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Posts Tagged ‘cps childstealing’

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, CPS, cps fraud, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Sociopath, state crimes on July 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell

July 15, 5:54 AM

Dr. David Menchell never dreamed when he reported bruises on his older son’s body that it would lead to Child Protective Services investigating him. He first noticed the bruises when he took his children to the Poconos for a vacation. While at a water park, he asked his son where they came from. His son has emotional issues, so it was difficult to find out from him how he had gotten bruised.

Later that weekend, Dr. Menchell’s mother talked to her grandson. She then told Dr. Menchell the child had implied that an older child at school had been fighting with him and had bruised him.

The next day, Dr. Menchell phoned the school and talked to the psychologist who works with his son. She assured him that the students were usually supervised, and it would be unlikely for his son to be in a fight without someone knowing about it. She said, however, that she would follow up with his teachers and also call Dr. Menchell’s ex-wife to discuss the situation.

The next day Dr. Menchell’s ex-wife took the boy to the pediatrician, and he documented the same bruises. The day after that, Dr. Menchell received a call from Child Protective Services stating that they were investigating the boy’s bruises. Dr. Menchell responded that he had expected that they would do that. It was then that Child Protective Services informed Dr. Menchell that he was the subject of the investigation.

Dr. Menchell’s rights to visit his children were immediately suspended, and he has not seen his children for three months. Child Protective Services indicated the report, meaning that the investigator claims to have found some credible evidence that he committed the abuse. Some credible evidence is an extremely low standard of proof. It is not unusual for an investigator to indicate a report when there is little or even no evidence.

When Dr. Menchell goes before an administrative law judge to get the indicated report amended to unfounded, Child Protective Services will have to meet a higher standard of proof–a fair preponderance of evidence. Doctor Menchell understands this because he was put through the same ringer on another occasion.

Following the first investigation, Dr. Menchell was not allowed to see his children for two months. After Dr. Menchell was interrogated by a court appointed psychologist, he was allowed visits with his children but only if they were supervised.

While he was finally exonerated of any wrong doing following a fair hearing, the doctor had this to say.

“…it was an easy matter to disprove the inept findings of the report and reverse the decision of CPS, but it took two years, stuck me with a label of child abuser, cost a fortune in psychologist’s and attorney’s fees, and disrupted the normal parenting time I might have had with my children.”

Dr. Menchell is confident that the results of the second investigation will be overturned as well. He says,

“I don’t doubt that I will overturn this additional finding from CPS. The very fact that I have had to endure this insult twice is an indictment of the system. The principles that apply in other venues, like criminal court, should extend to CPS and Family Court: the right to a fair trial or hearing, the assumption of innocence, the right to address your accusers. Until these issues are addressed and CPS is held accountable, there will be continued abuse and injustice perpetrated by CPS and the courts. And our children and their parents are both the victims.”

While Child Protective Services does not divulge the names of people making calls to the child abuse hotline, Doctor Menchell attributes his problems with Child Protective Services to a marriage gone sour.

Many estranged or divorced spouses have testified to similar problems.

Ledger.com reported yesterday that a Lakeland, Florida father, William Dunn, is suing the Florida Department of Children and Families for not allowing him to see his daughter for eleven months after he was falsely accused of sexually abusing her. The judge who ruled that Dunn did not abuse his daughter and returned her to his care expressed concern that the girl’s mother coached her to say that she had been abused, although the mother denies it.  Both the father and daughter have suffered physical and emotional problems due to the false allegations.

Earlier this week, the grown children of Clyde Raye Spencer testified at a hearing that their father never abused them. Spencer has served 19 years in prison for child abuse. Both of Spencer’s children say that their mother told them they were just blocking out the memory of the abuse when they told her they had not been abused.

Dean Tong, who is an expert on false allegations of abuse, spent $150,000 and ten years to clear his name after his estranged wife accused him of sexually abusing his daughter. He has since become an author and a leading expert witness on parent alienation syndrome, and false allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse during or after a  divorce,

Tong has this to say about divorce and false allegations of abuse.

“Even in so called “no-fault” divorce states, parents and relatives of divorcing parties seeking to gain an upper hand in custody and financial arrangements file false or unfounded allegations of domestic violence or child abuse. Once falsely accused, an innocent party oftentimes must spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars defending their good name while finding it nearly impossible to remove the stain of abuse allegations. Such allegations also damage the children involved by forcing them to participate unnecessarily in intrusive psychological examinations and courtroom proceedings.”

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell.

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From Welfare State to Police State

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on June 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm

May 4, 2008
by Stephen Baskerville

Family fragmentation costs taxpayers at least $112 billion annually in antipoverty programs, justice and education systems, and lost revenue, according to a report released last week. Astonishingly, the report’s publisher, Institute for American Values, is using these findings to advocate even higher costs, through more federal programs.

As welfare and child support enforcement programs show, there is zero proof that further government intervention into families would be a good investment for taxpayers.

After more than a decade of welfare reform, out-of-wedlock births remain at record highs, and married couples now comprise less than half the nation’s households. “The impact of welfare reform is now virtually zero,” says Robert Rector of Heritage Foundation.

Welfare reform, as currently conceived, cannot possibly make a difference. Out-of-wedlock births no longer proceed only from low-income teenagers. Increasingly, middle-class, middle-aged women are bearing the fatherless children. This excludes children of divorce, which almost doubles the 1.5 million out-of-wedlock births.

The problem is driven not only by culture, but by federal programs not addressed by welfare reform—such as child support enforcement, domestic violence, and child abuse prevention—which subsidize single-parent homes through their quasi-welfare entitlements for the affluent.

It’s not called the welfare “state” for nothing. Even more serious than the economic effects has been the quiet metamorphosis of welfare from a system of public assistance into a miniature penal apparatus, replete with its own tribunals, prosecutors, police, and jails.

The subsidy on single-mother homes was never really curtailed. Reformers largely replaced welfare with child support. The consequences were profound: this change transformed welfare from public assistance into law enforcement, creating yet another federal plainclothes police force without constitutional justification.

Like any bureaucracy, this one found rationalizations to expand. During the 1980s and 1990s—without explanation or public debate—enforcement machinery created for children in poverty was dramatically expanded to cover all child-support cases, including those not receiving welfare.

This vastly expanded the program by bringing in millions of middle-class divorce cases. The system was intended for welfare—but other cases now account for 83% of its cases and 92% of the money collected.

Contrary to what was promised, the cost to taxpayers increased sharply. By padding their rolls with millions of middle-class parents, state governments could collect a windfall of federal incentive payments. State officials may spend this revenue however they wish. Federal taxpayers subsidize state government operations through child support. They also subsidize family dissolution, for every fatherless child is another source of revenue for states.

To collect, states must channel not just delinquent but current payments through their criminal enforcement machinery, subjecting law-abiding parents to criminal measures. While officials claim their crackdowns on “deadbeat dads” increase collections, the “increase” is achieved not by collecting arrearages of low-income fathers already in the system, but simply by pulling in more middle-class fathers—and creating more fatherless children.

These fathers haven’t abandoned their children. Most were actively involved, and, following what is usually involuntary divorce, desire more time with them. Yet for the state to collect funding, fathers willing to care for them must be designated as “absent.” Divorce courts are pressured to cut children off from their fathers to conform to the welfare model of “custodial” and “noncustodial.” These perverse incentives further criminalize fathers, by impelling states to make child-support levels as onerous as possible and to squeeze every dollar from every parent available.

Beyond the subsidy expense are costs of diverting the criminal justice system from protecting society to criminalizing parents and keeping them from their children. The entitlement state must then devise additional programs—far more expensive—to deal with the social costs of fatherless children. Former Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Wade Horn contends that most of the $47 billion spent by his department is necessitated by broken homes and fatherless children. One might extend his point to most of the half-trillion dollar HHS budget. Given the social ills attributed to fatherless homes—crime, truancy, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide—it is reasonable to see a huge proportion of domestic spending among the costs.

These developments offer a preview of where our entire system of welfare taxation is headed: expropriating citizens to pay for destructive programs that create the need for more spending and taxation. It cannot end anywhere but in the criminalization of more and more of the population.

Stephen Baskerville is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College, and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Cumberland House, 2007).

The original article can be found here: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2184

Does Family Preservation Work? – Parental Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

From the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform / 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) / Alexandria, Va., 22314 / info@nccpr.org / www.nccpr.org

Family preservation is one of the most intensively-scrutinized programs in all of child welfare. Several studies — and real world experience — show that family preservation programs that follow the Homebuilders model safely prevent placement in foster care.

Michigan’s Families First program sticks rigorously to the Homebuilders model. The Michigan program was evaluated by comparing children who received family preservation services to a “control group” that did not. After one year, among children who were referred because of abuse or neglect, the control group children were nearly twice as likely to be placed in foster care, as the Families First children. Thirty-six percent of children in the control group were placed, compared to only 19.4 percent of the Families First children. [1]

Another Michigan study went further. In this study, judges actually gave permission to researchers to “take back” some children they had just ordered into foster care and place them in Families First instead. One year later, 93 percent of these children still were in their own homes. [2] And Michigan’s State Auditor concluded that the Families First program “has generally been effective in providing a safe alternative to the out-of-home placement of children who are at imminent risk of being removed from the home The program places a high priority on the safety of children.” [3]

An experiment in Utah and Washington State also used a comparison group. After one year, 85.2 percent of the children in the comparison group were placed in foster care, compared to only 44.4 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services.[4]

A study in California found that 55 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 26 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services. [5]

A North Carolina study comparing 1,254 families receiving Intensive Family Preservation Services to more than 100,000 families who didn’t found that “IFPS consistently resulted in fewer placements…”[6]

And still another study, in Minnesota, found that, in dealing with troubled adolescents, fully 90 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 56 percent of those who received intensive family preservation services.[7]

Some agencies are now using IFPS to help make sure children are safe when they are returned home after foster care. Here again, researchers are beginning to see impressive results. In a Utah study, 77.2 percent of children whose families received IFPS help after reunification were still safely with their birth parents after one year, compared with 49.1 percent in a control group.[8]

Critics ignore all of this evidence, preferring to cite a study done for the federal government which purports to find that IFPS is no better than conventional services. But though critics of family preservation claim that this study evaluated programs that followed the Homebuilders model, that’s not true. In a rigorous critique of the study, Prof. Ray Kirk of the University of North Carolina School of Social Work notes that the so-called IFPS programs in this study actually diluted the Homebuilders model, providing service that was less intensive and less timely. At the same time, the “conventional” services sometimes were better than average. In at least one case, they may well have been just as intensive as the IFPS program – so it’s hardly surprising that the researchers would find little difference between the two.

Furthermore, efforts to truly assign families at random to experimental and control groups sometimes were thwarted by workers in the field who felt this was unethical. Workers resisted assigning what they considered to be “high risk” families to control groups that would not receive help from IFPS programs. In addition, the study failed to target children who actually were at imminent risk of placement.

Given all these problems, writes Prof. Kirk, “a finding of ‘no difference between treatment and experimental groups’ is simply a non-finding from a failed study.”[9]

Prof. Kirk’s findings mirror those of an evaluation of earlier studies purporting to show that IFPS was ineffective. The evaluation found that these studies “did not adhere to rigorous methodological criteria.”[10]

In contrast, according to Prof. Kirk, “there is a growing body of evidence that IFPS works, in that it is more effective than traditional services in preventing out-of-home placements of children in high-risk families.”[11]

Prof. Kirk’s assessment was confirmed by a detailed review of IFPS studies conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. According to this review:

“IFPS programs that adhere closely to the Homebuilders model significantly reduce out-of-home placements and subsequent abuse and neglect. We estimate that such programs produce $2.54 of benefits for each dollar of cost. Non-Homebuilders programs produce no significant effect on either outcome.”[12]

Some critics argue that evaluations of family preservation programs are inherently flawed because they allegedly focus on placement prevention instead of child safety. But a placement can only be prevented if a child is believed to be safe. Placement prevention is a measure of safety.

Of course, the key words here are “believed to be.” Children who have been through intensive family preservation programs are generally among the most closely monitored. But there are cases in which children are reabused and nobody finds out. And there are cases — like Joseph Wallace — in which the warnings of family preservation workers are ignored. No one can be absolutely certain that the child left at home is safe — but no one can be absolutely certain that the child placed in foster care is safe either — and family preservation has the better track record.

And, as discussed in Issue Paper 1, with safe, proven strategies to keep families together now widely used in Alabama, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere, the result is fewer foster care placements and safer children.

Indeed, the whole idea that family preservation — and only family preservation — should be required to prove itself over and over again reflects a double standard. After more than a century of experience, isn’t it time that the advocates of foster care be held to account for the failure of their program?

Updated, April 24, 2006

1. Carol Berquist, et. al., Evaluation of Michigan’s Families First Program (Lansing Mich: University Associates, March, 1993). Back to Text.

2. Betty J. Blythe, Ph.D., Srinika Jayaratne, Ph.D, Michigan Families First Effectiveness Study: A Summary of Findings, Sept. 28, 1999, p.18. Back to Text.

3. State of Michigan, Office of the Auditor General, Performance Audit of the Families First of Michigan Program, July, 1998, pp. 2-4. Back to Text.

