sex Abuse. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), Child Custody. In Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry, ed. J. Noshpitz, Vol. V, pp. 637-646. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

_______ (1989), Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1992), The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1998), The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

________ (2001), Therapeutic Interventions for Children with Parental Alienation Syndrome. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (2002), Parental alienation syndrome vs. parental alienation: Which diagnosis should be used in child-custody litigation? The American Journal of Family Therapy, 30(2):101-123.

rgardner.com, Articles in Peer-reviewed journals and Published Books on the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). www.rgardner.com/refs

_______, Testimony Concerning the Parental Alienation Syndrome Has Been Admitted in Courts of Law in Many States and Countries. www.rgardner.com/refs

Warshak, R. A. (1999), Psychological syndromes: Parental alienation syndrome. Expert Witness Manual, Chapter 3-32. Dallas, TX:State Bar of Texas, Family Law Section.

_______ (2001), Current controversies regarding parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 19(3):29-59.

©2002 Richard A. Gardner, M.D.

Parental Alienation Syndrome: How to Detect It and What to Do About It

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, mothers rights, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders on November 6, 2009 at 1:45 am

by J. Michael Bone and Michael R. Walsh
THE FLORIDA BAR JOURNAL, VOL. 73, No. 3, MARCH 1999, p 44-48

Although parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a familiar term, there is still a great deal of confusion and unclarity about its nature, dimensions, and, therefore, its detection.(1) Its presence, however, is unmistakable. In a longitudinal study of 700 “high conflict” divorce cases followed over 12 years, it was concluded that elements of PAS are present in the vast majority of the samples.(2) Diagnosis of PAS is reserved for mental health professionals who come to the court in the form of expert witnesses.

Diagnostic hallmarks usually are couched in clinical terms that remain vague and open to interpretation and, therefore. susceptible to argument pro and con by opposing experts. The phenomenon of one parent turning the child against the other parent is not a complicated concept, but historically it has been difficult to identify clearly.

Consequently, cases involving PAS are heavily litigated, filled with accusations and counter accusations, and thus leave the court with an endless search for details that eventually evaporate into nothing other than rank hearsay. It is our experience that the PAS phenomenon leaves a trail that can be identified more effectively by removing the accusation hysteria, and looking ahead in another positive direction.

For the purpose of this article the authors are assuming a fair degree of familiarity with parental alienation syndrome on the part of the reader.(3) There are many good writings on PAS which the reader may wish to consult now or in the future for general information. Our focus here is much more narrow. Specifically, the goal is twofold. First we will describe four very specific criteria that can be used to identify potential PAS.

In most instances, these criteria can be identified through the facts of the case, but also can be revealed by deposition or court testimony. Secondly, we wish to introduce the concept of “attempted” PAS; that is when the criteria of PAS are present, but the child is not successfully alienated from the absent parent. This phenomenon is still quite harmful and the fact of children not being alienated should not be viewed as neutral by the court.

Any attempt at alienating the children from the other parent should be seen as a direct and willful violation of one of the prime duties of parenthood.

The criteria described below are fairly easy to identify separate and apart from the court file. When there is uncertainty about any of them, these criteria can be used to guide the attorney in the deposing of witnesses as well as in their examination in court.

Criteria I: Access and Contact Blocking

Criteria I involves the active blocking of access or contact between the child and the absent parent. The rationale used to justify it may well take many different forms. One of the most common is that of protection. It may be argued that the absent parent’s parental judgment is inferior and, therefore, the child is much worse off from the visit. In extreme cases, this will take the form of allegations of child abuse, quite often sexual abuse.

This will be addressed in more detail in Criteria II, but suffice it to say that often this is heard as a reason for visitation to be suspended or even terminated. On a more subtle and common level, an argument heard for the blocking of visitation is that seeing the absent parent is “unsettling” to the child, and that they need time “to adjust.” The message here is that the absent parent is treated less like a key family member and more like an annoying acquaintance that the child must see at times. Over time, this pattern can have a seriously erosive effect on the child’s relationship with the absent parent. An even more subtle expression of this is that the visitation is “inconvenient,” thereby relegating it to the status of an errand or chore. Again the result is the erosion of the relationship between the child and the absent or “target” parent. One phenomenon often seen in this context is that any deviation from the schedule is used as a reason to cancel visitation entirely.

The common thread to all of these tactics is that one parent is superior and the other is not and, therefore, should be peripheral to the child’s life. The alienating parent in these circumstances is acting inappropriately as a gatekeeper for the child to see the absent parent. When this occurs for periods of substantial time, the child is given the unspoken but clear message that one parent is senior to the other. Younger children are more vulnerable to this message and tend to take it uncritically; however, one can always detect elements of it echoed even into the teenage years. The important concept here is that each parent is given the responsibility to promote a positive relationship with the other parent. When this principle is violated in the context of blocking access on a consistent basis, one can assume that Criteria I has been, unmistakably identified.

Criteria II: Unfounded Abuse Allegations

The second criteria is related to false or unfounded accusations of abuse against the absent parent. The most strident expression of this is the false accusation of sexual abuse.(4) It has been well studied that the incident of false allegations of sexual abuse account for over half of those reported, when the parents are divorcing or are in conflict over some post dissolution issue.(5)

This is especially the situation with small children who are more vulnerable to the manipulations implied by such false allegations. When the record shows that even one report of such abuse is ruled as unfounded, the interviewer is well advised to look for other expressions of false accusations.

Other examples of this might be found in allegations of physical abuse that investigators later rule as being unfounded. Interestingly our experience has been that there are fewer false allegations of physical abuse than of other forms of abuse, presumably because physical abuse leaves visible evidence. It is, of course, much easier to falsely accuse someone of something that leaves no physical sign and has no third party witnesses.

A much more common expression of this pattern would be that of what would be termed emotional abuse. When false allegations of emotional abuse are leveled, one often finds that what is present is actually differing parental judgment that is being framed as “abusive” by the absent parent.

For example, one parent may let a child stay up later at night than the other parent would, and this scheduling might be termed as being “abusive” or “detrimental” to the child. Or one parent might introduce a new “significant other” to the child before the other parent believes that they should and this might also be called “abusive” to the child. Alternatively one parent might enroll a child in an activity with which the other parent disagrees and this activity is, in actuality, a difference of parental opinion that is now described as being abusive in nature. These examples, as trivial as they seem individually, may be suggestive of a theme of treating parental difference in inappropriately subjective judgmental terms. If this theme is present, all manner of things can be described in ways that convey the message of abuse, either directly or indirectly. When this phenomenon occurs in literally thousands of different ways and times, each of which seems insignificant on its own, the emotional atmosphere that it creates carries a clearly alienating effect on the child.

Obviously, this type of acrimony is very common in dissolution actions but such conflict should not necessarily be mistaken or be taken as illustrative of the PAS syndrome; however, the criteria is clearly present and identifiable when the parent is eager to hurl abuse allegations, rather than being cautious, careful. and even reluctant to do so. This latter stance is more in keeping with the parent’s responsibility to encourage and affirmatively support a relationship with the other parent. The responsible parent will only allege abuse after he or she has tried and failed to rationalize why the issue at hand is not abusive. Simply put, the responsible parent will give the other parent the benefit of the doubt when such allegations arise. He or she will, if anything, err on the side of denial, whereas the alienating parent will not miss an opportunity to accuse the other parent. When this theme is present in a clear and consistent way, this criteria for PAS is met.

Criteria III: Deterioration in Relationship Since Separation

The third of the criteria necessary for the detection of PAS is probably the least described or identified, but critically is one of the most important. It has to do with the existence of a positive relationship between the minor children and the now absent or nonresidential parent, prior to the marital separation; and a substantial deterioration, of it since then. Such a recognized decline does not occur on its own. It is, therefore, one of the most important indicators of the presence of alienation as well. as a full measure of its relative “success.” By way of example, if a father had a good and involved relationship with the children prior to the separation, and a very distant one since, then one can only assume without explicit proof to the contrary that something caused it to change. If this father is clearly trying to maintain a positive relationship with the children through observance of visitation and other activities and the children do not want to see him or have him involved in their lives, then one can only speculate that an alienation process may have been in operation. Children do not naturally lose interest in and become distant from their nonresidential parent simply by virtue of the absence of that parent. Also, healthy and established parental relationships do not erode naturally of their own accord. They must be attacked. Therefore, any dramatic change in this area is virtually always an indicator of an alienation process that has had some success in the past.

Most notably, if a careful evaluation of the pre-separation parental relationship is not made, its omission creates an impression that the troubled or even alienated status that exists since is more or lees an accurate summary of what existed previously. Note that nothing could be further from the truth! An alienated or even partially or intermittently alienated relationship with the nonresidential parent and the children after the separation is more accurately a distortion of the real parental relationship in question. Its follow-through is often overlooked in the hysterical atmosphere that is often present in these cases. A careful practitioner well knows that a close examination is warranted and that it must be conducted with the utmost detail and scrutiny.

If this piece of the puzzle is left out, the consequences can be quite devastating for the survival of this relationship. Also, without this component, the court can be easily swayed into premature closure or fooled into thinking that the turmoil of the separation environment is representative of the true parent-child relationship. Once this ruling is made by the court, it is an exacting challenge to correct its perception.

In a separate but related issue, a word should be said about the use of experts. First, it must be understood that all mental health professionals are not aware of nor know how to treat the PAS phenomenon. In fact, when a mental health professional unfamiliar with PAS is called upon to make a recommendation about custody, access, or related issues, he or she potentially can do more harm than good. For example, if the psychologist fails to investigate the pre-separation relationship of the nonresidential parent and the children, he or she may very easily mistake the current acrimony in that relationship to be representative of it, and recommend that the children should have less visitation with that parent, obviously supporting the undiagnosed PAS that is still in progress. If that expert also fails to evaluate critically the abuse claims or the agenda of the claimant, they may be taken at face value and again potentially support the undiagnosed PAS. If that professional is not also sensitive to the subtleties of access and contact blocking as its motivator, he or she may potentially support it, thereby contributing to the PAS process. When these things occur, the mental health professional expert has actually become part of the PAS, albeit unwittingly. Alarmingly, this happens often. Suffice it to say, if PAS is suspected, the attorney should closely and carefully evaluate the mental health professional’s investigation and conclusion. Failure to do so can cause irreparable harm to the case, and, ultimately to the children.

Criteria IV: Intense Fear Reaction by Children

The fourth criteria necessary for the detection of PAS is admittedly more psychological than the first three. It refers to an obvious fear reaction on the part of the children, of displeasing or disagreeing with the potentially alienating parent in regard to the absent or potential target parent. Simply put, an alienating parent operates by the adage, “My way or the highway.” If the children disobey this directive, especially in expressing positive approval of the absent parent, the consequences can be very serious. It is not uncommon for an alienating parent to reject the child(ren), often telling him or her that they should go live with the target parent. When this does occur one often sees that this threat is not carried out, yet it operates more as a message of constant warning. The child, in effect, is put into a position of being the alienating parent’s “agent” and is continually being put through various loyalty tests. The important issue here is that the alienating patent thus forces the child to choose parents. This, of course, is in direct opposition to a child’s emotional well being.