4. Mark W. Fraser, et. al., Families in Crisis: The Impact of Intensive Family Preservation Services (New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1991), p.168. Back to Text.

5. S. Wood, S., K. Barton, C. Schroeder, “In-Home Treatment of Abusive Families: Cost and Placement at One Year.” Psychotherapy Vol. 25 (1988) pp. 409-14, cited in Howard Bath and David Haapala, “Family Preservation Services: What Does the Outcome Research Really Tell Us,” Social Services Review, September, 1994, Table A1, p.400. Back to Text.

6. R.S. Kirk, Tailoring Intensive Family Preservation Services for Family Reunification Cases: Research, Evaluation and Assessment, (www.nfpn.org/resourcess/articles/tailoring.html). Back to Text.

7. I.M. Schwartz, et. al., “Family Preservation Services as an Alternative to Out-of-Home Placement of Adolescents,” in K. Wells and D.E. Biegel, eds., Family Preservation Services: Research and Evaluation (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1991) pp.33-46, cited in Bath and Happala, note 3, supra.Back to Text.

8. R.E. Lewis, et. al., “Examining family reunification services: A process analysis of a successful experiment,” Research on Social Work Practice, 5, (3), 259-282, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

9. R.S. Kirk, A Critique of the “Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report,” May, 2001. Back to Text.

10. A. Heneghan, et. al., Evaluating intensive family preservation services: A methodological review. Pediatrics, 97(4), 535-542, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

11. Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

12. Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Intensive Family Preservation Programs: Program Fidelity Influences Effectiveness. February, 2006, available online at http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/06-02-3901.pdf

The original article can be found here: http://www.nccpr.org/newissues/11.html

Parental Mediation Does Not Work, Wake Up U.S. Courts

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 8, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Introduction

One of the government’s most exhaustive research reports ever commissioned called ‘Monitoring Publicly Funded Family Mediation’ found that ‘mediation‘ in this country did not ‘meet the objectives of saving marriages or helping divorcing couples to resolve problems with a minimum of acrimony’ and as a result was forced to scrap the idea of making mediation compulsory – see the statement from the former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, 16th.January 2000. However it is is still used as a method for deflecting fathers from receiving reasonable contact with their child or children. This section is intended to help fathers by highlighting some of the pitfalls of mediation with reference to the government’s own research report. If you have a query regarding any aspect of the mediation process, for example, Section 10, ‘The Parties Attitudes to Negotiation’, you can consult the government’s own research by clicking alongside!

“The government is committed to supporting marriage and to supporting families when relationships fail, especially when there are children involved. But this very comprehensive research, together with other recent valuable research in the field, has shown that Part II of the Family Law Act (i.e. Mediation) is not the best way of achieving those aims. The government is not therefore satisfied that it would be right to proceed with the implementation of Part II and proposes to ask Parliament to repeal it once suitable legislative opportunity occurs.”

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine,
16th.January 2000

NB For all legal aid certificates ‘mediation’ has to take place before the certificate (or funding) can be issued. However it can be deemed unnecessary if the mother makes an allegation of domestic abuse.

The original article can be found here: http://www.eventoddlersneedfathers.com/

How To Kidnap A Child

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on June 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

by Stephen Baskerville, PhD

Congratulations! You have embarked on a great adventure. Kidnapping a child is probably unlike anything you have done before. If you are a first-time kidnapper you may be hesitant; perhaps you have lingering scruples. It is true you will probably do irreparable harm to your own child. Children of divorce more often become involved in drugs, alcohol, and crime, become pregnant as teenagers, perform poorly in school, join gangs, and commit suicide.

But look at the advantages! You can be rid of that swine you live with, with all his tedious opinions about child-rearing. YOU call the shots! What could be more rewarding? And a little extra cash each month never hurts, eh?

Few people realize how easy abduction is. It happens 1,000 times a day, mostly by parents! So if you’re thinking, “I could never get away with it,” wake up! Millions do. In fact many only realize the possibility when they become victims. Then they invariably say, “If only I had known how easy it is I would have done it myself!” So don’t be caught off guard. Read on, and discover the exciting world of child kidnapping and extortion.

If you are mother the best time to snatch is soon after you have a new child or pregnancy. Once you have what you want, you will realize that the father is no longer necessary (except for child support).

A father should consider snatching as soon as he suspects the mother might. Once she has the child, you have pretty much lost the game. You will always be at a disadvantage, but it is in your interest (as it is in hers) to snatch first. Preventive snatching may not look good (and unlike her, it can be used against you). But hey, you have the kid. If you hit the road, it could take years to track you down.

Surprise is crucial for an elegant abduction.
Wait until the other parent is away, and clean the place out thoroughly. Take all the child’s effects, because if you don’t grab it now you will never get it, and you will never be forced to return any of it. The more you have, the better “home” you can claim to provide. You also want to achieve the maximum emotional devastation to your spouse. Like the terrorist, you want to impress with how swift, sudden, and unpredictable your strike can be.

Concealing the child is illegal, but it will also buy you time. The police will make the case a low priority, and if you are a mother you will never be prosecuted. In the meantime claim to have established a “stable routine” and that returning the child (or even visits) would be “disruptive.” Anything that keeps the child in your possession and away from their father works to your advantage.

Find superficial ways to appear cooperative. Inform the father of your decisions (after you have made them). At the same time avoid real cooperation. The judge will conclude that the parents “can’t agree” and leave you in charge. Since it is standard piety that joint custody requires “cooperation,” the easiest way to sabotage joint custody is to be as uncooperative as possible.

Go to court right away. The more aggressive you are with litigation the more it will appear you have some valid grievance. The judge and lawyers (including your spouse’s) will be grateful for the business you create. Despite professions of heavy caseloads, courts are under pressure to channel money to lawyers, whose bar associations appoint and promote judges. File a motion for sole custody, and get a restraining order to keep the father from seeing his children. (A nice touch is to say he is planning to “kidnap” them.) Or have him restricted to supervised visitation.

Going to court is also a great opportunity to curtail anything you dislike about your spouse’s child-rearing. If you don’t like his religion, get an injunction against him discussing it. Is he fussy about table manners or proper behavior? Getting a court order is easier than you think. You may even get the child’s entire upbringing micro-managed by judicial directives.

Charges of physical and sexual abuse are also helpful. Accusing a father of sexually abusing his own children is very easy and can be satisfying for its own sake.

Don’t worry about proving the charges.
An experienced judge will recognize trumped-up allegations. This is not important, since no one will ever blame the judge for being “better safe than sorry,” and accusations create business for his cronies. You yourself will never have to answer for false charges. The investigation also buys time during which you can further claim to be establishing a routine while keeping Dad at a distance and programming the children against him.

Abuse accusations are also marvelously self-fulfilling.
What more logical way to provoke a parent to lash out than to take away his children? Men naturally become violent when someone interferes with their children. This is what fathers are for. The more you can torment him with the ruin of his family, home, livelihood, savings, and sanity, the more likely that he will self-destruct, thus demonstrating his unfitness.

Get the children themselves involved. Children are easily convinced they have been molested. Once the suggestion is planted, any affection from their father will elicit a negative reaction, making your suggestion self-fulfilling in the child’s mind. And if one of your new lovers actually has molested the child, you can divert the accusation to Dad.

Dripping poison into the hearts of your children can be gratifying, and it is a joy to watch the darlings absorb your hostility. Young children can be filled with venom fairly easily just by telling them what a rat their father is as frequently as possible.

Older children present more of a challenge. They may have fond memories of the love and fun they once experienced with him. These need to be expunged or at least tainted. Try little tricks like saying, “Today you will be seeing your father, but don’t worry, it won’t last long.” Worry aloud about the other parent’s competence to care for the child or what unpleasant or dangerous experience may be in store during the child’s visit. Sign the child up for organized activities that conflict with Dad’s visits. Or promise fun things, like a trip to Disneyland, which then must be “cancelled” to visit Dad.

You will soon discover how neatly your techniques reinforce one another. For example, marginalizing the father and alienating the child become perfect complements merely by suggesting that Daddy is absent because he does not love you. What could be more logical in their sweet little minds!

And what works with children is also effective with judges. The more you can make the children hate their father the easier you make it to leave custody with you.

Remember too, this guide is no substitute for a good lawyer, since nothing is more satisfying than watching a hired goon beat up on your child’s father in a courtroom.

And now you can do what you like! You can warehouse the kids in daycare while you work (or whatever). You don’t have to worry about brushing hair or teeth. You can slap them when they’re being brats. You can feed them fast food every night (or just give them Cheez Whiz). If they become a real annoyance you can turn them over to the state social services agency. You are free!

November 19, 2001

The original article can be found here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/baskerville1.html

Why Kids Usually Side with the Custodial Parent Especially If They’re Emotionally Abusive

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Do your children refuse to see you since you and your ex separated? When you actually get to see your kid(s), do they lash out at you? Do they know things about your break up or divorce that they shouldn’t know? Do they “diagnose” or berate you by using adult terms and expressions that are beyond their years?

If so, you’re probably experiencing the effects of parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting. It’s normal to have hard feelings at the end of a significant relationship, however, you have a choice about how you handle it.

Most cases of parental alienation occur in dissolved marriages/relationships, break ups, and divorces in which there’s a high degree of conflict, emotional abuse, and/or mental illness or personality disorders.

If you were emotionally abused by your ex while you were still together, then your kid(s) learned some powerful lessons about relationships, especially if you had a “no talk” policy about the rages, yelling, and verbal attacks. Children are adversely affected by witnessing constant conflict and emotional abuse, no matter their age.

Emotionally abusive women and men are scary when on the attack, which probably makes it all the more confusing to see your ex turn your child(ren) against you. Don’t your kids see how out of whack their mom or dad is being? Don’t they know that you love them and how much you want to be in their lives? Don’t they realize they need you now more than ever? Yes and no.

On some level, they do know this. Nonetheless, they’re lashing out at you like mini-versions of your ex. Why?

It’s not that confusing if you think about it from a child’s perspective. Children depend utterly upon their custodial parent. Seeing mom or dad lose it and out of control is anxiety provoking, if not downright terrifying. The following are possible reasons why your ex’s campaign of parental alienation may be successful.

1.) You left them alone with the crazy person. You got out and they didn’t. They’re mad that you’re not there anymore to intervene, buffer, protect, or take the brunt of it.

2.) Self-preservation. They see how your ex is treating you because she or he is angry with you. Your kid(s) don’t want your ex’s wrath directed at them. It’s like siding with the bully at school so they don’t beat the crap out of you.

3.) Fear of loss. If they make your ex mad they worry that they’ll be emotionally and/or physically banished, too. This is especially true if your ex used to shut you out, give you the cold shoulder, and/or ignore you when she or he was upset with you. Your kids probably fear your ex will do this to them if they don’t go along with him or her.

4.) They’re mad at you. You’re no longer physically present at home, which they experience as psychological loss. Many kids experience this as betrayal and/or abandonment. Even if they can recognize that you didn’t have a happy marriage, they still want mom and dad to be together.

Loss, whether it’s physical (death) or psychological (divorce), requires a mourning period. Children aren’t psychologically equipped to handle grief and mourning. Pending other developmental milestones, kids don’t have the psychological capacity to successfully navigate loss until mid-adolescence. If you’d died, they could idealize your memory. However, you’re alive and chose to leave (or your ex chose for you). How do you mourn the loss of someone who’s not dead? It takes a level of intellectual sophistication children don’t possess not to vilify the physically absent parent—especially when your ex isn’t capable of it as an adult.

5.) Rewards and punishment. Your ex “rewards” the kids (material goods, praise, trips and fun activities—probably with your support money—oh the irony) for siding with her or him, being cruel to you, or cutting you off. If your kid(s) stand up for you or challenge your ex’s smear campaign, they’re chastised, lose privileges, or have affection withheld from them. Remember how your ex used to treat you when she or he was displeased? It’s way scarier when you’re a kid. You have options as an adult that your children don’t.

6.) The good son or daughter. They see how upset and out of control your ex is and want to take care of and make her or him “better.” They try to do this by doing what your ex wants, which is being hostile toward you and/or excluding you from their lives. This creates what psychologists refer to as the parentified child. Parentification forces a child to shoulder emotions and responsibilities for which she or he isn’t developmentally prepared.

Emotional parentification is particularly destructive for children and frequently occurs in parental alienation cases. The custodial parent implicitly or explicitly dumps their emotional needs on the child. The child becomes the parent’s confidante, champion/hero and surrogate for an adult partner. This is extremely unhealthy as it robs these kids of their childhood and leads to difficulty in having normal adult relationships later in life.

7..) Power and control. They see the power your ex wields by behaving in an abusive and hurtful way toward you. They can wield the same power by acting out and hurting you, too. A child or teenager’s first taste of power can be thrilling for them. Of course, what they’re learning from you ex is how to gain control by being an emotionally abusive bully.

8.) It’s good to be the victim. The more your ex plays the professional victim to friends, family and the legal system, the more benefits she or he gains—deferential treatment, sympathy, power, and money. The kids pick up on this victim mentality and behaviors and use it to net their own gains.

A combination of the above reasons probably applies to your child(ren) siding with your ex, particularly when you’ve been a good and loving parent. It’s demoralizing to have your kid(s) slap or push you away each time you reach out to them. It’s maddening that family court, in many cases, is blind to the abuses of parental alienation. Try to keep in mind that most children aren’t consciously aware that the above phenomena are occurring. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to be the emotional and financial punching bag for your ex and children.

The original article can be found here: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/?p=411

Maternal Deprivation? Monkeys, Yes; Mommies, No…

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 5:00 am

Do children do best with one parent over another? Or does biology determine who is the better parent?

If you ask the feminists of the 70s who wanted to be free of restrictive child-rearing and assume an equal station in the workplace and politics, the answer to the first question would be no. Why would feminists give up their biologically superior position of motherhood, in which a mother is the primary caregiver, in favor of a job? What narcissists mother would do that?

And yet, today, if you ask the very self-same feminists who are leading the charge to narrow sole-custody of children in divorce proceedings to a woman based on some “biological advantage” the answer to the second question would be yes.

Upon this, you have the creation of a legally untenable position given to women based on gender. To get around “having your cake and eating it, too,” state family law has created the “imaginary world” of the “primary parent” dictum, which guides family law today, which is just a primary rehashing of “tender years doctrine”, both of which do not have the legal merit whatsover, nor the empirical research to support either.

But if you go back to the Maternal Deprivation nonsense, you quickly find the empirical research that throws this theory back into the area of “junk science” where it belongs. Maternal Deprivation is both empirically wrong and a sexist theory.

The junk science theory and refutation can be found here:
http://www.simplypsychology.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bowlby.html

“Although Bowlby may not dispute that young children form multiple attachments, he still contends that the attachment to the mother is unique in that it is the first to appear and remains the strongest of all. However, on both of these counts, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

* Schaffer & Emerson (1964) noted that specific attachments started at about 8 months and, very shortly thereafter, the infants became attached to other people. By 18 months very few (13%) were attached to only one person; some had five or more attachments.

* Rutter (1981) points out that several indicators of attachment (such as protest or distress when attached person leaves) has been shown for a variety of attachment figures – fathers, siblings, peers and even inanimate objects.

Critics such as Rutter have also accused Bowlby of not distinguishing between deprivation and privation – the complete lack of an attachment bond, rather than its loss. Rutter stresses that the quality of the attachment bond is the most important factor, rather than just deprivation in the critical period.

Another criticism of 44 Thieves Study as that it concluded that affectionless psychopathy was caused by maternal deprivation. This is correlational data and as such only shows a relationship between these two variables. Indeed, other external variables, such as diet, parental income, education etc. may have affected the behaviour of the 44 thieves, and not, as concluded, the disruption of the attachment bond.”

There are implications arising from Bowlby’s work. As he believed the mother to be the most central care giver and that this care should be given on a continuous basis an obvious implication is that mothers should not go out to work. There have been many attacks on this claim:

* Mothers are the exclusive carers in only a very small percentage of human societies; often there are a number of people involved in the care of children, such as relations and friends (Weisner & Gallimore, 1977).

* Ijzendoorn & Tavecchio (1987) argue that a stable network of adults can provide adequate care and that this care may even have advantages over a system where a mother has to meet all a child’s needs.

* There is evidence that children develop better with a mother who is happy in her work, than a mother who is frustrated by staying at home (Schaffer, 1990).

There are many articles relating to this nonsense, and how it has been refuted. The original theory was promulgated by John Bowlby. Bowlby grew up mother-fixated because he did not have a relationship with his father. See why here.

Psychological research includes a shocking history and continuation of maternal deprivation experiments on animals. While maternal deprivation experiments have been conducted far more frequently on rhesus macaques and other monkeys, chimpanzees were not spared as victims of this unnecessary research.
Maternal Deprivation applies to monkeys only.

LA County Puts the “Fix” on Parents Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Your rights to retain physical and legal custody of your children during divorce proceeding is compromised by California’s new ex post facto law recently passed by the California Senate. As a matter of fact, in Los Angeles County, it already is.

In California counties divorce proceedings in the past 12 years may have been “fixed” in counties where counties supplemented Judges salaries with benefits above the state mandated salary. (Under California Law, only the state may compensate judges for performance of their work. The California Constitution (Sec. 17, 19, 20) states that Judges may not receive money from other parties than their employer, the State of California, and the Legislature has the sole responsibility for setting compensation and retirement benefits.)

However California, like all 50 states and territories, receive hundreds of Billions of $$ from the federal government to run its state courts and welfare programs, including Social Security Act Title Iv-D, Child Support Iv-E, Foster Care and VAWA prevention and intimidation programs against family law litigants. The federal block grants are then given to the counties applying for the monies.

If counties have been paying judges money above state legislated salaries, then counties have been fixing cases for years by maintaining de facto judicial officers to rule in their favor. How does this affect parent’s rights? The money received in block grants is applied for by the counties based on the divorce and custody proceeding awards. For example, the more sole custody or foster home proceedings existing in the county, the more money the county is qualified to receive.

Both the US Constitution, and the California Constitution. California’s wording is even stronger than the US Constitution. Here are the direct quotes:

United States Constitution, Section 9, Article 3
“No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”

Constitution of the State of California – Article I, Section 9
“A bill of attainder ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be passed.”

The law in question is SBX2 11 which retroactively pardons, just about everyone involved in official activity including judges who received money for benefits from the county.

“The California Constitution requires the Legislature to prescribe compensation for judges of courts of record. Existing law authorizes a county to deem judges and court employees as county employees for purposes of providing employment benefits. These provisions were held unconstitutional as an impermissible delegation of the obligation of the Legislature to prescribe the compensation of judges of courts of record. This bill would provide that judges who received supplemental judicial benefits provided by a county or court, or both, as of July 1, 2008, shall continue to receive supplemental benefits from the county or court then paying the benefits on the same terms and conditions as were in effect on that date.”

The law also goes on to state:

“This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of the bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.”

Is this why attorney Richard I Fine is in a LA County Jail? For more on his story see:

Attorney Richard Fine files suit against judges http://www.dailynews.com/ci_8113733

Richard Fine, a brave and talented California attorney and United States Department of Justice Attorney http://www.ahrc.se/new/index.php/src/tools/sub/yp/action/display/id/2652

Metropolitan News-Enterprise http://www.metnews.com/articles/2009/stur021809.htm

The Full Disclosure Network: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/538.php and http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/539.php

JUDICIAL BENEFITS & COURT CORRUPTION (Part 3-4) http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/540.php

FISCAL CRISIS: Illegal Payments Create Law For Judicial Criminal & Liability Immunity: Nominees For U S Supreme Court To Be Impacted? See: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/news/labels/SBX2%2011.html

The Bill as passed by the Senate: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sbx2_11_bill_20090214_amended_sen_v98.html

The Constitutionality of Child Support Guidelines

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 31, 2009 at 9:00 pm

© 2003 National Legal Research Group, Inc.

This article updates a previous article dealing with the same subject. Laura W. Morgan, The Constitutionality of Child Support Guidelines, 14 Divorce Litigation 117 (2002).

I. New Decisions

On April 29, 2003, the Supreme Court of Georgia decided Georgia Department of Human Resources v. Sweat, 2003 WL 1960012 (Ga. 2003). This case reviewed a trial court’s decision declaring the Georgia child support guidelines unconstitutional as a violation of the guarantees of due process, equal protection, and privacy, and as an unconstitutional taking of property. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded that the trial court employed “incorrect constitutional standards” and “unsound constitutional analyses,” and reversed.

The Georgia Supreme Court first concluded that the guidelines do not violate the Georgia and United States Constitutions’ guarantees of due process for two reasons. First, the statute need only meet the rational basis test, i.e., it is reasonably related to the public health, safety, or general welfare, and not a more exacting constitutional standard, because the statute does not infringe on a fundamental right and the complaining party is not a member of a suspect class. The trial court thus erred by applying an intermediate scrutiny analysis. Second, the statute meets the rational basis test as it furthers the important and reasonable objective of ensuring adequate support for Georgia’s children whose parents have divorced. The distinction between custodial and non-custodial parents is required to ensure that each parent contributes his or her fair share.

The court next concluded that the guidelines do not violate the Georgia and United States Constitutions’ guarantee of equal protection. Again, because no fundamental right or suspect class is involved, the statute need only meet the rational basis test. Custodial and non-custodial parents are not, by definition, similarly situated, and it is not true that only non-custodial parents are affected by support orders. The guidelines thus draw permissible distinctions without discriminating.

The court further concluded that the guidelines do not violate the constitutional right of privacy. The state has a sufficient interest in ensuring adequate support for its children, and child support has never been a private function.

Finally, the guidelines do not effect an illegal taking. The guidelines are not a governmental taking of money for a public purpose, but are an effort to ensure payment of support from one parent to another.

On May 2, 2003, the Tennessee Supreme Court decided Gallaher v. Elam, 2003 WL 2010731 (Tenn. 2003). This decision reviewed a Tennessee Court of Appeals’ decision that held that Tennessee Child Support Guidelines ch. 1240-2-4-.03(4) violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Tennessee and United States Constitutions. This provision of the guidelines states: “Children of the obligor who are not included in a decree of child support shall not be considered for the purposes of reducing the obligor’s net income or in calculating the guideline amount. In addition, these children should not be considered by the court as a reason for deviation unless they meet the requirements of rule 1240-2-4-.04(4).” The court of appeals also held that Tennessee’s guidelines, by taking into consideration only the obligor’s income, also violated equal protection and due process.

The Tennessee Supreme Court began its analysis with the appropriate level of constitutional scrutiny and concluded that the guidelines need only meet the rational basis test. The lower court thus erred by applying heightened scrutiny.

Next, the court stated that the guidelines treat obligors who have children for whom there are no orders of support differently from obligors who have children subject to court-ordered support. This distinction meets the rational basis test because children who are subject to court orders and those who are not enjoy different benefits from the obligor.

The court then held that the state’s formula for computing child support, which is based solely on a percentage of the obligor’s income, does not result in any constitutional violation per se. This is because the guidelines presume (and it is true) that the obligee will be expending at least an equal percentage of net income as that of the obligor for the support of the children for whom support is sought. Moreover, the guidelines permit a deviation from the amount calculated if the presumptions underlying the guidelines are not present in the particular case. Thus, a parent can present evidence to the court regarding his or her case that will result in the fairest possible award.

Finally, the court concluded that there was no violation of separation of powers for the Department of Human Services to enact child support guidelines. The Department was clearly carrying out the legislature’s intent embodied in Tenn. Code Ann. 71-1-132(a)(1), which directed the Department to enact guidelines consistent with the federal mandate at 45 C.F.R. 302.56. The delegation of power was thus constitutional.

II. Analysis

The law is clear that child support guidelines need only meet the rational basis test in order to pass constitutional scrutiny. In case after case, the courts have held that child support guidelines must meet this test. Yet, non-custodial parents continue to press in state after state the same arguments: that child support guidelines violate due process, equal protection, the right of privacy, the separation of powers, First Amendment rights, etc. Why?

There is a persistent view that child support guidelines treat non-custodial parents unfairly, that the amount they pay is simply too much. This view persists even though study after study has shown that (a) non-custodial parents’ standard of living goes up after divorce, while custodial parents’ standard of living goes down; and (b) child support does not reach even the basic levels of expenditures on children in intact families as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture.

One reason for this persistent view may be the percentage of income model itself. Both of these recent challenges came from states, Georgia and Tennessee, that use the percentage of income model. Although this model presumes that the custodial parent is contributing to the support of the child(ren) in the same percentage as the non-custodial parent, this presumption is not as explicit in the method of calculating support as it is in income shares model states. Where the perception of fairness is as important as fairness itself, it may be a good idea for percentage of income model states to switch to the income shares model.

Another reason may be non-custodial parents’ frustration with an inability to obtain custody/visitation in an amount they desire. When a parent does not see a child as much as he or she wishes, that parent is less likely to pay support or view support as fair.

There should be no battle on this topic. All parents should agree that children are entitled to a “fair” amount of support, and all parents should agree that both parents, in the absence of domestic violence or other vitiating factors, should have as much access to the child as is in the best interests of the child. Fairness can be ensured by a child support guideline model that takes into consideration as many factors as possible, including both parents’ incomes, and access to the child should be a priority with the courts. If both these goals are realized, the constitutional challenges will diminish.

Indentured Families – Social conservatives and the GOP: Can this marriage be saved?

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 24, 2009 at 12:30 am

by Allan Carlson
03/27/2006, Volume 011, Issue 26

IN THE INTERNAL POLITICS OF the Republican coalition, some members are consistently more equal than others. In particular, where the interests of the proverbial “Sam’s Club Republicans” collide with the interests of the great banks, the Sam’s Club set might as well pile into the family car and go home.

Consider, to take one recent instance, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, enacted last year, after a long delay, with support from congressional Republicans. A controversial clause that would have prevented abortion protesters from filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying court-ordered fines had stalled the measure. After the Senate rejected this provision, GOP leaders drove the bill through both houses of Congress and gained an enthusiastic signature from President George W. Bush.