In order to fully appreciate this scenario, one must realize that the PAS process operates in a “fear based” environment. It is the installation of fear by the alienating parent to the minor children that is the fuel by which this pattern is driven; this fear taps into what psychoanalysis tell us is the most basic emotion inherent in human nature–the fear of abandonment. Children under these conditions live in a state of chronic upset and threat of reprisal. When the child does dare to defy the alienating parent, they quickly learn that there is a serious price to pay. Consequently, children who live such lives develop an acute sense of vigilance over displeasing the alienating parent. The sensitized observer can see this in visitation plans that suddenly change for no apparent reason. For example, when the appointed time approaches, the child suddenly changes his or her tune and begins to loudly protest a visit that was not previously complained about. It is in these instances that a court, once suspecting PAS must enforce in strict terms the visitation schedule which otherwise would not have occurred or would have been ignored.

The alienating parent can most often be found posturing bewilderment regarding the sudden change in their child’s feelings about the visit. In fact, the alienating parent often will appear to be the one supporting visitation. This scenario is a very common one in PAS families. It is standard because it encapsulates and exposes, if only for an instant, the fear-based core of the alienation process. Another way to express this concept would be that whenever the child is given any significant choice in the visitation, he or she is put in the position to act out a loyalty to the alienating parent’s wishes by refusing to have the visitation at all with the absent parent. Failure to do so opens the door for that child’s being abandoned by the parent with whom the child lives the vast majority of the time. Children, under these circumstances, will simply not opt on their own far a free choice. The court must thus act expeditiously to protect them and employ a host of specific and available remedies.(6)

As a consequence of the foregoing, these children learn to manipulate. Children often play one parent against the other in an effort to gain some advantage. In the case of PAS, the same dynamic operates at more desperate level. No longer manipulating to gain advantage, these children learn to manipulate just to survive. They become expert beyond their years at reading the emotional environment, telling partial truths, and then telling out-and-out lies. One must, however, remember that these are survival strategies that they were forced to learn in order to keep peace at home and avoid emotional attack by the residential parent. Given this understanding, it is perhaps easier to see why children, in an effort to cope with this situation, often find it easier if they begin to internalize the alienating parent’s perceptions of the absent parent and begin to echo these feelings. This is one of the most compelling and dramatic effects of PAS, that is, hearing a child vilifying the absent parent and joining the alienating parent in such attacks. If one is not sensitive to the “fear-based” core at the heart of this, it is difficult not to take the child’s protests at face value. This, of course, is compounded when the expert is also not sensitive to this powerful fear component, and believes that the child is voicing his or her own inner feelings in endorsing the “no visitation” plan.

Conclusion

All the criteria listed above can be found independent of each other in highly contested dissolutions, but remember that the appearance of some of them does not always constitute PAS. When all four are clearly present, however, add the possibility of real abuse has been reasonably ruled out, the parental alienation process is operative. This does not necessarily mean, however, that it is succeeding in that the children are being successfully alienated from the target parent. The best predictor of successful alienation is directly related to the success of the alienating parent at keeping the children from the target parent. When there are substantial periods in which they do not see the other parent, the children are more likely to be poisoned by the process. Another variable that predicts success is the child’s age. Younger children generally are more vulnerable than older ones. Also, another variable is the depth and degree of involvement of the pre-separation parent-child relationship. The longer and more involved that relationship, the less vulnerable will be the children to successful alienation. The final predictor is the parental tenacity of the target parent. A targeted parent often gives up and walks away, thus greatly increasing the chances of successful alienation.

The question remains: What if all four criteria are present, but the children are not successfully alienated? Should this failure at alienation be seen as nullifying the attempt at alienation? The answer to that should be a resounding “No!” It should be, but often it is not. It is very common to read a psychological evaluation or a GAL’s report that identified PAS but then notes that since it was not successful, it should not be taken very seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any attempt at alienating the children from the other parent should be seen as a direct and willful violation of one of the prime duties of parenthood, which is to promote and encourage a positive and loving relationship with the other parent, and the concept of shared parental responsibility.

It is our feeling that when attempted PAS has been identified, successful or not, it must be dealt with swiftly by the court. If it is not, it will contaminate and quietly control all other parenting issues and then lead only to unhappiness, frustration, and, lastly, parental estrangement.

1 PAS syndrome applies and relates equally to the nonresidential, as well as the residential parent. D.C. Rand, The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome. 15 Am. J. Forensic Psychol. No. 3 (1997).

2 S.S. Clawar and B.V. Rivlin, Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children, A.B.A. (1991).

3 M. Walsh and J.M. Bone. Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Age-Old Custody Problem, 71 Fla. B.J. 93 (June 1997).

4 N. Theonnee and P.G. Tjaden, The Extent, Nature and Validity of Sexual Abuse Allegations in Custody Visitation Disputes, 12 Child Abuse and Neglect 151-63 (1990).

5 National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, Washington, D.C.: Department of Health and Human Services, 2998, Contract 105-85-1702.

6 The appointment of a guardian ad litem, the appointment of an expert to conduct a psychological evaluation of the child and the parents, the employment of make-up or substitute access and contact, or an enlargement of same to the nonresidential parent, and as previously suggested by the authors in their last article, a consideration for entry of a multidirectional order. Walsh and Bone, supra note .3

J. Michael Bone, Ph.D., is a sole practice psychotherapist and certified family law mediator in Maitland. He concentrates in divorce and post-divorce issues involving minor children, and has a special interest in PAS. He has served as on expert witness on these and related topics and has been appointed by the court to make recommendations involving PAS and families.

Michael R. Walsh is a sole practitioner in Orlando. He is a board certified marital and family law lawyer, certified mediator and arbitrator, and a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. For more than 20 years, he has been a frequent lecturer and author for The Florida Bar.

This column is submitted on behalf of the Family Law Section, Jane L. Estreicher, chair, and Sharon O. Taylor, editor.

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/walsh99.htm

California Creates New Law Creates Right to Counsel in Civil Cases

In Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Liberty, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders on October 29, 2009 at 7:38 pm

New Law Creates Right to Counsel

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

  • By: Mathew Pordum and Catherine Ho
  • Organization: Daily Journal

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation making California the first state in the nation to establish a right to counsel for low-income people in critical needs civil cases where shelter, sustenance, safety, health or child custody are at stake.

AB 590, one of more than 700 bills that were piled on his desk awaiting action as he tried to find an end to the state’s water woes, was signed Sunday.

“It’s a step in the right direction that people in the legal community have been pursuing and exploring for a long time,” said Gary Blasi, a UCLA law professor who teaches public interest law and writes about advocacy on behalf of the homeless, low-income tenants and low-wage workers. “It’s a small step,” he added, “but an important step that will bring some reality to the motto, ‘Equal Justice Under Law,’ to some poor people in civil settings where they have really critical needs at stake.”

The National Center for State Courts has found more than 4.3 million Californians represent themselves in civil court proceedings, largely because they cannot afford a lawyer.

“This law helps ensure essential legal rights are not sacrificed simply because someone cannot afford to hire a private lawyer,” Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, the bill’s author, said in statement. “The current economic crisis and state budget cuts make this measure more critical than ever. “

California Chief Justice Ronald M. George, who has for many years championed the issue, said in a statement that the legislation “provides an important step in improving access to justice for those most in need.”

Under the law, the Judicial Council is required to establish one or more pilot programs in selected courts across the state for three-year periods.

The pilot program will run from July 1, 2011 until July 1, 2017 and will be funded by a $10 increase in certain court fees, including issuing a writ for enforcement of an order or judgment, issuing an order of sale and filing and entering an award under Workers’ Compensation Law.

To pass the bill, Feuer altered its mechanics, agreeing to divert the revenue it creates to fund court operations during this tight fiscal year. In two years, the revenue from the increase will begin funding the pilot program.

The Assembly passed the legislation by a vote of 52-26, while the Senate passed it 23 to 13.

Julia Wilson, executive director of the Legal Aid Association of California, said she was “gratified to be a part of a bill that recognized this problem.”

“The system is based on the rule of law and the when you have people without representation, the courts become clogged and with the cuts in Legal Aid this solution was really needed,” she said.

Clare Pastore, USC law professor and co-chair of the Right to Counsel Subcommittee in California Access to Justice, said the system starts a process of eliminating the advantage financial resources can provide in legal disputes.

“We’d be appalled on the idea on the criminal side that someone could be brought to trial and stand trial, without ever having a lawyer,” Pastore said. “But that was the state of the law 40 years ago.

One day, the idea that someone could lose their job, children, health insurance – all without entitlement to lawyer – we’ll say that was equally barbaric.

“The system isn’t supposed to be a contest based on resources,” she added.

If the pilot program is successful in California, Pastore she wouldn’t be surprised to see other states implement it as well.

A similar bill was taken up two legislative sessions ago and the governor earmarked $5 million for it, but the measure didn’t pass the Legislature.

Jesse Choper, a professor of public law at UC Berkeley School of Law, said he was surprised the bill got the go-ahead this session, given the state’s budget crisis.

“I think it’s quite extraordinary, in light of the budget constraints we have now,” Choper said. “I’m somewhat surprised it passed and even more surprised it got the governor’s signature. The buck stops on his desk. The problem is, there aren’t bucks that are coming, there’s checks.”

Choper said the question of right to counsel has been dissected for almost than 50 years, since Gideon v. Wainwright required those accused of a crime the right to a court-appointed lawyer.

“This is something that has been long, long advocated,” he said. “I think this will be greeted by people who are interested in the rights of economically deprived folks as an extraordinarily important step.”

New Law Creates Right to Counsel.

Has the American Family Court System Become Totalitarian?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on October 29, 2009 at 7:11 pm

by

A Promise to Ourselves:
A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce

Alec Baldwin
St. Martin’s Press, 2008; 240 pages, $24.95

Taken into Custody:
The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family

Stephen Baskerville
Cumberland House, 2007; 368 pages, $24.95

IN 2007, THE MEDIA HAD A FEEDING FRENZY around a voice-mail message actor Alec Baldwin left his daughter. He screamed at her for not answering her phone. The public was shocked: many assumed that he was yet another self-absorbed celebrity, with neither control over himself nor regard for his daughter. But in fact, Baldwin had been caught in the web of the totalitarian nightmare known as the American family court system. His book, A Promise to Ourselves, tells his particular story, while Stephen Baskerville’s book, Taken Into Custody, presents the general problem of which Baldwin’s story is a particular case.

Alec Baldwin is a divorced father, who had been fighting for six years to have some semblance of a normal relationship with his child. Baldwin’s estranged wife, actress Kim Basinger, had been using the family court system to prevent him from doing what most fathers take for granted: seeing his child, talking with his child, and watching her grow up. A Promise to Ourselves chronicles in sickening detail how the court system serves the most vindictive and ruthless parent.