In a nutshell, the new law makes a “clean start” after filing for bankruptcy much more difficult for families with at least one wage earner. Instead, most affected households will find themselves essentially indentured to a bank or credit card bureau, paying off their debt for years to come. “A new form of feudalism,” one critic calls it.

In truth, some had abused the old law, turning repeated bankruptcy filings into a kind of circus. A tightening on this side probably made sense. Significantly, though, the new law made no real changes on the lenders’ side, measures that might have reined in an increasingly predatory credit industry. It is common knowledge, for example, that credit card companies intentionally urge financially troubled families to borrow still more money, because they can charge these households exorbitant interest rates. As one Citibank executive has candidly observed, “They are the ones who provide most of our profit.” Late payment fees, another favored industry device, reportedly deliver over 30 percent of credit card financing revenue. Assurances by lawmakers that the new law will bring credit card interest rates down fly in the face of these more fundamental corporate strategies.

True, in the context of America’s new debt-driven economy, this treatment of financially troubled families may constitute “good business” (even if under older ethical standards it’s the equivalent of offering a barrel of whiskey to an alcoholic). More fundamentally, though, the GOP’s opting for an outcome that’s good for Citibank’s profits while disregarding the effects on families should cause no surprise.

SOME HISTORY may help here. The modern “family issues” are actually about a century old. The first openly “pro-family” president was a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. Between 1900 and about 1912, he wrote and spoke often, and eloquently, about the dangers of a rising divorce rate and a falling birth rate. He celebrated motherhood and fatherhood as the most important human tasks, and described the true marriage as “a partnership of the soul, the spirit and the mind, no less than of the body.” He blasted as “foes of our household” the birth control movement, equity feminism, eugenics, and liberal Christianity.

However, the Rough Rider was the only prominent Republican of his time to think and talk this way. The dominant wing of the GOP tilted in favor of the banks, the great industries, and–perhaps more surprisingly–the feminist movement. Indeed, as early as 1904, the National Association of Manufacturers had formed an alliance with the feminists, for they shared an interest in moving women out of their homes and into the paid labor market. When the feminists reorganized as the National Woman’s party in 1917, the manufacturers’ association apparently provided secret financial support. More openly, Republican leaders embraced the feminists’ proposed Equal Rights Amendment, first advanced in Congress in 1923. The GOP was also the first major party to endorse the ERA in its platform.

Meanwhile, the Democrats consolidated their 19th-century legacy of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”: that is, as the party favoring beer halls, the new immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, southern agrarians, northern Catholics, small property, the trade unions, and–importantly–the “family wage” for male workers. This cultural and legal device sought to deliver a single wage to fathers sufficient to support a wife and children at home. The Democrats also welcomed the “Maternalists” into their ranks, female activists who–while believing strongly in equal legal and political rights for women–also emphasized the natural differences between the sexes when it came to childbirth and child care. They favored federal programs for the training of girls in home economics and for “baby saving,” meaning efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality. They fiercely opposed working mothers and day care. Under this Maternalist influence, every New Deal domestic program openly assumed or quietly reinforced the goal of a “family wage” and the model American family of a breadwinning father, a homemaking mother, and an average of three or four children.

In short, from 1912 until 1964, the Democrats were–on balance–the pro-family party. The Republicans, on balance, were the party of business interests and the feminists.

All this changed between 1964 and 1980 with the emergence of the “Reagan Democrats.” This radical reorientation of American domestic politics began with debate about adding “sex” to the list of prohibited discriminations under Title VII (employment issues) of the proposed Civil Rights Act of 1964, a fascinating event that ended with the addition of “sex” and the ensuing legal destruction of the “family wage” regime. The broad transformation continued with the rise of the “pro-family movement” during the 1970s, behind early leaders such as Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich. It ended in 1980 with the solid movement of northern Catholics and southern evangelicals into the Republican party, and the counter-movement of feminists and the new sexual revolutionaries into the Democratic fold. Ronald Reagan, a proud four-time voter for Franklin D. Roosevelt and a lifelong admirer of the New Deal, explained his 1980 victory to a group of Catholic voters this way:

The secret is that when the left took over the Democratic party we [former Democrats] took over the Republican party. We made the Republican party into the party of the working people, the family, the neighborhood, the defense of freedom. And yes, the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance to One Nation Under God. So, you see, the party that so many of us grew up with still exists except that today it’s called the Republican party.

In fact, this was only partly true. For the Republican party as reshaped by Reagan now saw pro-family social conservatives in political alliance with the interests of the banks and the large corporations. Main Street and Wall Street were under the same tent, which was a very new development.

SO, HOW WELL has the Republican party performed as the party of the traditional family? At the level of the party platform, it has done fairly well. Since 1980, pro-family activists have successfully shaped Republican platforms that oppose ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, endorse a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade and protect pre-born infant life, and call for pro-family tax measures.

And there have been concrete wins. Regarding taxation, for example, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 doubled the value of the child-friendly personal exemption and indexed it to inflation. Ten years later, another tax bill created a new Child Tax Credit. George Bush’s 2001 tax cut raised this credit to $1,000 per child and began to eliminate the tax code’s notorious marriage penalty.

There have been other gains. Congress approved and President Bush signed a ban on partial-birth abortion. The welfare reform of 1996 eliminated perverse incentives to out-of-wedlock births. Under the current President Bush, the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families and the Office of Population Affairs, important branches of the Department of Health and Human Services, are in pro-family hands. As of last month, so is the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Judges with pro-family records have won presidential appointment to federal courts, most recently Samuel Alito. Especially with the current administration, social conservatives have sometimes felt that they actually hold a true seat at the table.

Even so, all is not well within the existing Republican coalition. Indeed, there are other indicators that the Republican party has done relatively little to help traditional families, and may in fact be contributing to their new indentured status. Certainly at the level of net incomes, the one-earner family today is worse off than it was thirty years ago, when the GOP began to claim the pro-family banner. Specifically, the median income of married-couple families, with the wife not in the paid labor force, was $40,100 in 2002, less than it had been in 1970 ($40,785) when inflation is taken into account. In contrast, the real earnings of two-income married couple families rose by 35 percent over the same years (to nearly $73,000). Put another way, families have been able to get ahead only by becoming “nontraditional” and sending mother to work or forgoing children altogether. As the Maternalists had warned, eliminating America’s “family wage” system would drive male wages down and severely handicap the one-income home. So it has happened.

Despite the economic pressures, though, such families are not extinct. They still form core social conservative constituencies such as home schooling families and families with four or more children. But again, they have little to show from the years of the Republican alliance. Indeed, the GOP has done absolutely nothing to curb the egalitarian frenzy and the gender-role engineering set off by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and enshrined at the Pentagon. Equity feminism still rules these roosts.

Or consider child care. A timely veto by Richard Nixon stopped the government’s day care juggernaut in 1971, but only for a few months. The same year, Nixon signed a Republican-designed measure also backed by the National Organization for Women (heir to the GOP-favored National Woman’s party). This law allowed families to deduct day care costs from their income tax, cleverly labeling them “business expenses.” This has since grown into a credit worth between $1,500 and $2,100 in reduced taxes for households using day care. Even the wealthiest qualify.

Meanwhile, families that sacrifice a second income to keep a mother or father at home receive nothing except a higher net tax. Bills to correct this gross inequity have been regularly introduced in Congress since 1996, most recently the Parents’ Tax Relief Act of 2006 (H.R. 3080). However, the Republican leadership has ignored them. To underscore the lost opportunity here, note that conservatives in Canada rode to victory just a few weeks ago by embracing a plan to extend that nation’s day care benefit to stay-at-home parents; not a whiff of this, though, in the recent State of the Union address.

Add to these examples the bankruptcy reform measure discussed earlier, and ask: What do these issues have in common? All three are matters where the interests of big business and the interests of traditional, one-breadwinner families have collided, and in each case the Republican party has sided in the end with business. Concerning one-income families, the great corporations continue to view them as a waste of human resources, artificially raising labor costs by holding adults at home. Judging by its inaction and results, the GOP agrees. For the same reason, large businesses generally favor federally subsidized day care, for it creates incentives for mothers to work rather than care for their children. Existing Republican policy strongly favors this social parenting. And the credit industry has every interest in creating a new, indentured debtor class annually sending 20 percent of its income to the banks. The Republicans concur.

OTHER DEBT-DRIVEN FAMILY ISSUES are looming, with little indication of a Republican willingness to tackle them in a pro-family way. Consider the Federal Student Loan program, launched in the mid-1960s as a modest supplement to means-tested federal education grants. The system has since morphed into a massive debt machine, lending out $58 billion in 2005 alone and fueling a huge increase in college and university costs. The average bachelor’s degree recipient currently graduates with $20,000 in debt; students having attended graduate school report another $50,000 to $100,000 in debt, creating in one commentator’s words “the most indebted generation of young Americans ever.”

Here we find another newly indentured class of Americans, also paying about 20 percent of their incomes to the banks for decades to come. Disturbingly, over 20 percent of these borrowers report that they have delayed having children because of their debt, while 15 percent say they have delayed marriage. These are not pro-family outcomes. The most recent Republican response to the borrowers’ plight–undertaken in early February in the name of fiscal responsibility–was to pass a measure whose net effect will be to raise the long-term debt facing young adults.

Another troubling new issue is Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, the federal government’s child support collection and enforcement program. Originally designed to track down the welfare fathers of illegitimate children, the measure has increasingly targeted middle income households affected by divorce. There is mounting evidence that the system now encourages marital breakup and exacerbates fatherlessness by creating a winner-take-all game, where the losing parent–commonly a father wanting to save the marriage–is unfairly penalized by the loss of his children and by a federally enforced child support obligation. Here we find objectively false feminist views–the assumption that men are always the abusers and women are always the victims–driving public policy. And here we find still another newly indentured class of citizens–noncustodial parents–being squeezed financially by the state. If you think this an exaggeration,

I refer you to no less an authority than Phyllis Schlafly, who calls this runaway federal law the most serious danger facing American families today.

Democrats often dream of wooing the “Reagan Democrats” back into the fold. Bill Clinton, who could speak “evangelical” and who embraced pro-family tax and welfare reforms, succeeded to some degree. Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, who actually coined the phrase “Reagan Democrats,” argues that “a new, family-centered politics can define and revitalize the Democratic party.” Its message should highlight “family integrity and parental responsibility” and offer a “progressive vision of family support.” Greenberg even theorizes that “Roman Catholics would [again] rally to a Democratic party respectful of family and committed to defending government’s unique role in supporting it.”

If the Democratic party remains the party of the sexual revolution, as its open yearning for same-sex marriage suggests it may, such dreams will remain just that. However, if a Democratic leader can ever shake that monkey off his–or her–back, and if this occurs in conjunction with an economic downturn, the prospects for another broad political realignment are fairly high. A new economic populism, delivering child-sensitive benefits and skewering predatory banks and bureaucrats, could work politically for a clever Democrat.

Moreover, when push comes to shove, social conservatives remain second class citizens under the Republican tent. During the 2004 Republican convention, they were virtually confined to the party’s attic, kept off the main stage, treated like slightly lunatic children. Republican lobbyist Michael Scanlon’s infamous candid comment–“The wackos get their information [from] the Christian right [and] Christian radio”–suggests a common opinion among the dominant “K Street” Republicans toward their coalition allies.

Contemporary Republican leaders need to do better–much better–toward social conservatives. They must creatively address pressing new family issues centered on debt burden. And they must learn to say “no” sometimes to Wall Street, lest they squander the revolutionary political legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Allan Carlson is president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society in Rockford, Illinois.
© Copyright 2005, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Lost Parent’s Perspective – Chapter 5 of 5

In child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 23, 2009 at 1:00 am

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2
CHAPTER 5

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The present qualitative study examined lost parents’ perceptions of the alienating circumstances they and their families experienced in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the nature of Parental Alienation Syndrome and its consequences. The participants included five fathers and one mother who perceived themselves as having experienced PAS. The data were collected via semi-structured, open-ended interview questionnaires. The results consisted of verbatim data transcribed from participants’ tape recorded responses. A qualitative analysis of the compiled data was performed for each participant. This section presents a summary and discussion of all the results. The four previously outlined study objectives are addressed with respect to the findings of the present study.

Question 1: Are there characteristics (e.g., number of children, number of marriages, etc.) common to alienated families?

Previous studies on alienation that have examined the role of family characteristics as possible factors in the occurrence of the alienation have found differing results. For instance, in the study conducted by Dunne and Hedrick (1994) family characteristics were not found to be a factor of PAS, whereas a study conducted by Calabrese et al., (1987) found that characteristics of individuals were better predictors of alienation than family characteristics. Specifically, high levels of alienation were found to be associated with unemployed, single mothers with a daughter. Further, the daughter was found to have had few friends. Although a number of the participants in the present study had tended to only one PAS child, the lost parents tended to remarry after the alienation, and the alienators had tended to relocate with the PAS child. These results were found to be weak indicators of PAS as they were not reported by a majority of the participants (i.e., greater than 50%). Supporting the results of Dunne and Hedrick (1994), it appears that family characteristics such as number of children, number of marriages, and number of relocations are weak indicators in the occurrence of PAS. Though these findings contradict those of Calabrese et al., (1987), they examined different family characteristics reported by the alienator and found that individual family members characteristics, such as the alienator’s employment and the gender of PAS and non-PAS children were relevant in the occurrence of PAS. Further study is required with a larger sample and more detailed questions concerning the number and gender of PAS children and non-PAS children, the number of marriages by both alienator and lost parent, the current marital status and employment of each parent, and the number and reasons for relocations. With these specific questions, a larger sample, and a comparison group of non-PAS divorced families, more light might be shed on the role of family characteristics in the occurrence of PAS.

Question 2: Are there common themes or issues among the conflicts within couples that contribute to marriage dissolution?

Previous studies examined the effects of conflict involved in separation and/or divorce on individual family members. For instance, Johnston, Gonzalez, and Campbell (1987) examined the behaviour of children from separated and/or divorced families who were subjected to “entrenched” parental conflict regarding their custody. It was postulated, in the current study, that an elevated level of conflict contributed to the occurrence of PAS. However, the results suggest that the dissolution of the PAS marriages occurred with varying degrees of conflict, from high levels of conflict including physical aggression, to situations with absolutely no conflict. The current study also found that with time, the majority of the participants reported strained relationships with their ex-spouses, where most had little or no contact with their ex-spouses due to a degradation of communication between the parents. These results suggest that there may be other factors aside from initial marital conflict that contributes to the occurrence of PAS. Lund’s (1995) findings indicated that a heightened number of conflicts occurring during the divorce, not during the marriage, may contribute to the occurrence of PAS. Again, further study of separating families is necessary to determine whether it is other factors that occur during the dissolution of the marriage and subsequent custody proceedings or if it is the time of the conflicts with respect to the divorce that plays a more significant role in PAS. Such studies should consist of a long-term examination of the situations that occur in separating families and the family member’s responses to them. For instance, a future study may have participants maintain daily journals that chronicle the events of the separation and these journals may later be analyzed qualitatively in order to determine whether any similarities exist across different families.

Question 3: Are there common themes in the participants’ experience of the alienation process?

Several common themes among the cases were found in the present study. Interestingly, these commonalties spanned the continent; they were not focused geographically. One commonality was that the PAS children were “enlisted” by the alienating parent as secondary alienators to them (i.e., to the primary alienator) to contribute to the alienation. This finding is consistent with the characteristics of PAS children described by Gardner (1992). Also described by Gardner (1992) and Cartwright (1993), others such as grandparents participated and contributed to the alienation. The reasons for which extended family members participate in that alienation remains unclear. Although there is some support for the notion that the closeness of these other alienators to the alienating parent may play a role, the results were inconclusive. A future study could contribute to the knowledge of PAS by examining the roles of the extended family members of PAS children.

A second commonality was that the lost parents reported feeling powerless as a result of the alienating situation. Others, especially the children, appeared to have gained control of the lost parents’ behaviour. These children could determine when, if at all, they would see their lost parent under what circumstances, and particularly what the lost parent would do with the child. The lost parent had to be careful not to anger their child lest they not see the child again. The sense that power shifted from the parent to the child, although not previously examined in the field of PAS, remains a logical consequence of the custody proceedings. As Turkat (1994) noted, the family undergoes a shift from having two parents who make decisions for the child, to one parent becoming a “visitor” in the child’s life. The “visiting” parent then loses the influence that he or she had previously and is unable to make the same decisions as he or she once did.

Third, the results suggest a lack of satisfaction with the services rendered by both legal and mental health professionals. The participants perceived a lack of knowledge of PAS on the part of the professionals, as well as a failure at the professional level to gather pertinent information prior to drawing conclusions. Participants perceived the psychological services they received as not helping the alienating situation, and perceived the legal professionals as supporting and even contributing to the alienation. The sense of dissatisfaction toward mental health professionals may be merited. Currently, there is a minimal amount of research conducted on PAS by psychologists and psychiatrists. Consequently, the number of these professionals who have any knowledge and understanding of PAS may be limited. Further research and discussion of the topic is imperative in order to provide more mental health professionals with greater knowledge of PAS and the intervention techniques that may be useful.

Legal professionals appear to be more aware of PAS as more articles are published by lawyers. However, the dissatisfaction with the legal system appears to stem from lawyers contributing to the alienation. Many have postulated that the legal system contributes to the occurrence of PAS (Gardner, 1992; 1991; Clawar & Rivlin, 1991; Dunne & Hedrick, 1994; and Girdner 1985). For instance, Cartwright (1993) had noted that prolonged legal proceedings contribute to the occurrence of PAS. Much of the blame for the occurrence of PAS may be related to the dissatisfaction the lost parents experienced with the legal system. This dissatisfaction may be due to the lost parents losing primary custody of their children to alienators. As a result, it is imperative that indicators and precursors of PAS be established in order to better inform judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals about PAS. These professionals, working together, can influence the outcome for PAS families. Their influence is shown with the findings of Dunne and Hedrick (1994) who linked the termination of PAS to the legal enforcement of a change in custody from the alienators to the lost parents. This finding was the only one to suggest an effective intervention for PAS families. Specifically, a possible intervention includes mental health professionals identifying PAS families to the legal professionals, who can then legally enforce the necessary change in custody.

The role of these professionals is also to inform others of PAS and its consequences. Currently, Anita Woolfolk (1998), in her bestselling textbook Educational Psychology, provides some startling information to student teachers. In her note to be “sensitive” to the rights of information for both parents, she suggests the following:

1. “When parents have joint custody, both are entitled to receive information and attend parent-teacher conferences.”
2. “The noncustodial parent may still be concerned about the child’s school progress.” (emphasis added) (p. 96)

In her first point, she neglects to mention the rights of noncustodial parents and when she does so in her second point, she states that they “may still be concerned” about their child. Such remarks provide future teachers with the impression that once a parent loses custody they also lose their parental rights and feelings for their children. Under Quebec law, Article 648 stipulates that a parent retains parental authority even if that parent does not have physical custody of the child (as cited in Department of Justice Canada, 1993). Specifically, parental authority is elaborated in Article 647 of the Quebec Civil Code (as cited in Department of Justice Canada, 1993) is stated as follows:

The father and mother have the rights and duties of custody, supervision and education of their children. They must maintain their children.

Fourth, the results of the present study suggest that the lost parents attributed the cause of the alienation to the alienators’ feelings and desires. Specifically, they perceived the alienators’ actions as motivated by hate and anger, revenge or some combination of these. However, these results lack enough detail to determine whether these motivations may be influenced by the influences that Gardner (1992) had suggested, such as the alienators’ mental health and the legal system. Specifically, the motivations of hate and/or anger and revenge found in the present study may be mediated by the alienators’ mental health as well as the alienators’ reactions to the lengths, processes, and outcomes of their legal cases.

Fifth, the results suggest a change in the frequency of visitation and custody arrangements impact on the relationships between the lost parents and their children. The participants reported that primary custody was given to the mother at the onset of the divorce, regardless of who later became the alienator and who later became the lost parent. Further, the fathers all had a consistent visitation schedule at the beginning of the custody arrangements (e.g., one weekend every two weeks). The final custody arrangements resulted in the alienators receiving custody and the lost parents receiving a significant reduction in their visitation schedules from half the original plan to no contact at all. Of interest is the apparent gender bias in initial custody agreements; specifically, mothers received primary custody. However, following the alienation all the lost parents — even the mother with initial primary custody — had their visitation drastically reduced. Moreover, as expected with a reduction of visitation, the lost parents described limited relationships with their children to whom they often wrote without reply. The only exception were two fathers who related that they probably maintained a relatively steady relationship with their children because the PAS was mild and even one of these fathers was alienated from his eldest child and with whom he had a limited relationship.

Overall, these findings indicate that there are several possible factors, such as changes in relationships among family members, the roles of mental health and legal professionals, as well as custody arrangements, that may be indicators or precursors to PAS. All of these factors lend support to several of Lund’s (1995) findings. First, Lund’s (1995) identified separation difficulties that are developmentally inappropriate as a contribution to PAS. It is possible that the pattern of the change in custody arrangements (where the alienator received primary custody at the end of the custody dispute) may result in the separation difficulties described by Lund’s (1995). Second, a characteristic of PAS children is that they exhibit some form of “oppositional” behaviour at least to the lost parent, as supported in the present study. Third, Lund’s (1995) also found that the non-custodians’ parental skills deteriorated and contributed to the occurrence of PAS. Such deterioration of the parental skills may be a result of the lost parent’s sense of lost power over their situation and, as indicated in the present study, they did not exercise their usual parenting styles. The lost parents reported that they felt that disciplining the PAS child may result in the child becoming angry and retaliating by denying visits with the lost parent. Since there appears to be several factors that may influence the occurrence of PAS, a long-term study that examines these singly and in combination may provide a useful insight as to possible indicators.

Question 4: Given the opportunity, what are some things that the lost parents perceive they might do differently?

The results of the current study suggest that armed with the knowledge they have now, each participant would have taken other means in order to prevent the current alienated situation from ever occurring. Examples of the means they would take include never having married, taking different legal routes, or seeking psychological services at an earlier date. Few studies have addressed this issue, however, the importance of preventing PAS is evident in that all of the participant’s would never want to repeat the experience.

A summary of the findings of the present study is as follows:

(1) Family characteristics, such as number of children, number of marriages, and the alienators number of relocations were weak factors in the occurrence of PAS.
(2) Marital conflicts and their intensity were weak predictors in the occurrence of PAS.
(3) As expected, the relationship between the alienating and lost parents were strained after the onset of PAS.
(4) There was a general decrease in the frequency of visitation for the lost parent which may or may not have been due to PAS.
(5) There was a reduction of other contacts (aside from visitation) between the lost parents and their children that, as expected, limited their relationship.
(6) By the very nature of PAS, all of the participants perceived a general “sabotage” of their relationships with their children by the alienators. The findings confirmed that the alienators used denigrating techniques (e.g., implying that the lost parents were not good people).
(7) The children acted as secondary alienators.
(8) The alienator’s closer family members tended to also alienate.
(9) The participants perceived the underlying cause of the alienation as the hatred toward the lost parents, anger, or revenge, or some combination of these.
(10) The lost parents experienced a loss of parental role and power whether or not they had visitation with their children.
(11) Although the lost parents sought the assistance of both legal and mental health professionals, they remained dissatisfied with these services. Both the legal and mental health professionals have inadequately explored all the parameters implied in PAS.
(12) The participants, provided that they had the knowledge about PAS that they presently have, would have behaved differently towards their ex-spouse.
(13) As expected, the participants perceived the alienating circumstances as exerting serious negative emotional and financial consequences on their lives.
(14) They hoped to be able to be reunited with their children in the future. They would be able to do so by maintaining contact with the children (i.e., by sending letters and cards). These findings illustrate both the complexity and seriousness of PAS. Thus the ability to identify precursors, indicators, and effective interventions for these families is essential.

Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Additional Research

The research conducted in the present study involved a small sample of participants who described themselves as victims of PAS and consequently, generalizations can only be made cautiously. Although some pre-defined criteria were given as a basis for choosing the participants, additional specific criteria are necessary. For instance, a useful future criterion may be that the participants be identified as PAS subjects by trained professionals. However, due to time limitations, a lack of resources and the difficulty of identifying cases of PAS when there were so few professionals who had any knowledge of PAS, it might be difficult for a researcher to include this criteria. Second, interviews were conducted by telephone due to the great distances involved. Such a means of interview may be prone to overlook or minimize important qualitative data from nonverbal cues. Ideally, with a larger sample size, possibly a random sample, and the inclusion of a comparison group (e.g., families involved in amicable divorces) greater generalizability may be attained in such a study. To date there is very little research specifically on PAS; much that is known remains tentative. Further building on the data base available to researchers to date can provide greater information upon which to base hypotheses for future research.

The importance of a greater wealth of knowledge on PAS is evident by examining the focus placed on problems encountered in custody disputes by the government. The Senate of Canada has debated drafts of legislation Bill-C41, whose principle is to have both spouses share the “financial obligation to maintain the children of the marriage in accordance with their relative abilities” (Chapter 1, article 11-2). As a result, the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons has created a Joint Committee on Custody and Access. The purpose of this committee is to “examine and analyze issues relating to parenting arrangements after separations and divorce” (Senate Debates, October 28, 1997, pp. 253). Senator Anne C. Cools presented a speech to amend certain aspects of the Joint Committee. The amendment passed and has been sent to the House of Commons for their approval. The amendment Senator Anne C. Cools proposed was to have the Joint Committee on Custody and Access examine important issues relating to separation and divorce. Specifically, she noted that issues such as Parental Alienation Syndrome and false allegations of sexual abuse are difficulties that non-custodial parents encounter. As a result the Committee will set out to:

assess the need for a more child-centred approach to family law policies and practices that would emphasize joint parental responsibilities and child-focused parenting arrangements based on children’s needs and best interests; (Senate Debates, p. 257)

The Committee will be examining issues related to custody and access to children after divorce and separation. Mental health professionals will likely be sources of information for this Committee, and Parental Alienation Syndrome will likely be a relevant issue to be examined. Consequently, mental health professionals need to examine PAS further in order to provide both pertinent information to the Committee and more importantly help for the families of PAS.