Even without the book, astute observers of this case realized that something was slightly strange about the claims that Baldwin should be denied access to his child. For instance, who released the tape of the call to the public? None other than Basinger and her attorney, in an attempt to smear Baldwin. What kind of mother would use her daughter as a pawn in a spiteful power game with the child’s father? And, what was the “back story” to this particular phone call? Despite having court authorization for phone contact with his daughter, her cell phone would be turned off for long periods of time. On this particular occasion, she was on spring break with her mother and her phone had been turned off for ten days. Moreover, isn’t this odd all by itself that a father who has committed no crime has to have court permission to speak to his own child?

Now, what the media made Baldwin out to be is conceivable: an abusive, out-of-control father who has inflicted irreparable harm on his daughter through verbal abuse. Yet even if the worst about Baldwin were true (by the way, he offers no excuses for yelling at his daughter), his portrait of the Los Angeles County Family Court remains imminently valuable, as it reveals the extent of power that family courts wield over ordinary citizens. His account cannot be easily dismissed, given the extent of detail that he provides and the fact that it accords with too many other reports of family courts. As he tells his story, the leading character and the true villain is the Los Angeles Family Court system, Lady Macbeth, Iago, and Shylock all rolled into one. Even from the viewpoint of a wealthy and famous man, Baldwin generates plenty of sympathy for the obscure and the less wealthy of both sexes who are caught in the grip of the family court.

He first noticed the financial intrusion. During “financial settlement conferences,” both husbands and wives must reveal all their assets. While Baldwin accepts the necessity of preventing people from hiding their true net worth, he noticed this side effect: “The lawyers on both sides now know, inarguably, how much money you have and, therefore, how deeply into this hole you can go. And they do not hesitate to throw you down as deeply as they possibly can.” Throughout the rest of the story, the lawyers extract as much money as possible from him.

But money isn’t the half of it. Baldwin had to continually look over his shoulder at the court and its representatives to ensure that he did not run afoul of their requirements. He tells of the menagerie of minions appointed by the court to manage the divorcing process and the inevitable post-divorce conflict: forensic accountants, custody evaluators, therapists, visitation supervisors, parenting class instructors, anger management instructors. These are all professionals that most people normally never see, but who have abnormally large impacts on the lives of divorcing families. Think of this: the courts and their appointees are controlling the day-to-day lives of a man innocent of any wrongdoing. A negative report from any one of these professionals can jeopardize a father’s chances of having more time with his own child.

Baldwin does not discuss the ease of divorce ushered by the no-fault divorce revolution. Like most Americans, Baldwin has probably made peace with no-fault divorce, believing easy divorce to be an enhancement of individual liberty. But Baldwin’s story of his life after Basinger decided she had no use for him illustrates that the opposite is more true. Easy divorce opens the door for an unprecedented amount of government intrusion into ordinary people’s lives. This unacknowledged reality is the subject of Taken Into Custody, by Stephen Baskerville. With penetrating insight, the political scientist exposes the truly breathtaking consequences of no-fault divorce for the expansion of state power and the decline of personal autonomy.

First, no-fault divorce frequently means unilateral divorce: one party wants a divorce against the wishes of the other, who wants to stay married. Kim Basinger dumped Baldwin for no particular reason, unleashed the power of the Los Angeles Family Court system to inflict pain on him and, in the process, inflicted untold damage on their child. Second, the fact that one party wants to remain married means that the divorce has to be enforced. Baldwin wanted to stay married and to continue to be a husband and father. Yet, the coercive and intrusive machinery of the state must be wheeled into action to separate the reluctantly divorced party from the joint assets of the marriage, typically the home and the children.

Third, enforcing the divorce means an unprecedented blurring of the boundaries between public and private life. People under the jurisdiction of family courts can have virtually all of their private lives subject to its scrutiny. If the courts are influenced by feminist ideology, that ideology can extend its reach into every bedroom and kitchen in America. Baldwin ran the gauntlet of divorce industry professionals who have been deeply influenced by the feminist presumptions that the man is always at fault and the woman is always a victim. Thus, the social experiment of no-fault divorce, which most Americans thought was supposed to increase personal liberty, has had the consequence of empowering the state.

Some might think the legacy of no-fault divorce is an example of the law of unintended consequences in operation. That assumes its architects did not intend for unilateral divorce to result in the expansion of the state. But Baskerville makes the case in this book—as well as his 2008 monograph, “The Dangerous Rise of Sexual Politics,” in The Family In America—that at least some of the advocates of changes in family law certainly have intended to expand the power of the state over the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

Who are these people? They are the Marxists, who call themselves advocates of women: the feminists. Unbeknownst to the general public, the Marxists have had marriage in their cross-hairs from the very beginning. Frederick Engels, Karl Marx’s closest collaborator, dreams of the mythic, pre-historical, pre-capitalist time in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884). Not only was there primitive communism in which property was owned in common, but there was also group marriage, in which the collective raised the children. Men and women lived together in harmony in groups, having sex without becoming possessive and without caring about the biological relationship between parents and children. Sin entered this Garden of Eden, not through a serpent and an apple, but through the rise of private property and capitalism, monogamous marriage, and patriarchy.

This background ideology explains why the Left—whether the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917 or the Socialist government of Spain in 2005, both of which placed the liberalization of divorce law among their first items of business—has spent so much effort attacking the family in general and marriage in particular. The goal is to return women into “social production” outside the home, where they can be completely independent of the oppression of men. This of course, requires the collective rearing of children. It also requires the obliteration of the distinction between the private sphere of the home and the public reach of the law. Many conservatives, who otherwise are very alert to Leftist ideology, have no idea about this entire effort at centralizing power and insinuating the control of the state into the lives of ordinary people.

Baldwin closes his book with an interview with Jeannie Suk, author of an important 2006 Yale Law Journal article, entitled, “Criminal Law Comes Home.” In this article, Suk expresses second thoughts about some consequences of feminist jurisprudence. For this reason, Baldwin thought the young Harvard law professor would have some sympathy for his situation. Nonetheless, even this relatively sensible law professor has drunk deeply from the feminist fountains. As Baldwin comments after his discussion with her family law class of eighty students:

I was surprised to hear a number of women and men—many more than I would have expected—say that women generally are at risk of male violence. A few students, male and female, even thought the law should view the sex act as subordinating of someone and should assume that sex is rape unless women explicitly and verbally give their consent.

Note the Marxist undercurrent here: the sexual act is a special case of class conflict, with the man as the presumed oppressor and the woman the presumed victim.

More troubling is what Professor Suk admits in her interview with Baldwin:

  • Governance feminism is the idea that feminism, which once criticized the law from the outside, is today actually in charge in many places in the law—among police, prosecutors, lawmakers, judges and other legal actors. The feminism that often ‘governs’ today is that strand developed by legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon and that focuses on the subordination of women by men, particularly in intimate and sexual relationships. Her influence on our legal system’s understandings of men and women cannot be overstated.
  • The overwhelming majority of domestic violence arrests are for misdemeanor crimes, which, by definition, do not involve serious injury . . . . The definition of violence itself has expanded to include a lot of conduct that is not physical violence.
  • Family law is an area where we’ve seen feminist developments that prefer wives over husbands and mothers over fathers . . . . The legal vision of the home has increasingly become that of a man being violent toward his wife.
  • The legal system has little means to distinguish (protective) orders that actually protect endangered women from those sought for strategic reasons.
  • Suk doesn’t seem to realize how indicting these statements sound to someone outside the Feminist Legal Theory Game Preserve. In fact, her Yale Law Journal article reveals that feminists specifically attack the lines between public and private in the interests of protecting women from domestic violence.

    She at least recognizes that the law has gone too far. But her principle complaint is that women’s autonomy interests are compromised. Once the Domestic Violence Machinery has been set into motion, even the victim herself cannot stop it. She reports that approximately 80 percent of domestic violence victims recant or refuse to cooperate after initially filing criminal charges. But she can’t bring herself to point out the injustice to men of being excluded from their own homes, often with minimal evidence. She has absolutely nothing to say about the harms done to children from being pawns in their parents’ quarrels with each other and with the state. The inertia of forty years worthy of Marxism posing as champions of women is so strong that even someone like Professor Suk cannot bear to distance herself from the term “feminism.”

    Likewise, despite the explicit ideological position of the Harvard law students, Baldwin cannot bring himself to be angry:

    I was fascinated to hear some of these law students talk about the world as though men inevitably have the upper hand in relationships and women’s fear of sexual violence is prevalent and normal, not unusual. This picture was so interesting and so foreign to me. In my own experience, women have lots of power of various kinds, and sexual power works both ways.

    Baldwin seems reluctant to conclude that the feminist worldview is not based upon verifiable facts or empirical evidence. The strongest description Baldwin can conjure against the law students is “fascination” and “interesting.” So mesmerized by the terminology of “feminism” that he cannot see that the attitudes of Suk’s students are the very toxins that poisoned his life.

    Fortunately, we have Professor Baskerville as the great theorist of the feminist influence within the divorce-industrial complex. He sees Marxist feminism for what it is: a totalitarian movement that seeks power and control over every aspect of people’s personal lives. The claim of its foot soldiers to be the sole authentic advocates for women has been questionable for some time. But until Americans see that the goal of modern feminism is raw power, even its victims like Alec Baldwin will have trouble freeing themselves from its iron hand.

    Dr. Morse, a former professor of economics at Yale and George Mason University, is founder and president of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage, in San Marcos, California.

     


     

     

    Even without the book, astute observers of this case realized that something was slightly strange about the claims that Baldwin should be denied access to his child. For instance, who released the tape of the call to the public? None other than Basinger and her attorney, in an attempt to smear Baldwin. What kind of mother would use her daughter as a pawn in a spiteful power game with the child’s father? And, what was the “back story” to this particular phone call? Despite having court authorization for phone contact with his daughter, her cell phone would be turned off for long periods of time. On this particular occasion, she was on spring break with her mother and her phone had been turned off for ten days. Moreover, isn’t this odd all by itself that a father who has committed no crime has to have court permission to speak to his own child?

    Now, what the media made Baldwin out to be is conceivable: an abusive, out-of-control father who has inflicted irreparable harm on his daughter through verbal abuse. Yet even if the worst about Baldwin were true (by the way, he offers no excuses for yelling at his daughter), his portrait of the Los Angeles County Family Court remains imminently valuable, as it reveals the extent of power that family courts wield over ordinary citizens. His account cannot be easily dismissed, given the extent of detail that he provides and the fact that it accords with too many other reports of family courts. As he tells his story, the leading character and the true villain is the Los Angeles Family Court system, Lady Macbeth, Iago, and Shylock all rolled into one. Even from the viewpoint of a wealthy and famous man, Baldwin generates plenty of sympathy for the obscure and the less wealthy of both sexes who are caught in the grip of the family court.

    He first noticed the financial intrusion. During “financial settlement conferences,” both husbands and wives must reveal all their assets. While Baldwin accepts the necessity of preventing people from hiding their true net worth, he noticed this side effect: “The lawyers on both sides now know, inarguably, how much money you have and, therefore, how deeply into this hole you can go. And they do not hesitate to throw you down as deeply as they possibly can.” Throughout the rest of the story, the lawyers extract as much money as possible from him.

    But money isn’t the half of it. Baldwin had to continually look over his shoulder at the court and its representatives to ensure that he did not run afoul of their requirements. He tells of the menagerie of minions appointed by the court to manage the divorcing process and the inevitable post-divorce conflict: forensic accountants, custody evaluators, therapists, visitation supervisors, parenting class instructors, anger management instructors. These are all professionals that most people normally never see, but who have abnormally large impacts on the lives of divorcing families. Think of this: the courts and their appointees are controlling the day-to-day lives of a man innocent of any wrongdoing. A negative report from any one of these professionals can jeopardize a father’s chances of having more time with his own child.

    Baldwin does not discuss the ease of divorce ushered by the no-fault divorce revolution. Like most Americans, Baldwin has probably made peace with no-fault divorce, believing easy divorce to be an enhancement of individual liberty. But Baldwin’s story of his life after Basinger decided she had no use for him illustrates that the opposite is more true. Easy divorce opens the door for an unprecedented amount of government intrusion into ordinary people’s lives. This unacknowledged reality is the subject of Taken Into Custody, by Stephen Baskerville. With penetrating insight, the political scientist exposes the truly breathtaking consequences of no-fault divorce for the expansion of state power and the decline of personal autonomy.

    First, no-fault divorce frequently means unilateral divorce: one party wants a divorce against the wishes of the other, who wants to stay married. Kim Basinger dumped Baldwin for no particular reason, unleashed the power of the Los Angeles Family Court system to inflict pain on him and, in the process, inflicted untold damage on their child. Second, the fact that one party wants to remain married means that the divorce has to be enforced. Baldwin wanted to stay married and to continue to be a husband and father. Yet, the coercive and intrusive machinery of the state must be wheeled into action to separate the reluctantly divorced party from the joint assets of the marriage, typically the home and the children.

    Third, enforcing the divorce means an unprecedented blurring of the boundaries between public and private life. People under the jurisdiction of family courts can have virtually all of their private lives subject to its scrutiny. If the courts are influenced by feminist ideology, that ideology can extend its reach into every bedroom and kitchen in America. Baldwin ran the gauntlet of divorce industry professionals who have been deeply influenced by the feminist presumptions that the man is always at fault and the woman is always a victim. Thus, the social experiment of no-fault divorce, which most Americans thought was supposed to increase personal liberty, has had the consequence of empowering the state.

    Some might think the legacy of no-fault divorce is an example of the law of unintended consequences in operation. That assumes its architects did not intend for unilateral divorce to result in the expansion of the state. But Baskerville makes the case in this book—as well as his 2008 monograph, “The Dangerous Rise of Sexual Politics,” in The Family In America—that at least some of the advocates of changes in family law certainly have intended to expand the power of the state over the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

    Who are these people? They are the Marxists, who call themselves advocates of women: the feminists. Unbeknownst to the general public, the Marxists have had marriage in their cross-hairs from the very beginning. Frederick Engels, Karl Marx’s closest collaborator, dreams of the mythic, pre-historical, pre-capitalist time in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884). Not only was there primitive communism in which property was owned in common, but there was also group marriage, in which the collective raised the children. Men and women lived together in harmony in groups, having sex without becoming possessive and without caring about the biological relationship between parents and children. Sin entered this Garden of Eden, not through a serpent and an apple, but through the rise of private property and capitalism, monogamous marriage, and patriarchy.

    This background ideology explains why the Left—whether the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917 or the Socialist government of Spain in 2005, both of which placed the liberalization of divorce law among their first items of business—has spent so much effort attacking the family in general and marriage in particular. The goal is to return women into “social production” outside the home, where they can be completely independent of the oppression of men. This of course, requires the collective rearing of children. It also requires the obliteration of the distinction between the private sphere of the home and the public reach of the law. Many conservatives, who otherwise are very alert to Leftist ideology, have no idea about this entire effort at centralizing power and insinuating the control of the state into the lives of ordinary people.

    Baldwin closes his book with an interview with Jeannie Suk, author of an important 2006 Yale Law Journal article, entitled, “Criminal Law Comes Home.” In this article, Suk expresses second thoughts about some consequences of feminist jurisprudence. For this reason, Baldwin thought the young Harvard law professor would have some sympathy for his situation. Nonetheless, even this relatively sensible law professor has drunk deeply from the feminist fountains. As Baldwin comments after his discussion with her family law class of eighty students:

    I was surprised to hear a number of women and men—many more than I would have expected—say that women generally are at risk of male violence. A few students, male and female, even thought the law should view the sex act as subordinating of someone and should assume that sex is rape unless women explicitly and verbally give their consent.

    Note the Marxist undercurrent here: the sexual act is a special case of class conflict, with the man as the presumed oppressor and the woman the presumed victim.

    More troubling is what Professor Suk admits in her interview with Baldwin:

  • Governance feminism is the idea that feminism, which once criticized the law from the outside, is today actually in charge in many places in the law—among police, prosecutors, lawmakers, judges and other legal actors. The feminism that often ‘governs’ today is that strand developed by legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon and that focuses on the subordination of women by men, particularly in intimate and sexual relationships. Her influence on our legal system’s understandings of men and women cannot be overstated.
  • The overwhelming majority of domestic violence arrests are for misdemeanor crimes, which, by definition, do not involve serious injury . . . . The definition of violence itself has expanded to include a lot of conduct that is not physical violence.
  • Family law is an area where we’ve seen feminist developments that prefer wives over husbands and mothers over fathers . . . . The legal vision of the home has increasingly become that of a man being violent toward his wife.
  • The legal system has little means to distinguish (protective) orders that actually protect endangered women from those sought for strategic reasons.
  • Suk doesn’t seem to realize how indicting these statements sound to someone outside the Feminist Legal Theory Game Preserve. In fact, her Yale Law Journal article reveals that feminists specifically attack the lines between public and private in the interests of protecting women from domestic violence.

    She at least recognizes that the law has gone too far. But her principle complaint is that women’s autonomy interests are compromised. Once the Domestic Violence Machinery has been set into motion, even the victim herself cannot stop it. She reports that approximately 80 percent of domestic violence victims recant or refuse to cooperate after initially filing criminal charges. But she can’t bring herself to point out the injustice to men of being excluded from their own homes, often with minimal evidence. She has absolutely nothing to say about the harms done to children from being pawns in their parents’ quarrels with each other and with the state. The inertia of forty years worthy of Marxism posing as champions of women is so strong that even someone like Professor Suk cannot bear to distance herself from the term “feminism.”

    Likewise, despite the explicit ideological position of the Harvard law students, Baldwin cannot bring himself to be angry:

    I was fascinated to hear some of these law students talk about the world as though men inevitably have the upper hand in relationships and women’s fear of sexual violence is prevalent and normal, not unusual. This picture was so interesting and so foreign to me. In my own experience, women have lots of power of various kinds, and sexual power works both ways.

    Baldwin seems reluctant to conclude that the feminist worldview is not based upon verifiable facts or empirical evidence. The strongest description Baldwin can conjure against the law students is “fascination” and “interesting.” So mesmerized by the terminology of “feminism” that he cannot see that the attitudes of Suk’s students are the very toxins that poisoned his life.

    Fortunately, we have Professor Baskerville as the great theorist of the feminist influence within the divorce-industrial complex. He sees Marxist feminism for what it is: a totalitarian movement that seeks power and control over every aspect of people’s personal lives. The claim of its foot soldiers to be the sole authentic advocates for women has been questionable for some time. But until Americans see that the goal of modern feminism is raw power, even its victims like Alec Baldwin will have trouble freeing themselves from its iron hand.

    Dr. Morse, a former professor of economics at Yale and George Mason University, is founder and president of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage, in San Marcos, California.

    The Family in America:
    Retrospective and Prospective
    Allan C. Carlson

    The Deconstruction of Marriage,
    Part 1:

    The Law and Economics of Unilateral
    No-Fault Divorce

    George Steven Swan

    The Message in the Meltdown:
    How the Downturn Reveals Forgotten
    Family Assets

    Bryce J. Christensen

    Counting the Cost of Divorce:
    What Those Who Know Better Rarely
    Acknowledge

    David G. Schramm

    BOOK REVIEWS
    The Striking Contradiction of a
    Sociologist Under the Spell of
    Feminism

    The Marriage-Go-Round
    by Andrew J. Cherlin
    Reviewed by Kay S. Hymowitz

    Has the American Family Court
    System Become Totalitarian?

    A Promise to Ourselves
    by Alec Baldwin
    Taken into Custody
    by Stephen Baskerville
    Reviewed by Jennifer Roback Morse

    Reason to Quiver?
    Quiverfull
    by Kathryn Joyce
    Reviewed by William R. Mattox Jr.

    The Marriage Tango
    Bad Girls Go Everywhere
    by Jennifer Scanlon
    Beside Every Successful Man
    by Megan Basham
    Reviewed by Janice Shaw Crouse

    NEW RESEARCH
    Bryce J. Christensen and
    Robert W. Patterson

    The Family in America
    A Journal of Public Policy

    Volume 23 Number 3 Fall 2009

    Founding Editor and Publisher
    Allan C. Carlson

    Editor
    Robert W. Patterson

    Editor-at-Large
    Bryce J. Christensen

    Editorial Board of Advisors
    Stephen Baskerville
    Allan R. Crippen II
    William A. Donohue
    Rod Dreher
    William C. Duncan
    Patrick F. Fagan
    Bruce P. Frohnen
    Kay S. Hymowitz
    Bill Kauffman
    Peter Augustine Lawler
    Phillip J. Longman
    William R. Mattox Jr.
    Paul T. Mero
    Mark T. Mitchell
    Douglas C. Minson
    Jennifer Roback Morse
    John D. Mueller
    Brian C. Robertson
    Lynn D. Wardle
    W. Bradford Wilcox
    Richard G. Wilkins
    Charmaine Crouse Yoest

    The Family in America.

    World Congress of Families Counters Feminist Disinformation on UN Resolution Supporting ‘Traditional Values’ – Christian Newswire

    In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Marriage, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads on October 27, 2009 at 4:29 pm
    World Congress of Families Counters Feminist Disinformation on UN Resolution Supporting ‘Traditional Values’

    Contact: Don Feder, Communications Director, World Congress of Families, 508-405-1337, dfeder@rcn.com; The Howard Center at 815-964-5819

    MEDIA ADVISORY, Oct. 22 /Christian Newswire/ — World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs decried what he called “feminist disinformation” on a resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council affirming “traditional values.”  The resolution also calls for a UN workshop in 2010 to examine the way traditional values are the foundation for human rights: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/sdpage_e.aspx?b=10&se=100&t=4.