References

Arditti, J. A. (1992). Factors related to custody, visitation, and child support for divorced fathers: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 17(3-4), 23-42.

BILL-C41, Chapter 1, Statutes of Canada (1997).

Calabrese, R. M., Miller, J. W., and Dooley, B. (1987). The identification of alienated parents and children: Implications for school psychologists. Psychology in the Schools, 24, 145-150.

Cartwright, G. F. (1993). Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 21(3), 205-215.

Child custody and access reform: Special joint committee established, Senate of Canada, Senate Debates, 1997.

Clawar, S. S., and Rivlin, B. V. (1991). Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago: American Bar Association.

Demo, A. H. and Acock, A. C. (1988). The impact of divorce on children, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50, 619-648.

Department of Justice Canada (1993). Custody and access: Public discussion. Canada, Ministry of Supply and Services Canada.

Dunne, J., and Hedrick, M. (1994). The parental alienation syndrome: An analysis of sixteen cases. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 21(3/4), 21-38.

Gardner, R. A. (1991). Psychotherapeutic and legal approaches to the three types of parental alienation syndrome families. In Family evaluation in child custody mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.

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

Girdner, L. K. (1985). Strategies of conflict: Custody litigation in the United States. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 9(1), 1-15.

Goldwater, A. (1991). Le syndrome d’alienation parentale[in English]. In Developments en droits familial (pp. 121-145) Cowansville, Quebec: Les Edition Yvons Blais.

Hoffman, M. L. (1971). Father absence and conscience development. Developmental Psychology, 4, 400-406.

Johnston, J.R., Gonzalez, R., and Campbell, L.E.G. (1987). Ongoing postdivorce conflict and child disturbance. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 15(4), 493-509.

Kressel, K. (1985). The process of divorce. New York: Basic Books.

Kurdek, L. A. (1981). An integrative perspective on children’s divorce adjustment. American Psychologist, 36(8), 856-866.

Lund, M. (1995). A therapist’s view of parental alienation syndrome. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 33(3), 308-316.

Palmer, N. K. (1988). Legal recognition of parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 16(4), 360-363.

Slater, E. J., and Haber, J. D., (1984). Adolescent adjustment following divorce as a function of familial conflict. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52(5), 920-921.

Rand, D.C. (1997). The spectrum of parental alienation syndrome: Part I. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 15(3), 23-52.

Turkat, I.D. (1994). Child visitation interference in divorce. Clinical Psychology Review, 14, 737-742.

Woolfolk, A. E. (1998). Educational psychology: Seventh edition (pp. 96). Toronto: Allyn and Bacon.

Yin, R. K. (1984). Case study research, designs and methods. Beverly Hills.

APPENDIX A

LETTERS TO PARTICIPANTS

PARENTAL ALIENATION STUDY

If you or someone you know has experienced Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and are willing to participate in a study, please contact Despina at (514)-840-1159 or via e-mail at dvassi@PO-BOX.Mcgill.Ca.

*PAS is defined as a syndrome where one parent (usually the custodial parent) attempts to alienate the child or children from another parent. It includes a series of conscious and subconscious techniques, such as brainwashing, by the alienating parent, as well as the child or children’s own contributions for denigrating the allegedly hated parent (Cartwright, 1993, Gardner, 1992).

APPENDIX B

CONSENT FORMS

Note: All consent forms will be kept by the researcher (Despina Vassiliou) until the completion and acceptance of her thesis and graduation. After that time, the consent forms will be destroyed.

Consent Form
McGill University Research Project

The Effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome on Individual Family Members

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are presently conducting research that will examine the development of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)* within the family unit. More specifically, we are interested in examining each of the family member’s role in the alienation process. Participants will be asked a series of questions pertaining to the alienating relationships within the family unit. The questions are straightforward and will take approximately one hour to discuss and will be tape recorded. Your responses will be kept completely confidential and anonymous. You are not under any obligation to participate, and you may choose to discontinue the study at any point. If you agree to participate in this research project, please sign the form below.

We greatly appreciate your consideration of this project. We would be delighted to provide more background information and answer any questions you might have. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Despina Vassiliou
MA student, School Psychology
McGill University
514-398-4257

Glenn F. Cartwright, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology
McGill University
514-398-4240

I, ________________________, agree to participate in the McGill PAS study.
(Please print your name in full)

Participant’s Signature

Date

APPENDIX C

INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRES

Interview Questions

Current Status:
1. Describe to me your current family constellation?
· How many children do you have?
· Are they currently living with you?
· If no, how often do you get to see them if at all?
· Have you remarried?
2. Describe your current relationship with your ex-spouse.

Beginning of the Marital Dissolution:

3. When did the conflicts that lead to the dissolution of your marriage begin?
4. Did you see a common theme or issue in the conflicts?
5. How long did these conflicts before divorce became an option?
6. Who initiated the divorce and on what grounds?

Initiating and Proceedings of the Custody Case(s):
7. Describe the events that lead up to the custody proceedings?
8. How long was each of the legal cases (custody and divorce)?
9. Do you remember an occasion during the custody proceedings that lead to the delay of the case?
If yes,
· What effects did the delay have on the case?
· What effects did the delay have on your children and your relationship with them?

Contributions to P.A.S.:
10. Tell me some factors that contributed to the alienation in your case?
11. Do you believe that you had any role or make any contributions to the alienating situation?
12. What were your children’s role in the alienation? Describe some of their behaviours.
· Describe some of your behaviours or actions that contributed to the alienation?
13. Tell me about the effects of the alienation on your relationship with your children?
14. Describe for me your relationship with your children today?
15. Do you remember an occasion when other individuals contributed to the alienation? (How?)

Cause and Possible Termination of P.A.S.:
16. For how long did the alienation occur (in months)?
17. What do you believe was the underlying cause of the alienation?
18. How do you feel about the alienation now?
19. Has the alienation ceased? In your opinion, why is this so?
If the alienation has ceased:
· How long has it been since you have been removed from the alienated situation?
· Can you tell me about the circumstances that have made it possible for the alienation to have been terminated?
If the alienation has not ceased:
· Do you believe that there is a possibility of a reconciliation?
· If yes, what do you believe would make a reconciliation possible?

Looking Back:
20. When and how did you realize the implications of what was occurring, with regard to the alienation?
21. What do you feel is the impact of this whole experience on your life?
22. Had you or any of your family members sought out services for emotional assistance?
If yes,
· Who? And for what reasons?
· What was the outcome? (Were there any diagnoses made? Were you taking any medication?)
If not,
· How did you or they cope with the situation on your/their own?
23. How do you view the experience now as compared to how you viewed it then (while you were experiencing it)?
24. Has your opinion changed over time? How much time? How did it change?
25. Is there anything else that you would like to change or do over again?

APPENDIX D

SAMPLE PAGE OF TRANSCRIPT

APPENDIX E

CERTIFICATE OF ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vassil98.htm#CHAPTER%205

How Our Tax Dollars Subsidize Family Breakup

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

Divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers at least $112 billion each year or more than $1 trillion over the last decade. This estimate from the Institute for American Values is, as the authors suggest, likely to be an underestimate.

This staggering but plausible tally of the economic costs of family dissolution follows what we have long known about the social costs. All our major social ills – poverty, violent crime, substance abuse, truancy and more – are more closely linked to family breakdown and single-parent homes than to any other factor. A poor black child from an intact home is more likely to succeed than a rich white one from a single-mother home.

It is hardly surprising that massive financial costs follow from this: Welfare, law enforcement, education, health care – all these budgets are justified by the pathologies generated by single-parent homes. Indeed, family dissolution not only creates costs; by destroying society’s basic economic unit, it also prevents generating the wealth to meet those costs.

This is not to deny that we bear responsibility for all this through our sexually dissolute lifestyle, but the consequences of that lifestyle have already become institutionalized in coercive government policies. Diabolically, the very government programs advertised as addressing these social ills are the ones actually generating them. The result is a government perpetual-growth machine that will continue to expand until we have the courage stand up and unequivocally demand that it stop.

It began with welfare. Programs advertised as relieving families that had lost the father’s wages due to war and economic hardship became a bureaucratic mechanism for driving more fathers from the home. The result was the vast welfare underclass we usually associate with low-income minority communities – the vast breeding grounds of crime, drug abuse, truancy, teen pregnancy, child abuse and other horrors that soak up taxpayer dollars.

But now it is becoming even more serious. Divorce has transformed welfare programs into mechanisms for creating fatherless homes in the middle class. And here the welfare bureaucracies go further: After driving out the fathers, they are seizing family wealth and even incarcerating the fathers.

This criminalization of parents is not isolated. Perhaps the earliest welfare state provision was the public school system, which jealously guards its prerogatives of using children as political pawns. The recent California appeals court decision allowing the criminalization of homeschoolers is only one indication of government’s increasingly aggressive stance toward parents. The federal decision in Fields v. Palmdale, ruling that parents have no right to a voice in their children’s public school education, is another.

But schooling is only one arena. The divorce machinery is even more authoritarian. The divorce apparatus has so many methods of seizing children and family assets and for incarcerating parents that it is a wonder any families remain.

For example, child support enforcement is advertised as a way to recover welfare costs by forcing “deadbeat dads” to support children they “abandon.” In reality, it has become a massive subsidy on middle-class divorce, effectively bribing mothers to divorce with the promise of a tax-free windfall subsidized by taxpayers. It is also a means for incarcerating fathers without trial who cannot pay the extortionate sums. Far from saving money, child support enforcement loses money and – far more serious – subsidizes the divorces and unwed births that generate these additional costs.

Programs ostensibly for “child abuse” and “domestic violence” – problems also originating in single-parent welfare homes – have likewise become tools to create single-parent homes in the middle-class through divorce proceedings. Patently trumped-up accusations of child abuse or domestic violence, presented without any evidence, are used to separate fathers from their children and, likewise, to jail them not through criminal trials but through “civil” divorce proceedings and in new, openly feminist “domestic violence courts.” Thus does family dissolution also undermine our most cherished due process protections.

Further, mothers are not only enticed into divorce with promises of lucrative support payments; they are also coerced into it through threats of losing their children themselves. Mothers are now ordered to divorce their husbands on pain of losing their children through spurious child abuse accusations. Intact middle-class families now live in fear of a visit from the dreaded “child protective services” with the possibility of losing their children.

This machinery cannot be brought under control by marriage therapy programs, as the Institute for American Values advocates. While private church-based and community efforts like Marriage Savers should be encouraged, government psychotherapy merely puts more vested interests on the public payroll. We must demand that our tax dollars stop subsiding family breakup and ills that in turn require ever more tax dollars. By subsidizing the destruction of families, we are subsidizing the progressive impoverishing of our society. Indeed, by subsidizing the criminalization of both fatherless children and fathers, we are paying for the destruction of our freedom.

It is simply not possible to allow the family to unravel without having our civilization do the same. Yet that is precisely what we are doing.

Yet, even this is only the beginning. More alarming still are the political costs. For contrary to the beliefs even of most conservatives, divorce and unwed childbearing are not the products merely of a decadent culture. They are driven by government – the same government that is extracting $112 billion annually from our pockets.

The original article can be found on World Net Daily: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=62594

Newsweek’s Lies about Divorce

In adoption abuse, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Posted: December 30, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

Divorce is the main cause of family destruction today, and fatherless children are the principal source of virtually every major social pathology. Yet divorce is ignored by the mainstream media to the point of blackout. Now, Newsweek magazine offers a revealing exception that proves the rule. Newsweek’s depiction of divorce is so trite and clichéd that it seriously distorts what is happening.

Most Americans would be shocked if they knew what takes place today in the name of divorce. Indeed, millions are appalled when they discover that they can be forced into divorce, lose their children and even be jailed without trial – all without having violated any law and through procedures entirely beyond their control. Comprised of courts, bar associations and federally funded social services bureaucracies that wield police powers, the divorce machinery has become the most repressive and predatory sector of government ever created in the United States and today’s greatest threat to constitutional freedom.

Yet, we hear not a word of this from Newsweek. As is de rigueur in journalism today, reporter Susanna Schrobsdorff begins not with objective facts or disinterested analysis but by publicly displaying her own divorce. And what a joyous occasion it was. Despite pretentious pathos (also obligatory in today’s media), it is clear that no one forced her into this.

The usual assortment of divorce lawyers and feminists are then trotted out to mouth the standard clichés of the divorce industry: parents must “cooperate” and “put the children first,” caring courts are now generous to fathers, etc. “Their dad and I had read the divorce books and rehearsed our speech about how none of this was their fault, that we loved them,” she recounts. “All of this was true, but it seemed insufficient.”

It was insufficient (by her own account, the children went berserk) because it was not true. Love demands we put the needs of those we claim to love before our own desires. If divorce proceeds from love, then the word has become meaningless.

Fifteen-year-old Amy Harris, quoted in the Sunday Times, offers a scathing rejoinder to Ms. Schrobsdorff’s rehearsed speech: “Parents always say they are not leaving because of the children. Is that supposed to make the children feel better?” she asks. Amy continues:

Does that take all the guilt off the child’s shoulder? No, it’s all rubbish. Children feel that they weren’t enough to keep their parents, that their parents didn’t love them enough to keep them together. I know I did not drive my father away, but I did not keep him either.