    Sponsored by the Russian Federation, the resolution was passed by a vote of 26 to 15, with 6 abstentions.  Just like the Amsterdam Declaration adopted by World Congress of  Families V (www.worldcongress.org/WCF5/wcf5.dec.htm), the resolution reaffirms the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Feminists have since gone ballistic, citing the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, who identifies “traditional practices” to include “female genital mutilation, honor killings, spousal abuse, dowry-related violence and customary laws that deny women equality.”

    Jacobs responded: “Only radical feminists would consider honor killings and female genital mutilation to be ‘traditional values.’ These odious practices of violence are confined to a few societies worldwide, and should continue to be eradicated.”

    Jacobs continued: “When the World Congress of Families, and the international pro-family movement, speaks of traditional values, we mean those that support the natural family – including parental rights, respect for the rights of the unborn and infirm, freedom to practice religious faith, and a recognition of the different but co-equal roles of men and women in the family.”

    Even the term “natural family” derives from the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says the family is “the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and the state.”

    Jacobs observes: “In the past, instead of helping women, children and victims of violence by enforcing the existing human rights provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, radical feminists and their allies have used various United Nations agencies to try to force agenda-driven sex education, condom-distribution, abortion, and homosexuality on traditional societies.  The UN Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Traditional Values’ represents a threat to the radical feminist, homosexual and pro-abortion goals, not an endorsement of spousal abuse.”

    Jacobs concluded: “The Russian Federation is to be congratulated for sponsoring this affirmation of the rights of families in the face of various onslaughts by international bodies.  Russia may be prompted in part by its own experience and understandable concern about the nation’s very low birth rate and decline in traditional family formation.  Whatever the reason, we are grateful for Russia’s move in support of traditional values and the natural family.”

    World Congress of Families has held five international Congresses, from 1997 to 2009. The last was World Congress of Families V in Amsterdam, August 10-12 of this year (www.worldcongress.nl).

    For more information on the World Congress of Families, visit www.worldcongress.org.  To schedule an interview with Managing Director Larry Jacobs, contact Communications Director Don Feder at 508-405-1337 or dfeder@rcn.com.

    The World Congress of Families (WCF) is an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and people of goodwill from more than 60  countries that seek to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the ‘seedbed’ of civil society (as found in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948).  The WCF was founded in 1997 by Allan Carlson and is a project of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Rockford, Illinois (www.profam.org).  To date, there have been four World Congresses of Families – Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004) and Warsaw, Poland (2007).  The fifth World Congress of Families was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, August 10-12, 2009 (www.worldcongress.nl and www.worldcongress.org).

    World Congress of Families Counters Feminist Disinformation on UN Resolution Supporting ‘Traditional Values’ – Christian Newswire.

    Spread the Word: Domestic Violence Laws Violate Civil Liberties

    In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents on October 13, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    At her recent keynote address at the annual conference of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Amanda McCormick, an employee of Praxis International, showed overt disdain for male victims of domestic violence. As reported by Trudy Schuett, McCormick announced, I think I know a lot of men who deserve to be beaten.”1

    Praxis International, according to their website, “is a nonprofit research and training organization that works toward the elimination of violence in the lives of women and children…. Since 1996, [they] have worked with advocacy organizations, intervention agencies, and inter-agency collaborations to create a clear and cooperative agenda for social change in their communities.”2

    Over the last fifteen years, in the name of combating domestic violence, an entire area of law has been carved out in which those rights and liberties guaranteed under the Bill of Rights no longer apply. Discrimination against male victims is just one of the many ways domestic violence laws violate civil liberties.

    RADAR has identified that the laws:

    1. Fund education and training programs that stereotype all men as abusers;
    2. Expand the definition of “domestic violence” to include minor verbal disagreements, thus inviting heavy-handed state intervention into private family matters;
    3. Short-circuit due process protections and remove the presumption of innocence;
    4. Provide incentives to file false allegations;
    5. Encourage the issuance of restraining orders, even in the absence of physical violence;
    6. Promote mandatory arrest policies, even for minor violations of civil restraining orders;
    7. Fund “predominant aggressor” policies that profile men as abusers;
    8. Support mandatory prosecution policies;
    9. Refuse legal assistance to persons falsely accused of domestic violence; and
    10. Discriminate against male victims.

    RADAR has prepared a flyer for distribution to help you inform the public. See http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARflyer-DVAM2009-issues.pdf

    Commenting on the flyer, vlogger Bernard Chapin points out that the mainstream media will not cover this story.3 It’s up to all of us who know the truth to spread the word as best we can. Let’s get to it!



    Date of RADAR Release: October 13, 2009

    R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation’s approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org

    Japanese Dads Trying to Start a Fathers’ Rights Wave There | Glenn Sacks on MND

    In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting, UNCRC, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on October 12, 2009 at 6:09 pm
    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    By Robert Franklin, Esq.

    OK, so it’s worse in Japan.

    As this article shows, Japanese divorce law, while nicely gender-neutral in its wording, results in mothers being the overwhelming majority of custodial parents after divorce (Fox News, 10/8/09).  The real difference between Japanese divorce law and that of the U.S. and other western nations is that, post divorce, only one parent is permitted custody.  That is, there’s no “joint custody,” which in the U.S. typically means one parent with physical custody and the other with visitation rights.

    And it should come as no surprise that, in Japan, the parent with custody is the mother in 90% of cases.  That leaves fathers who want a relationship with their children and children who want a relationship with their father out in the cold.  From what the article says, neither seems to have any rights to contact with the other.  One father discussed in the article, Masahiro Yoshida, asked a family court for visitation rights with his daughter and was turned down.  Post-divorce family law places the power to grant or deny father-child contact squarely in the hands of the mother.

    Now, that may seem like merely the official version of what happens unofficially here in the U.S.  Indeed, at first blush, it’s possible to say that the Japanese are just more honest than we are.  They prefer maternal custody.  Period.

    We, on the other hand, make many plaintive bleats about connecting fathers with children.  We occasionally even acknowledge that children are better off with two parents than one.  But then we turn around and give primary custody to mothers 84% of the time.  (Is that so different from the 90% maternal custody in Japan?)  We make a show of granting visitation to fathers, but then don’t enforce the orders.  So children are denied their fathers just as surely as in Japan, just more hypocritically.

    And that’s just one of many ways that we too place almost all power over children in the hands of mothers.  From conception through age 18, any single mother with two brain cells can manage to keep a child from its father legally and without too much effort.

    But in fact, even the U.S. seems to be ahead of Japan in fathers’ rights issues.  Fathers here are becoming more assertive about their rights and courts are starting to listen.  The huge mass of sociology about the benefits of fathers to children is becoming more widely known and acknowledged.  The words “equally shared parenting” are becoming common too.

    Fathers in Japan are starting to get the message.  As the linked-to article says,

    Yoshida has banded together with other divorced fathers to form a support group, one of several that have sprung up in recent years.

    A few lawyers and lawmakers have showed support for their cause. A bar association group is studying parenting and visitation arrangements in other countries such as Australia.

    That’s a long way from an effective movement, but with the rest of the industrialized world moving in the direction of greater protection for the father-child bond, can Japan be far behind?

    Japanese Dads Trying to Start a Fathers’ Rights Wave There | Glenn Sacks on MND.

    Parental Rights – U.N. treaty to muzzle children?

    In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment on October 9, 2009 at 6:23 pm



    U.N. treaty to muzzle children?



    Posted: October 09, 2009
    1:00 am Eastern

    © 2009 

    The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, recently announced that children of that nation should be excluded from all political activities. Quoted in the Indian newspaper The Daily Star, Hasina said, “Children would be aware of politics but should not be used in political activities.”

    She made her proclamation in association with World Children’s Day and Child Rights Week 2009, suggesting that her nation’s actions were tied to its obligations under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    This remarkable claim demonstrates how radically international human rights laws diverge from the American Bill of Rights. Evidence is mounting that the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child is exerting its influence across the globe in ways that may, one day soon, threaten the rights of American parents to raise their children as they see fit. This binding treaty is now being considered for ratification by the U.S. Senate.

    In the United States, “children” – defined by the CRC as anyone below the age of 18 – have every right to be active participants in all manner of political activities, from canvassing for candidates, to manning call centers and beyond. It is a basic right of free speech guaranteed in our First Amendment. Any effort by the government of the United States to curtail political activity by teenagers or other children would be summarily found to be unconstitutional by American courts. Clearly, the international human rights view of free speech – supposedly guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child – runs contrary to our American system of law.

    This declaration should be a strong warning to American judges who seem all-too-eager to submit to international precedent in the advocacy of human rights.

    And those in the United States Senate seeking ratification of the U.N. children’s convention might be surprised to learn that the announcement from Bangladesh runs contrary their position on the treaty.

    Edward Lee O’Brien, the executive director emeritus of Street Law Inc., recently sent an e-mail to public school teachers in the United States on behalf of the U.S. Campaign for the Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This advocacy organization has asked public school teachers (in grades 6-12) to “pilot a new curriculum to teach about the CRC,” even though to do so would certainly violate the CRC’s apparent restrictions on children’s political activities.

    American advocates of the CRC do have this in common with their counterparts in Dhaka – they both apparently believe in government control of the political thoughts of children. In Bangladesh, the government intends to tell them what they may not do; in the United States, the pro-U.N. crowd would like to tell children what they must believe.

    Whether the issue is environmentalism, tax policy, or international law, public schools should not become agencies of propaganda.

    If we really believe in children’s rights – in a form that is recognized by the Bill of Rights – then we need to do everything we possibly can do to defeat the U.N. Convention on the “Rights” of the Child. And we need to pass the Parental Rights Amendment – with now more than 120 co-sponsors in the U.S. House – to see that it stays defeated for good.

    If we believe in the right of young Americans to engage in the political process, then it is essential that we defeat this dangerous treaty.

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    U.N. treaty to muzzle children?.

    The Angry Daughter – PAS Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Married Man My Mother Said She Cheated With

    In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath on September 30, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    This blog is about my childhood dealing with PAS Parental Alienation Syndrome cause by my mother.I am 32 years old now & it still effects my life.

    To those who say there is no such thing you have no clue what you are talking about or maybe you don’t want it to be recognized because you are the one’s doing it to your kids.

    My heart aches for those children that get caught in the middle & are treated like a weapon against their other parent – .

    The Angry Daughter – PAS Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Married Man My Mother Said She Cheated With.

    I was born & raised in Saint John New Brunswick Canada…I could not have asked for a better dad, I wouldn’t want any other dad…

    When I was little I remember my mom telling me that I would want to play with her ornaments & dad would let me & I guess I use to break them accidentally of course…

    Mom would always tell me how he let me play with them & that I broke them…Her good expensive ornaments… Well in grade one is when things went bad for mom & dad, so dad moved out & no matter what mom said she couldn’t make me turn against my dad so it has been 33 years since I was born so I sagest mom stop trying to turn me against my dad because it isn’t going to happen…

    Don’t get me wrong mom wasn’t all bad there were some good memories but too few… With dad my brother & I came first & with mom well after dad left she went all wired…

    Instead of being a good mother & just dealing with the break up, getting over it & moving on she had only one thing one her mind & that was to turn my down syndrome brother & I against my dad…

    This will never work with me & she hates me for that because I will not believe & go along with her lies…Even though she has kidnapped my brothers mind she can not kid nap his heart…

    I do wish I could have a relationship with my mom but how can I when she lies not only about my dad but about me…Just because I wouldn’t go along with her lies she decided to make up some lies about me…What type of mother does that…

    For the life of me I can not even begin to understand how a mother or parent can do that to a child… When I was a little girl & still even now all I wanted was for my mother to just be a mother…

    I am sorry that dad leaving you cause you such mental disorder that you can not seem to grasp or hold on to reality…But every thing that comes out of your mouth is hurtful lies & how could you expect me to just stand there & let you do it…

    You could of had my help now that you going through another separation but lying & manipulating are more important to you than your own children…

    I can see that in your youngest son you already are brain washing him…It is not right no matter how things ended…

    If you ever decide to get real help maybe then I will talk to you again but if not then I guess we had our last words already…

    Depressed mothers lead to Depressed Kids | Opinion | theGrio

    In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on September 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Such a terrible tragedy for moms and children that the government has sponsored the destruction of the Traditional Mom and Dad family in favor of a welfare check?  Our government encourages Irresponsibility by allowing No-Fault Divorce, when the facts are, that children and women are safest from Domestic Violence in a two-parent home.

    These are the facts.  Mothers are safest with dad in the home.  Children are safest with dad in the home.  It is only when dad is not present, does Domestic Violence occur.  In 90 percent of all cases, DV occurs AFTER a restraining order is slapped on dad, and he is kicked out of the home   See Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting.

    You ask any of these moms or children do they want a husband, daddy or a welfare check? Our government should be ashamed of itself for tolerating this destruction.   As a Native American, this is the same Hate Crime committed against the Indian Nations for over two hundred years, and what did get the American Indian? Genocide of a race. Is that what the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson was supposed to do?

    And what about our first black President Barack Obama?Does he have the courage to stand up against the feminist, No-Fault divorce culture, the culture that places the rights of moms and dads to have children, yet ignores the rights of children to be raised in Mom and Dad Homes? – No child left behind, except 70 percent of all black children. – Parental Rights.

    Depressed mothers lead to depressed kids

    Depressed mothers lead to depressed kids

    (Photo/© Laurin Rinder – Fotolia.com)

    The insightful expression, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” continues to hold true in many ways. Yet it is often “Momma” herself who says she’s fine, when she really isn’t. It is an easy, often automatic, reply rooted in slavery and passed down from generation to generation through the caretakers of an oft broken people.

    We cook, we clean, we go to work, we raise the babies and we suffer in silence. Generations of our women have been taught to show no shame; to hide the unspeakable emotional and unbearable mental pain that they themselves may have endured as a child or as an adolescent. From poverty, sexual abuse, violence, self-parenting, and a limited education, our young mothers unknowingly suffer in great number from mild to severe cases of depression. If left untreated, these symptoms – difficulty concentrating, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, irritability, overeating, persistent sadness, and/or thoughts of suicide – may worsen, lasting for years and causing untold family suffering.

    What does this mean for our children? Today, nearly 70% of Black children are born to single mothers, a third of which live below the poverty line. This means that these mentally distressed women are raising our children, more often than not by themselves, and under very harsh circumstances.

    Sadly, too many of our kids are having to process the pain of not having a father present. No one really speaks about this void because it is so common, but the kids process this by internalizing rejection, telling themselves, “Daddy did not love me” and, “Daddy did not want me.”

    Children’s surroundings affect them immensely. Gang violence is ever-present in many neighborhoods. The stress faced in daily life makes it difficult for students to sit down and concentrate in the classroom and get along with their peers. According to health experts, the stress can lead to various health problems, with students complaining of lack of sleep or constant headaches.

    It should come as no surprise that depressed mothers often lead to depressed children. Unfortunately, even those mothers who recognize that they themselves are depressed don’t recognize the signs in their own children. Many depressed and busy parents may also not be as attentive of their own children and not realize that their dysfunction is deeply affecting the rest of the family.

    Children whose mothers suffer from depression may be more likely to exhibit the same symptoms. Moreover, the harmful consequences of poverty coupled with the mediating effects of maternal depression jeopardize the development of our young boys and girls. These children are slow to develop and their problems often only come to our attention when their pain becomes public manifested as violence and self-destruction at the hands of drug and alcohol abuse or additional behavioral disorders.

    The most revolutionary thing we can do for them is let them know they are not alone. We should share our own vulnerabilities with them and teach them how to deal with their emotions. We should not pretend to be “the strong one” who wears the mask all the time and never sheds a tear. Most important, we should share coping mechanisms that work for us; from spiritual health to professional mental healthcare.

    If doing it to help yourself isn’t enough, then do it for the well-being of our children.

    Terrie M. Williams is the co-founder of the non-profit Stay Strong Foundation and author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting http://www.healingstartswithus.net

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    Depressed mothers lead to depressed kids | Opinion | theGrio.

    The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I) by Deirde Rand, Piece 2

    In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath on September 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 3, 1997

    THE SPECTRUM OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME (PART I) (cont.)
    Forensic Psychologist, Deirdre Conway Rand, PhD

    In another case, failed separation between mother and daughter, age 4 at the time of the marital break up, was shown to contribute to an escalating pattern of the girl rejecting her father. The onset of PAS in a given family was found to occur before the parents separated, during the actual divorce proceedings, or years after the divorce decree. Dunne and Hedrick describe a two-and-a-half year-old girl whose parents were disputing custody where there had been a long series of allegations by the mother since the early months of her pregnancy. Some of the teens in this sample had enjoyed a lengthy and positive post-divorce relationship with a parent prior to rejecting that parent as part of a PAS scenario.

    Lund

    Psychologist Mary Lund examined factors in addition to parental programming which can contribute to estrangement between the child and a rejected parent (19). She wrote that the methods Gardner advocates, such as court orders for continued contact, fit many cases and may help prevent the child developing the kind of phobic-like reaction to the rejected parent which can occur when contact is discontinued during long, drawn out legal proceedings. Such legal interventions often form the cornerstone for treatment. In treating these families, Lund integrates Gardner’s work with that of Janet Johnston. She assesses the family in terms of developmental factors in the child which may be contributing, such as normal separation problems among preschoolers and oppositional behavior during preadolescence and adolescence. Deficits in the noncustodial parent’s parenting may also contribute to the problem. In her experience, the hated parent, usually the father, often has a distant, rigid, even authoritarian style which contrasts with the indulgent, clinging style of the loved parent, who may also need help with appropriate parenting. These are risky generalizations, however. In the experience of this author and others, alienating and target parents exhibit a wide variety of personality patterns which do not lend themselves to this type of generalization. In addition, where the father is the alienating parent, it is sometimes he who uses an overindulgent and materially lavish parenting style to overwhelm and override the children’s healthier psychological bond with the mother.

    According to Lund, PAS may also develop when the stress for the child of ongoing high conflict divorce becomes too much and the child seeks to “escape” being caught in the middle by aligning with one parent. Therapists, especially individual child therapists, can unwittingly become part of the system maintaining the PAS, such that a court order is required to break up the therapist’s polarizing influence. Ultimately, a combination of strategic legal and therapeutic interventions are required to mitigate the PAS and keep the case manageable.

    Cartwright

    A Canadian psychologist, Cartwright makes eight points about PAS:

    1) PAS can be provoked by conflicts other than custody matters, e.g., child support and relatively trivial differences;

    2) alienation is a gradual and consistent process that is directly related to the time spent alienating;

    3) time is on the side of the alienating parent, who may engage in a host of delay tactics;

    4) slow judgments by courts exacerbate the problem;

    5) alienating parents sometimes use the hint of sexual abuse to discredit the other parent, what Cartwright calls “virtual” allegations of sexual abuse;

    6) judgments by the court which are clear and forceful are required to counter the force of alienation;

    7) children subject to excessive alienation may develop mental illness and

    8) successful parental alienation has profound, long term consequences for the child and other family members which are only beginning to be appreciated (24).

    As an example of “virtual” allegations abuse, Cartwright describes a mother who insinuated sexual abuse by the father by alleging that he had shown the child a pornographic videotape which in fact was just a Hollywood comedy rented from a family video store. Regarding risk to the child of developing mental illness, Cartwright gives the example of disintegrating behavior by an alienated son, presumably latency age, who tried to poison his father by slipping air freshener into his stomach medicine. Later, the boy ran away during a visit with the father and the police had to be called. The folie a deux literature includes a report in 1977 of a 10-year-old boy who allegedly attempted to burn down his father’s house two years after his parents divorced, apparently as a result of his folie a deux relationship with his disturbed mother (25). Such cases suggest that severe PAS can be indicative of significant emotional disturbance in the alienating parent with a proportionately disturbing effect on the child.

    Cartwright poignantly describes the psychological effects on the child of being involved in severe PAS. “The child…experiences a great loss, the magnitude of which is akin to death of a parent, two grandparents, and all the lost parent’s relatives and friends…Moreover…the child is unable to acknowledge the loss, much less mourn it” (24). The child’s good memories of the alienated parent are systematically destroyed and the child misses out on the day-to-day interaction, learning, support and love which, in an intact family, usually flows between the child and both parents, as well as grandparents and other relatives on both sides.

    The child may encounter insurmountable obstacles if, later in life, he or she seeks to reestablish relations with the lost parent and his family. The lost parent may be unable or unwilling to become reinvolved. The parent or grandparents may have died. Some of these children eventually turn against the alienating parent, and if the target parent is lost to them as well, the child is left with an unfillable void.

    PARENTS WHO INDUCE ALIENATION

    Gender

    Gardner’s observation that mothers seem to engage in PAS behavior with significantly greater frequency than fathers is born out by divorce research, as well as by the clinical PAS literature. The California Children of Divorce Study found that in a nonclinical sample, mothers were twice as likely as fathers to form PAS type alignments with their children (2). When false allegations of abuse arise, as in more severe manifestations of PAS, mothers also seem to comprise the majority (3, 26-28). Mothers constituted 67 percent of the accusers in the nationwide study which revealed that allegations of abuse in divorce/custody disputes were found to be invalid about 50 percent of the time (12). Fathers were the accusers in 22 percent of cases while third parties such as relatives and professionals were the adult initiators 11 percent of the time. Where a third party was the initiator of the allegation, a parent might also believe there was abuse. The numbers reverse when it comes to physically abducting the child, with fathers the abductors from 60 percent to 70 percent of the time (18). There may be gender differences in how men and women go about gaining control of their children and taking revenge on an ex-spouse, with men more inclined to physical kidnapping and women more inclined to social/psychological abduction, which is how Clawar and Rivlin characterized severe PAS (7).