Newsweek offers no recognition that parents who oppose divorce in principle are simply divorced without their consent, whereupon their children (with everything else they have) are seized without any further reason given. What Newsweek presents as cooperation “for the children” in reality means “cooperate with the divorce if you ever want to see your children again.”

The mendacity is especially glaring regarding fathers. “Changes in child-support laws, and a push by fathers for equal time, are transforming the way this generation of ex-spouses raise [sic] their children,” claims the carefully worded headline. Yet, Newsweek provides no evidence of any such changes; in fact, it concedes that “Most often, children still end up living primarily with the mother” and that “moms are the official primary residential parent after a divorce in five out of six cases, a number that hasn’t changed much since the mid-’90s.”

One divorce lawyer claims that “most states have provisions that say gender can’t be the determining factor in deciding who is going to be the primary custodial parent,” but he does not tell us that such provisions are ignored.

The magazine’s account of child support is likewise distorted. Advertised as providing for children who have been “abandoned” by their fathers, child support is in reality the financial engine driving divorce, offering generous windfalls to mothers who break their vows, while criminalizing fathers with debts most have done nothing to incur and that are far beyond their means.

“Most states have passed legislation that ties child-support payments to how much time a child spends with the nonresident parent paying the support,” says Newsweek, commenting that “if a father spends more than a given threshold of nights with his kids, he can have his child support adjusted according to formulas that vary by state.” No, what this means is that he is less likely to see his children, because both the mother and the state government will lose child support money. Both have a financial incentive to reduce his time with his children as much as possible. Child support makes children fatherless.

A lawyer from the American Academy of “Matrimonial” Lawyers claims that men want custody half the time so that they can pay half the support. This dishonest slur on fathers constitutes an open admission that child support payments vastly exceed the cost of raising children.

Divorce destroys many more families than same-sex “marriage” – which itself has arisen only because of the debasement of marriage through divorce. It is time for the responsible media to expose the unconstitutional divorce apparat. Otherwise, our professed concern for marriage and the family will ring hollow.

The original article from Stephen Baskerville can be found on World Net Daily: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=84810

A Criminal Defense Attorney’s View of the Family Violence Industry

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 21, 2009 at 4:50 pm

© 2004 Paul G. Stuckle


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. THE SPECIAL NATURE OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS
    1. TRUE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MUST STOP
    2. INNOCENT FAMILY MEMBERS CAN BE FALSELY ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

II. EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT FAMILY VIOLENCE

III. WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM ANYWAY?

IV. ZERO TOLERANCE AND NO-DROP POLICIES

V. THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY
    1. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A POLITICAL CRIME
    2. THE FAMILY ADVOCACY CENTER
    3. FOLLOW THE MONEY

    4. TEAM UNITY: TAKE OUT A FAMILY FOR THE TEAM
    5. PSSST…. THEY ARE COMING….OR ARE THEY ALREADY HERE?

VI. CHANGING THE RULES TO CONVICT
    1. LEGISLATIVE CHANGES
    2. HEARSAY EVIDENCE

    3. SYNDROME EVIDENCE MAY BE ADMISSIBLE AGAINST THE ACCUSED
    4. CONVICTIONS WITHOUT PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
    5. SUMMARY : RECIPE FOR CONVICTION

VII. FAMILY VIOLENCE LEGAL FACTS: A CHECKLIST
    1. ISSUES UPON ARREST
    2. CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION

VIII. SELECTING THE RIGHT ATTORNEY
    1. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON YOUR OWN
    2. RULES FOR THE ACCUSED
    3. FINDING THE RIGHT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
        A. LENGTH OF PRACTICE AND EXPERIENCE
        B. REJECT PLEA BARGAINS

        C. PREPARE A VIGOROUS PRE-CHARGE DEFENSE TO AVOID PROSECUTION
        D. PREPARE A VIGOROUS DEFENSE FOR TRIAL. 

IX. CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY


“HUSBANDS AND WIVES HAVE ARGUMENTS. DOES THAT NOW MEAN A TRIP TO JAIL AND A CRIMINAL
CONVICTION?”

“A CASE OF ALLEGED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE NOW BELONGS TO ‘THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY.’” 

“THE BELIEF SYSTEM IS ALSO ONE OF EXTREME ARROGANCE, THAT THE FAMILY VIOLENCE TEAM KNOWS BETTER THAN ANYONE, PARTICULARLY THE FAMILY ITSELF, OF WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM."
Paul G. Stuckle, Attorney at Law


I. THE SPECIAL NATURE OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS

1. True Domestic Violence Must Stop

No rational person condones violence toward anyone, particularly a family member. In America there are many tragic domestic relationships, which involve battered wives, husbands, and members of a household. A true victim in a violent family relationship needs immediate support and protection. A true battering spouse needs to face the legal consequences of their actions.

2. Innocent Family Members Can Be Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

The legislature has enacted laws to assist police and prosecutors convict the guilty and stop the abuse of spouses and family members. The intent behind these laws is well meaning and necessary. Problems arise when laws designed to protect a victim of domestic violence are used too broadly and are applied to normal families. A big difference exists between an abusive spouse repeatedly committing violent acts, and a nonviolent family in which a single argument went too far.

Unfortunately, the politicians and authorities do not see the difference!!! 
To the self-proclaimed saviors and protectors of abused “victims,” any allegation of domestic violence means the household must be one continuously engaged in abusive
behavior.

‘The domestic violence entrepreneurs and state officials live in a different world from us. A sense of nameless vague threat is always in the background. To hear the pros talk, all the men they deal with are batterers, sexual abusers, or virtually time bombs of violence. Repeated
clichés like “at risk” and “a safe place” and “maintaining safety” pepper their sentences . . . 

John Maguire, Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com, “The Booming Domestic Violence
Industry”

If an argument between spouses was the benchmark for domestic violence, then almost every family in America would be defined as an abusive relationship. This governmental over-reaction and dragnet targeting of normal families and treating them as criminals has led us to massive injustice across the nation.


II. EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT FAMILY VIOLENCE

Human beings make mistakes and act at immaturely at times. Everyone has past conduct they wish could be taken back. Part of being human is sometimes hurting those loved the most. The absurdity is to classify a single out of character nonviolent act as “criminal.” 

For instance, it is not family violence to:

– Yell and scream at our spouse or another household member;

– Use profanity during an argument with a spouse or household member;
– Engage in minor pushing incidents with a spouse or household member;
– Hold the arm or hand of a spouse or household member while arguing;
– Momentarily block the path of a spouse or household member;
– Throw and break items during an argument;
– Say hurtful and mean things to a spouse or household member;

– Use self defense to stop the other spouse or household member from attacking you.

With “Zero Tolerance” arrest policies and “No Drop” prosecutions, the number of arrests for petty family arguments has skyrocketed. A former prosecuting attorney explains the
phenomena:

Christopher Pagan, who was until recently a prosecutor in Hamilton
County, Ohio, estimates that due to a 1994 state law requiring police on a domestic call either to make an arrest or to file a report explaining
why a no arrest was made, “domestics” went from 10 percent to 40 percent of his docket. But, he suggests, that doesn’t mean actual abusers were coming to his attention more often. “ We started getting a lot of push-and-shoves,” says Pagan, “or even yelling
matches.” In the past, police officers would intervene and separate the parties to let them cool off. Now those cases end up in criminal courts. It’s exacerbating tensions between the parties, and it’s turning law-abiding middle class citizens into criminals.
Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom Network “Domestic Violations,” Reason On Line, April
1998


III. WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM ANYWAY?

In Texas, the legal definition of a crime “victim” is not what one might think. The word “victim” seems to mean the person who was assaulted, stabbed, murdered, or had their property stolen. Under the law, the “victim” of a crime is the “State.” All criminal cases are therefore styled: “ The State of Texas vs. The
Defendant.”

Once the authorities become involved in a domestic disturbance, they will forever be intertwined with the eventual outcome of the incident. The State, meaning the government, police, and prosecutors, solely decide if a case will be prosecuted or dismissed. Even if the “real victim,” i.e. the person, who supposedly was assaulted, informs the authorities of their desire to have the case dismissed, the charging decision is still left up to the
government.

The allegedly assaulted person can provide the government with an “affidavit of non-prosecution,” a document stating prosecution is not desired and requesting the case to be dropped. Until recently, such affidavits were given substantial consideration from the government. After all, why would the authorities want to prosecute when the actual victim did not desire it? The answer is simple: 

A case of alleged domestic violence now belongs to “The Family Violence
Industry.”

A constant complaint from those at the center of a family violence investigation is how
irrelevant the family is to the investigative team. The team wants to win the case. It wants a criminal conviction. And will do anything to get it. The team, despite its public overtures, does not care about the individual family it is making life-altering decisions for. The family, alleged victim, defendant, and children alike are all mere pawns, literally at the mercy of this governmental machine.

The machine knows very well how to destroy families, yet it knows nothing of healing them.

‘The woman sitting across the table often breaks into tears and fits of trembling. She lives in fear. She says she has been threatened and emotionally battered by those who call themselves “front-line workers” in the war against violence against women.” Since the violence against women specialists invaded their lives a year ago,
husband and wife have developed ulcers, been financially battered and say they survived many attempts to break up their marriage.

Now they’re angry . . . From the start the advice from support workers connected to the Domestic Violence Court was that she should break up her marriage. She should not risk living with a violent man. Her attempts to
defend her husband were met with we- understand- and- we- know- better attitudes; she was afraid of him and was trying to protect him so he wouldn’t be angry. When it became clear she had no intention of separating from her husband, the threats from domestic violence specialists connected to the court moved to a new level that still terrifies her.

“They seemed to be threatening to take my child. They said if I wasn’t going to protect my child from his father, then the system would have
to.”

“ I learned it’s a system that doesn’t listen.”

Dave Brown, The Ottawa Citizen, 2001 “Cult of The Domestic Violence
Industry”


IV. Zero Tolerance and No-Drop Policies

‘In the Domestic Violence industry, when the accusation is made, the case is
closed.’ 

John Maguire, Massachusetts News, www.massnews.com
“The Booming Domestic Violence Industry”

In response to supply the necessary bodies to perpetuate the family violence industry, law enforcement has adopted a new tool:
“Zero Tolerance.” 

What does “Zero Tolerance” mean? Two police officers will be dispatched to a home regarding a domestic disturbance. They will not arrive empty handed. Patrol units, equipped with computers, enable officers to quickly determine if this household has had any prior domestic incidents. Officers will know the complete criminal history of each spouse before arrival.

The police will find a household in which spouses have argued and are emotionally upset. The officers will separate the parties and conduct a brief interview of each’s version of events. The police will look for physical signs of violence, such as bleeding, red marks, or scratches. Then the two officers will confer with each other and compare stories. A decision to arrest will then be made. This entire “investigative” process can be completed in mere minutes, with the arrest decision made in a split second.

‘What couple does not encounter stress, especially when they have children? But in the fever of emotion, a woman can call “911″ and have three police cars there in minutes. After this fateful act, she loses all control. The state
prosecutes her husband whether she likes it or not. He is jailed and prohibited from returning home . . . And all they wanted was the police to defuse a tense situation . . . This policy ( Zero Tolerance) is designed to accustom society (both police and victims) to the intrusion of the state into
private lives. Couples are arrested just for having an argument. Neighbors phone the police. What’s next? Cameras in our homes just like George Orwell’s “1984″’? 

Editorial,
Winnipeg Free Press, “Zero Tolerance,” February 10, 2002

The Dallas County Texas Task Force on Domestic Violence was a federal grant award recipient in 1998 for $1,333,951.00. The title of the award, “Grants To Encourage Arrest Policies,” is a federal directive encouraging “Zero Tolerance.” The grant states: 

‘Purpose: These funds will allow the Dallas County Task Force to continue ensuring arrests and prosecution of domestic violence offenders, provide counseling and support to victims, and ensure that victims have access to
protective orders. Funds will support the addition of staff attorneys and prosecutors.’
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo/map/arrest/1998/txgtea.htm

AND THEN THE CASE WILL NOT BE DROPPED.

“Zero Tolerance” by the police leads to a “No-Drop” policy by the prosecution. An arrest means the case will be prosecuted. Prosecution offices associated with Family Advocacy Centers will proceed with the case even if the family situation has been resolved. An “Affidavit of Non-Prosecution” is ineffective as this legal document merely reflects what the victim wants to do. The affidavit indicates the family is in healing and desires to work on repairing the marital relationship. The Family Violence Industry does not consider salvaging the marital relationship as an acceptable end result. 

The “protectors” view their job entails ending the relationship. Prosecutors are not concerned with the wishes or needs of the real victim. The “No –Drop” policy requires the case to go to trial even if the real victim wants the charges dismissed. “No-Drop” means the government will push the case all the way regardless of hardship upon
the family. To the entrepreneurs of the Family Violence Industry, “helping” the victim
may necessitate separation of the family enforced through protective orders, followed by divorce. In
addition, the helping agenda may include loss of employment for the accused spouse, financial
hardship, and adding unnecessary emotional stress to a family.

“Zero Tolerance” means that the government, not you, the government knows what is best for your
family.