    Never Married

    Parents may engage in PAS behavior even if they were never married. In Johnston’s study of children who refuse visitation, she found that from 6 percent to 15 percent of the high conflict parents she studied were not married (9). In the author’s experience, one of the contributing factors to PAS with some of these couples is the mother’s anger and resentment over the father’s refusal to marry her, an effect which is exacerbated if the father becomes involved with a new partner. A mother in this position may have particularly strong proprietary feelings, similar to what Clawar and Rivlin describe (7), infuriated by the unfairness of joint custody laws which grant the father rights to a relationship with his child without his having fulfilled his obligations with respect to the mother.

    New Partners

    Johnston found that the new partner of either parent could be the primary instigator of efforts to gain custody of the child (8). Something similar happens when a divorcing parent joins a cult which actively strives to get the child from the noncult member parent, with the cult fulfilling the role of new partner in a sense, as shown in one of the case vignettes to follow.

    Narcissistic Vulnerability

    Johnston found that to varying degrees, one or both of the parents in high conflict divorce may be narcissistically vulnerable, lacking a well-established self identify and relying on primitive defenses such as externalization, denial and projection (8). The need of one or both parents to protect and defend themselves against narcissistic injury is at the root of many high conflict divorces. This may be a motivating factor for PAS in some cases, a dynamic described by Wilhelm Reich almost 50 years ago (29) when he foretold how parents of certain character types would seek to defend themselves against narcissistic injury in divorce by fighting for the child, using the technique of defaming the partner in order to alienate the child from that parent.

    Need to Conceal Parental Deficits

    According to Clawar and Rivlin, the campaign to alienate the child from the other parent is sometimes used to deflect unwanted scrutiny of the programming parent’s personal problems, for example alcohol, drugs, neglectful parenting, physical and sexual abuse, criminal involvement, or socially unaccepted life-style (7). Sometimes parents engage in PAS behavior out of fear that they will be found wanting when compared to the more loving and capable target. The literature on false allegations in divorce/custody disputes often makes the point that the accusation helps the accuser level the playing field, so to speak.

    Vulnerability to Separation and Loss

    A factor in some high conflict divorces is the presence in one or both parents of specific underlying vulnerabilities to loss and conflicts around attachment and separation (8). A PAS scenario can develop when a troubled parent who was rejected in the divorce copes with loss and loneliness by turning to the child to fullfill emotional needs, resulting in what Wallerstein calls the “overburdened child ” , discussed in Part II. For some parents, the divorce reactivates separation issues from earlier losses such as previous divorce, kidnapping or death of a child, or the loss of other family members. Such a parent may engage in PAS to defend against further “loss,” that of having to share the child with the other parent. Some parents have long standing personality problems with separation and individuation. The ongoing conflicts over the child engendered by PAS help ward off feelings of loss and abandonment by maintaining the relationship with the ex-spouse. PAS can also be used by keep the other parent hostilily engaged, as in Medea Syndrome (4, 5) and Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome (6, 30).

    Revenge Clawar and Rivlin found that revenge was one of the most common and powerful reasons for parents to engage in alienating behavior (7). The personality makeup of some parents is such that revenge seems like their only viable option in response to feeling wounded by the divorce. The desire for revenge can be further kindled if infidelity is discovered, the alienating parent is left for someone else, or finds themselves immediately replaced by a new love object in the life of the parent who left.

    Need for Control and Domination

    Some alienating parents are driven by overriding needs for power, influence, domination and control (7). Engaging in PAS may provide the dual gratification of maintaining power, influence and control over the child and vicariously over the ex-spouse whose visitation and relationship with the child is frustrated by the alienating parent’s control maneuvers. Needs for domination and control are sometimes acted out by abducting the child and using it to taunt and torment the frantic target parent. In addition to mothers and fathers, a new partner can be the one with inordinate needs for power, domination and control. For example, a mother may become involved with a new partner who first seduces her away from her relatively weak husband and then acts as a sort of one-on-one cult leader to mother and child, who are both programmed and brainwashed into compliance and submission.

    Medea Syndrome

    The need for revenge is taken to an extreme in Media Syndrome (4, 5). “Modern Medeas do not want to kill their children, but they do want revenge on their former wives or husbands-and they exact it by destroying the relationship between the other parent and the child…The Medea syndrome has its beginnings in the failing marriage and separation, when parents sometimes lose sight of the fact that their children have separate needs [and] begin to think of the child as being an extension of the self…A child may be used as an agent of revenge against the other parent…or the anger can lead to child stealing” (5). The “embittered- chaotic” parents described earlier by Wallerstein and Kelly may also fall in the revenge category (2). These parents act out their intense anger in a disorganized but chronically disruptive way which bombards the children, rather than protecting them, with the raw bitterness and chaos of the angry parent’s feelings about the ex-spouse and the divorce.

    Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome

    Turkat would have done better to call this disorder “Malicious Parent Syndrome,” but be that as it may, this disorder describes a special class of alienating parents who engage in a relentless and multifaceted campaign of aggression and deception against the ex-spouse, who is being punished for the divorce (6, 30). Contrary to Turkat, the author has encountered several cases in which the father was the malicious parent, as illustrated in the case vignette at the end of this section. Discussing PAS by name, Turkat classified PAS as a moderate form of visitation interference as compared with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome. The parent with the latter disorder uses an array of tactics including excessive litigation, alienating the child from the target parent, and involving the child and third parties in malicious actions against the ex-spouse. Lying and deception are routinely used. A malicious parent might arrange to have the ex-spouse investigated for use of illegal drugs at work or file a complaint with authorities against the ex-spouse’s new partner. Malicious parents are often successful in using the law to punish and harass the ex-spouse, sometimes violating the law themselves but often getting away with it. Their efforts to interfere with the target parent’s visitation are persistent and pervasive, including attempts to block the target parent from having regular, uninterrupted visitation with the child and from having telephone contact, as well as trying to block the target parent from participating in the child’s school life and activities.

    Mr. C’s suspiciousness and verbal attacks on his wife finally drove her to file for divorce. As on previous occasions, Mr. C. threatened that if she would not reconcile he would win custody of their four-year-old daughter and make sure the mother never saw her again. In the past, Mrs. C. had relented, fearful that Mr. C. would fulfill his threats, but this time she stood firm. Mr. C. filed for sole custody based on false allegations that the mother was unfit. When these allegations were not upheld, the father made up new ones. Within a year of filing, Mrs. C. became engaged to another man. Mr. C. succeeded in breaking up the engagement by accusing the fiance of sexually abusing the child. He had the police arrest the fiance at the mother’s home. When child protective services informed the mother that they would take her daughter away for failure to protect, the mother canceled her engagement, terrified that Mr. C. would make good on his threat to take her daughter away. When police and child protection investigation of the sex abuse allegations resulted in a finding that no abuse occurred, Mrs. C. proceeded with her wedding plans. Father raised allegations of sex abuse against Mrs. C.’s new husband in family court and succeeded at one point in gaining temporary custody. Primary custody was returned to the mother after the court ordered evaluation found the allegations to be without merit and the father to be emotionally disturbed and pressuring the child to report abuse. During his visitation time, the father and a male friend continued to interrogate the girl about abuse by the stepfather and as time went by she felt increasingly pressured to meet their expectations. Away from the father’s influence, however, the girl enjoyed her family with her mother and stepfather. She stated to several different therapists that she had only accused her stepfather of molesting her to please her father and his friend.

    In the meantime, Mr. C. and friend continued to make abuse reports against the stepfather, creating significant distress for Mrs. C., her new husband and the child. Eventually, when the girl was 10, the father succeeded in getting the juvenile court to take jurisdiction and give him custody, although medical examination of the child did not support the increasingly serious accusations. Mrs. C. was not allowed to see her daughter. When she tried to contact the therapist who was now seeing the girl for sex abuse by Mrs. C.’s new husband, the therapist was rude and a refused to speak with her. The mother was tortured by reports from a series of child protection workers which indicated that her daughter was acting out in bizarre and often self-destructive ways. At the age of twelve, she was picked up by the police for prostitution and had to be psychiatrically hospitalized. Several professionals who were involved when the mother had custody wondered if Mr. C. was deliberately destroying his daughter so as to get revenge against the mother. Mr. C. was able to retain custody, however, by focusing the attention of authorities on allegations of sex abuse against the stepfather.

    Long before Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome was identified by Turkat, a male psychologist, whose ex-wife undoubtedly exhibited the disorder, wrote a book about his ordeal (31). Accusing him of sexually abusing their young daughter, the mother arranged for the police to arrest him at his office in front of his clients and staff. She also arranged for newspaper reporters to be present so that pictures of the shocked psychologist being handcuffed and hauled off to jail were widely broadcast. The father fought back and eventually obtained joint custody after the court found that mother’s extreme efforts to sever the father’s relationship with his child were detrimental and stripped her of sole custody.

    Personality Characteristics of Parents Making False Accusations of Sexual Abuse in Disputes

    Wakefield and Underwager undertook a systematic review of divorce/custody case files to examine and compare the characteristics of 72 false accusers, 103 falsely accused parents and a control group of 67 parents disputing custody but without allegations of abuse (28). Criteria for determining whether a parent had falsely accused included a finding by the justice system that there had been no abuse. Of the three groups, the falsely accusing parents were much more likely to have been diagnosed by a professional as exhibiting a personality disorder including mixed, unspecified, histrionic, borderline, passive-aggressive or paranoid. Approximately one-fourth of the false accusers did not exhibit significant pathology, while most of the parents who were disputing custody without abuse allegations were assessed as normal. Some of the false accusers were so obsessed with anger toward their estranged spouses that this became a major focus of their lives. They continued to be obsessed with abuse despite negative findings by mental health professionals and the courts, similar to what is found in cases of delusional disorder and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. The relationship of falsely accusing parents with their children was often characterized in the record as extremely controlling and symbiotic. Two were Qiven a formal diagnosis of folie a deux between parent and child. Several exhibited extremely serious dysfunction, such as unpredictable bizarre behavior, belief that they possessed supernatural powers and delusions of grandeur. These authors found more similarities than differences between mothers and fathers who falsely accused, with mothers very much in the majority.

    SAID Syndome

    Blush and Ross have come up with three psychological profiles for mother false accusers and a typical profile of father accusers (3, 26, 27). Mothers tend to present as “fearful victim,” “justified vindicator,” or to some degree psychotic. The “fearful victim” presentation involves manipulation of social image around a specific theme to which others respond with sympathy and support, such as child abuse or spousal abuse. The “justified vindicators” initially present as intellectually organized with a knowledgeable, even pseudo-scientific sounding agenda, similar to what Clawar and Rivlin report regarding self righteousness as an important motivation of some programming parents. Women in the third group present with a combination of borderline and histrionic features, which interact with the stress of the divorce to impair the mother’s reality testing and significantly interfere with her functioning, sometimes to the point of a psychotic or quasi-psychotic presentation. Similar to Wakefield and Underwager’s findings (28), mothers in all three categories tend to be histrionic in presentation, so emotionally convinced of the “facts” that no amount of input, including from neutral professionals, can dissuade them from their perceptions. According to Blush and Ross, the typical profile for father accusers is one of intellectual rigidity and a high need to be “correct,” possibly male counterparts of the “justified vindicator” presentation among mothers. By history, these men were hypercritical of their wives while the marriage was still intact, quick to suspect them of negligence and to accuse their wives of being unfit mothers. Gardner’s work is referenced in the second and third SAID syndrome articles by these authors (26, 27).

    Accuser and Accused Dyads

    Important information about a programming parent using false allegations of abuse is to be found in the particular choice of accused. The study reported by Thoennes and Tjaden showed that the battle goes beyond simply mothers against fathers and vice versa (12). Parents were found to accuse not only each other but the other’s new partner, or relatives such as grandparents or the new partner’s teenage son. A parent who accuses the ex-spouse’s new partner may fulfill a number of goals simultaneously, expressing feelings of jealousy, revenge, and trying to keep the child from forming a positive attachment with the new parent figure. Accusations against the target parent’s relatives may provide a combination of revenge, allegations that are difficult for the ex-spouse to defend since they are not directly against him or her, and a means to exclude the relatives from post-divorce involvement in the child’s life. The accuser can set up a devastating conflict for the target parent by accusing his teenage son from a previous marriage or the new partner’s teenage offspring from a previous union. This has the effect of forcing the target parent to “choose” between his child involved in making the allegation and another child whom he loves and is responsible for. This enhances the alienating parent’s ability to convince the child that daddy does not care.

    The Delusional Parent

    Rogers refers to PAS in her report on five divorce/custody cases in which the falsely accusing parent, all mothers in this sample, suffered from delusional disorder (32). The children were subjected to undue influence to get them to accept the accusing parent’s psychotic belief and concomitant rejection of the other parent in a severe PAS scenario. Where the child succumbed, a diagnosis of shared paranoid disorder, otherwise known as folie a deux might also be made. According to Rogers, the first stages of the mother’s delusional disorder were present to some degree during the marriage and exacerbated parental conflicts prior to the separation. However, these subtle signs were not immediately discernible as a psychiatric illness and were only recognized in retrospect, as the mother’s symptoms became worse in the course of the divorce and its attendant disputes. One of the severe PAS cases reported by Dunne and Hedrick appears to be an example of the mother developing delusional disorder. The “subtle signs” were expressed as suspicions during her pregnancy that the father would molest the child, similar to a case encountered by the present author in which suspicions harbored by the mother even before the child was born prompted her to abduct the child a few months later. According to Rogers, the mothers who became delusional were usually the main caretakers for the children. In two cases they were awarded custody during the first round of custody litigation, before more noticeable deterioration in their parenting capabilities had occurred. With continued custody litigation, the intractable nature of their mental illness became apparent and the court gave custody to the father in four of the five cases.

    Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

    Some cases of PAS, especially those with false allegations of abuse, may have important features in common with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSP) in which parents fulfill their needs vicariously by presenting their child as ill (23). In cases of “classical” MSP, parents repeatedly take their children to doctors for unnecessary, often painful tests and treatments which the physician is induced to provide based on the parent’s misrepresentations. “Contemporary-type” MSP occurs when a parent fabricates an abuse scenario for the child and welcomes or actively seeks out repeated abuse interviews of the child by police, social workers and therapists (23). The concept of contemporary-type MSP elaborates on the idea put forth by Sinanan and Houghton that new types of MSP behavior will evolve in parallel with the evolution of new medical and social services, e.g., the child protection system (33). MSP parents may change or come up with new “symptoms” for the child so as to better elicit the desired response from a particular care provider or an institution offering specialized services. Thus, the same child may be receiving attention simultaneously for fabricated physical symptoms from several medical providers and for fabricated sex abuse from therapists and public agencies who specialize in abuse. Careful evaluation and thorough investigation of sex abuse allegations which turn out to be questionable or false will sometimes bring a parent to the attention of authorities for practicing “classical” as well as “contemporary- type” MSP (34).

    As with PAS, MSP is most often practiced by mothers, although fathers and other caretakers are sometimes found to engage in the behavior. MSP parents maintain their psychic equilibrium through control and manipulation of external sources of social gratification, including the child and care providers who serve children. Medical and other care providers are sometimes referred to as the “third party participants” in the MSP, because of their importance in carrying out the parent’s agenda, including false allegations of abuse. There are at least four different presentations where MSP and PAS overlap: 1) an MSP mother may, during the marriage, add false allegations of abuse to the child’s fabricated physical symptoms, thus precipitating the divorce; 2) where the MSP parent feels angry or rejected in divorce, manipulating the child’s medical care and involving the child in false allegations of abuse may serve multiple functions including revenge, maintaining the symbiotic bond with the child and preserving the freedom to continue the MSP behavior; 3) a parent dealing with the losses and stress of divorce may respond with MSP type behavior to obtain social support from the child and care providers; 4) an alienating parent may exhibit MSP type behavior by manipulating the child’s medical care for the primary purpose of furthering the alienation agenda (35).

    In PAS with features of MSP, the alienating parent may gain legal authority to control and determine whom the child sees and what treatment is given. The child may be taken to the doctor after visits with the target parent for fabricated or induced symptoms which are attributed to abuse and neglect by the other parent. The child is likely present while the alienating parent makes this negative presentation about the other parent to the doctor, who inadvertently lends support to the denigrating account by listening to it, asking questions and examining the child. The target parent may be rendered ineffective to stop this cycle because providers retained by the alienating parent, and who take her assertions at face value, often refuse to talk to the target parent or allow the target parent access to child’s medical records. The result for the child is what Rand calls MSP type abuse. Rand expands Meadow’s formulation of MSP as a complex form of emotional abuse by applying Garbarino’s five types of psychological maltreatment. Research on MSP shows that it sometimes overlaps with other forms of abuse and neglect (36).

    Parental Child Abductors

    According to Huntington, post-divorce parental child stealing has been on the increase since the mid-1970s, paralleling the rising divorce rate and the explosion of litigation over child custody (18). An abducting parent views the child’s needs as secondary to the parental agenda which is to provoke, agitate, control, attack or psychologically torture the other parent. It should come as no surprise, then, that post-divorce parental abduction is considered a serious form of child abuse. Psychological maltreatment may predominate or be accompanied by physical abuse and neglect. Abducting parents take the idea that the child would be better off without the other parent to an extreme. Clawar and Rivlin found that would-be abductors often felt frustrated in their efforts to gain access to their child through the legal system and felt “forced” to abduct the child (7). Sometimes, they became so convinced of the terrible scenario they were broadcasting about the target parent that they felt no “choice” but to flee with the child and go into hiding. In order to win the child’s cooperation in maintaining concealment, the abductor must continue to brainwash the child with fear of the target parent and what would happen if the target parent should find the abducting parent and child.

    CONCLUSION TO PART I

    Review of this first portion of relevant literature and research indicates that Gardner’s concept of PAS has been increasingly discussed and referred to since he introduced the term in 1985. Research on divorce since the early 1980s has been progressively converging with Gardner’s work. Johnston’s studies of high conflict divorce in particular suggest that it is not sufficient to lump PAS with high conflict divorce in general. In its more severe forms, PAS is clearly distinctive. It is also more destructive for children and families and can be irreversible in its effects. As the section on alienating parents indicates, the divorce population includes a significant proportion of parents who have’ psychological problems and disorders. The degree to which such problems are expressed in efforts to alienate the child from the other parent has to be evaluated in the total divorce context, including psychological factors of the child and character and conduct of the target parent. Severe PAS is destructive irrespective of the gender of the alienating parent.

    Part I attempts to integrate Gardner’s work on PAS with the relevant literature and research under the following topic headings: The Child in PAS; The Target/Alienated Parent in PAS; PAS and its Third Party Participants; Attorneys on PAS; Forensic Evaluation and PAS; and Interventions for PAS, including strategic combinations of court orders and therapeutic interventions, appointment of a Special Master, appointment of a Guardian ad Litem, changing custody, use of hospitalization and other transitional sites to facilitate custody changes, and the appropriate application of sanctions to help certain programming parents to better act in their children’s best interests.

    Whether or not one chooses to use Gardner’s terminology, the problems posed by these cases to families, professionals and the courts are very real. Reluctance to consider Parental Alienation Syndrome by name, along with the diagnostic and interventions it entails, tends to contribute to the perpetuation of the problem in a variety of ways. Like any other label, that of PAS has the potential to be misapplied and misused. Whether or not it is the appropriate diagnosis in a given instance must be determined based on facts of the case, corroborated historical evidence and data from multiple sources. An appropriate diagnosis of PAS, including level of severity as Gardner recommends, can make the difference between allowing a case to go beyond the point of no return or intervening effectively before it is too late.

    REFERENCES

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    2. Wallerstein JS, Kelly JB: Surviving the breakup: how children and parents cope with divorce. New York, Basic Books, 1980

    3. Blush GJ, Ross KL: Sexual allegations in divorce: the SAID syndrome. Conciliation Courts Review 1987; 25:1:1-11

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    10. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect: executive summary: study of national incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect. Washington DC: Department of Health and Human Services 1988, Contract 105-85-1702

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    13. National Council on Children’s Rights: CAPTA revised to provide relief for false allegations. Speak Out for Children, Fall 1996/Winter 1997

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    22. Dunne J, Hedrick M: The parental alienation syndrome: an analysis of sixteen selected cases. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 1994; 21:3/4:21-38

    23. Rand DC: Munchausen syndrome by proxy: a complex type of emotional abuse responsible for some false allegations of child abuse in divorce. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1993; 5:3:135-155

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    28. Wakefield H, Underwager R: Personality characteristics of parents making false accusations of sexual abuse in custody disputes. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:3:121-136

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    28. Wakefield H, Underwager R: Personality characteristics of parents making false accusations of sexual abuse in custody disputes. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:3:121-136

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    30. Turkat ID: Divorce related malicious mother syndrome. Journal of Family Violence 1995; 10:3:253-264

    31. Spiegel LD: A Question of Innocence. Parsippany, NJ, Unicorn Publishing House, 1986

    32. Rogers M: Delusional disorder and the evolution of mistaken sexual allega lions in child custody cases. American Journal of Forensic Psychology 1992; 10:1:47-69

    33. Sinanan K, Houghton H: Evolution of variants of the Munchausen syndrome. British Journal of Psychiatry 1986; 148:465-467

    34. Meadow R: False allegations of abuse and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Archives of Disease in Childhood 1993; 68:4:444-4.47

    35. Jones M, Lund M, Sullivan M: Dealing with parental alienation in high conflict custody cases, presentation at conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, San Antonio, TX, 1996

    36. Bools CN, Neale BA, Meadow SR: Co-morbidity associated with fabricated illness (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy). Archives of Disease in Childhood 1992; 67:77-79

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Deirdre Conway Rand, Ph.D. practices clinical and forensic psychology in Mill Valley, California. She specializes in complex forms of emotional abuse, such as severe Parental Alienation and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. She is the author of articles on the latter and of two chapters in the book, Spectrum of Factitious Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

    Back to Part 1

    The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome (Part I) by Deirde Rand, Piece 2.

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