If the government is so concerned about stopping family violence and helping families, why would they push prosecution when the family is asking them not to?


V. THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY

1. Domestic Violence Is a Political Crime

“Hello. I’m from the Government and here to help.” This old saying is satirically funny. Governmental intervention into anything usually creates nameless, faceless bureaucracies, solving nothing, complicating everything, and resulting in higher taxes.

The government has definitely made its way into family violence:

‘Like many crusades to stamp out social evils, the War on Domestic Violence is a mix of good intentions (who could be against stopping spousal abuse?), bad information, and worse theories. The result has been a host of unintended consequences that do little to empower victims while sanctioning interference in personal relationships.’ 
Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom Network “Domestic Violations”, Reason On Line, April
1998

Ever few years a new “crime de jour “ (crime of the day) is created. This phenomenon begins with a legitimate social problem needing to be addressed. Examples in recent years of “crimes de jour” include “Driving While Intoxicated” and “Child Sexual Abuse.” The tragic consequences of isolated worst-case scenarios of these crimes are highly publicized. The nation is inundated with media coverage and informed the problem is not being adequately dealt with by the criminal justice system. Crime victims form support groups (such as M.A.D.D.- “Mothers Against Drunk Driving”), and these support groups in turn create lobby groups. The lobbyists influence the media, judges, and politicians. Political candidates sense community outrage and run campaigns with platforms designed to solve the “crime de jour.” After each campaign year and legislative session, new laws address perceived omissions, loopholes, and provide additional punishment for those convicted of the “crime de jour.”

The enactment of such special interest group legislation officially converts the “crime de jour” into a “political
crime.”

‘Some crusaders openly argue that domestic violence should be taken more seriously than other crimes. In 1996, the sponsor of a New York bill toughening penalties for misdemeanor assault on a family member (including ex-spouses and unwed partners) vowed to oppose a version extending the measure to all assaults: “The whole purpose of my bill is to single out domestic violence,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. “ I DON’T WANT THE WORLD TO THINK WE’RE TREATING STRANGER ASSAULTS THE SAME WAY AS DOMESTIC ASSAULTS.”
Cathy Young, Women’s Freedom Network,” Domestic Violations” Reason On Line, April
1998

The new “crime de jour” is domestic
violence.

2. The Family Advocacy Center 

A strange conglomeration of individuals pushing varying agendas comprise the force behind the family violence movement. The movement combines legitimate victims and their advocate supporters with professional vendors who have much to gain through concentrated efforts to expand the industry:

‘These people, some idealistic and some merely pragmatic, have networked, talked with each other, served on various commissions, boosted each other’s careers, and helped to expand the definition of family violence, and the
size of state and federal funding massively . . . Only ten years ago, the women’s safety-advocates were a small group of idealists, operating on pennies. Today the movement has
grown large on state and federal tax monies. Every month, it seems spawns new sub-programs, clinics, shelters, research institutes, counseling centers, visitation centers, poster campaigns. Today, domestic violence is a big industry . . . Mapping the full extent of the domestic violence industry is not easy, because it’s a cottage industry, spread out in hundreds of places. State and federal money (in each state) goes to well over a hundred institutes, clinics, programs for counseling or outreach or coordination or training, computer databases, coalitions, shelters, PR agencies and other groups.’
John Maguire, “The Booming
Domestic Violence Industry, ”Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com 

The media, pressured by women’s safety advocate groups has perpetuated public hysteria by over inflating the true incidence of domestic violence. While a legitimate social problem and cause for reasonable concern, the response to the force-fed hysteria has been legislative overkill. In order to facilitate the legislative demands, bureaucracies must be formed. The result is “The Family Advocacy
Center.”

A typical family advocacy center combines many agencies and individuals into one facility. The center will house police, legal, medical, social service, substance abuse, housing, women’s advocacy, victim’s rights, and counselors in one facility. The Irving Texas “Family Advocacy Center” defines itself as
“one stop shopping for victims.” www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm). 

3. Follow the Money

Federal law provides funding to states for the creation, development, and utilization of Family Advocacy Centers through the “Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.” (Title III of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984, Pub. L. 98-457, 42 U.S.C. 10401). The bottom line for the falsely accused is this:
Domestic Violence is now an enormous financial industry. Each state receives millions of federal dollars in grant money by adopting provisions of federal
law.

‘(Women’s Shelter Centers) provide DSS (Department of Social Services) with additional clients. The women’s groups get more money and DSS gets more state and federal money. They both are artificially inflating their numbers. They inflate domestic violence statistics this way and through the use of coerced restraining orders. By artificially inflating the domestic violence statistics they are able to create political hysteria– leading to more funding.’
Nev Moore, “Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry.”

In effect, the government has created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Federal money is awarded to communities who can statistically justify the need for a family violence center. In so doing, the government itself perpetuates charges of domestic violence. It creates a “Family Violence Industry.” This circular reasoning mirrors the previous “crime de jour” of child sexual assault in the 1990’s. A comparison of the governmental domestic violence movement with the prior special interest group-driven child sexual assault hysteria
illustrates:

‘According to the late Dr. Richard Gardner, the reason for the alarming rise in child abuse allegations and specifically false allegations can be rationally explained. “ There’s a complex network of social workers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials that actually encourages charges of child abuse–- whether they are reasonable or not.” Dr. Gardner is referring to the fact that the Mondale Act (CAPTA) is responsible for the dramatic increase in child abuse charges. “ In effect, the Mondale Act, despite its good intentions, created and continued to fund a virtual child abuse industry, populated by people whose livelihoods depend on bringing more and more allegations into the system”’.
Armin Brott, “A system out of Control: The Epidemic of False Allegations of Child Abuse” 

The Federal Government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice “Fact Sheet” on “The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative”;
www.ojp.usdoj.gov). The DOJ’s “Fact Sheet” reveals hidden financial incentives in the formation of centers to promote domestic violence cases. Family violence “services” will create a large number of jobs and benefit center associated professionals. Dropping cases will not. According to the DOJ Fact Sheet, the Family Violence Centers may include the following
“services”:

– Medical Care, Including On-site or Off-site Primary Physical Care, Mental Health Counseling for Victims and
Dependents, Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Collection;

– Law Enforcement and Legal Assistance Services, Including On-site Help to Get Protective Orders Signed and Enforced, to Investigate and Prosecute Offenders, and Provide Witness Assistance and Court-based Victim Advocates;

– State-of-the-art Information Sharing and Case Management Systems;

– Social Services, Including Federal and State Welfare Assistance for Parents and Children;

– Employment Assistance, Including Employment and Career Counseling and Training Through Local One Stop Employment Centers or Other Local Services;

– Substance Abuse Treatment;

– Child-related Needs Such as Parenting Classes, Teen Pregnancy Services, Supervised
Visitation and Safe Exchange Programs, Services for Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence, Assistance for Relocating Children into New Schools, Truancy Programs, and Youth Mentoring Programs;

– Housing and Transportation Assistance to Cover Immediate Needs and Help with Long-term Housing Solutions; and

– Chaplaincy or Faith-based Counseling Programs Providing Victims and Their Families with Non-sectarian Spiritual Guidance. 

United States Department of Justice
www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Fact Sheet: The President’s Family Justice Center
Initiative

Which professionals directly benefit from a community-based Family Violence Center?

– Medical: Physicians, S.A.N.E (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners), and Nurses;

– Law Enforcement: Police Investigators, Patrol, Polygraph Operators; Supervisors, Staff;

– Legal: District Attorney’s Offices; Assistant District Attorneys, Investigators, Staff;

– Social Services: Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Caseworkers, Investigators, Supervisors, and Support Staff;

– Employment Offices: Employment Agencies, Workers, and Staff;

– “Forensic Interviewers”; – Substance Abuse Centers: Substance Abuse Counselors;

– Child Related Vendors; Counselors and Therapists;

– Housing Authorities; Placement and Personnel

– Counseling Services: Mental Health, Rage and Anger, Battering Intervention Prevention Program Counselors, Marriage Counselors, Family Counselors;

– Women’s Advocacy Group Personnel – Women’s Shelter Placement Personnel and Shelter Personnel

– Victim Advocate Services Personnel (Advocates to Support Victims and Monitor the Individual Case from Arrest Through
Trial).

Who on the above list benefits if no arrest and charge are made?

Ultimately, this begs the big question:

Is the government interested in the quality or the quantity of domestic abuse cases?
Silverstorn, “The Truth About Child Protective Services”,
www.home.attbi.com/-silverstorm/cps.htm

A critic of the Family Violence Industry, John Flaherty, co-chairman of the Fatherhood Coalition states:

‘This industry is an octopus. It’s got its tentacles in more and more parts of everyday life. It’s a
political movement . . . This industry doesn’t answer to anybody. They’re in it mainly for the
money . . . The industry’s problems may be about to increase, because it is becoming clear
through scientific research that the whole premise of the movement and the industry it spawned
– – that “domestic violence” means bad men hitting helpless, innocent women – – is just plain wrong.’
 
John Maguire, Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com, “The Booming Domestic Violence
Industry”

The Family Advocacy Centers will operate with the group mindset of most bureaucracies.

“ The agencies’ main objective is self preservation: to perpetuate the bureaucracy and to expand the bureaucracy.” 

(Silverstorn,“The Truth About Child Protective Services,” www.home.attbi.com/-silverstorm/cps.htm).

The method for doing this is by seeking and making cases. 

How will the advocacy centers get the number of cases they need? A philosophical change at the most basic level was needed. In order to make the numbers work, the definition of family violence had to be expanded to extend beyond battering spouses and include normal family arguments. In essence, the system adapted by accepting each family violence “911″ call as a potential customer. 

‘A call to 911 is generally mutually assured destruction of a relationship, marriage, family, and the lives of all involved. It doesn’t matter that you’re innocent. Or that she attacked you first. Or that you both went over the line and that both of you want to put it behind you and work it out. The system will prosecute you and persecute you until you’ve confessed your sins– even if you’ve none to confess. And you’re not cured until they say you’re cured– even if you were never sick to begin with.’ 

Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., quoting Glenn Sacks, 
“What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado
Law”

“Zero Tolerance” and “No- Drop” policies create a constant stream of what the advocacy centers need most: bodies. More arrests result in more persons charged. The assembly line then takes over, and the unwitting family becomes passed on from one self-interested protector to another. Post arrest the victim is ”assisted” by the police detective, “forensic interviewer,” and the prosecutor. Incriminatory statements secured, the prosecution team will temporarily lose interest until trial.

At this point, the victim support groups take over, advocates are appointed, and shelters are called, counselors engaged. The list goes on until the family is emotionally, psychologically, and financially drained. And if it all goes perfectly for the team: conviction.

In essence, a great food chain is created, in which many professionals, counselors, physicians, and vendors, are feeding off persons arrested and charged under “Zero Tolerance” programs. Family advocacy salesmen freely admit the concept is a direct springboard from the child advocacy centers. An Allen Texas Police Investigator states: “The children’s advocacy center works very well in Collin County . . . crime victims groups in Collin County work well together. So having a family justice center would encourage that more.” (Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition, March 14, 2004, “Groups Unite To End Domestic
Violence”).

The financial rewards for Family Advocacy Centers will not be dependent upon criminal convictions. The funding will be given to the centers regardless of the outcome of the case, or truth of the allegations. With absolute immunity from liability, the Family Advocacy Center team members have no fear of any repercussions for their actions.

4. Team Unity: Take Out A Family For the Team

The majority of District Attorney’s Offices in North Texas follow the national model of having specialized family violence units, where assigned prosecutors and investigators handle only domestic violence cases. Many North Texas law enforcement agencies have specialty family violence teams. All of the law enforcement agencies affiliated with an advocacy center assign officers to the center as part of a domestic violence task
force.

The creation of specialized domestic violence prosecution teams has but one goal: conviction of a suspected perpetrator. The advocacy team collaboration of prosecutors, police, social workers, medical professionals, counselors and others are a team in every sense of the word. They share more than a central location. They share belief systems, ideologies, strategies, and a game plan. That game plan is to convict any person charged with domestic violence. The belief system is one that every person charged with domestic violence is a batterer. The belief system also finds every victim of domestic violence to be a battered spouse.

The belief system incorporates extreme arrogance. The family violence team knows better than anyone, particularly the family itself, of what is best for them. The team works together in secret, planning and mapping out strategy to forge the future of the family, whether it is in their best interests or not.

‘Unfortunately, it won’t really matter what happened that night or how capable she (alleged victim) is of deciding for herself whether or not she needs protection– the court and the prosecutors can still say no. They can stand by and tell that victim that she doesn’t really know what’s best for her and her family. She is a victim– how can she possibly know what’s after what she’s been
through?

Many of these people know exactly what is best for them and their families, and yet are revictimized by the powerlessness imposed upon them by a system of people who know better.’
Janeice T. Martin, Attorney at Law,Naples (Florida) Daily News, 
November 3, 2002, “Domestic Violence- The Other Side of Zero Tolerance” 

The above statement is not an aberration. It is common to find family service plans forced upon alleged victims by advocacy center social workers to include conditions, which require:

1. The alleged perpetrator to reside out of the household while the case is pending;

2. The alleged perpetrator to have no contact with the family while the case is pending;
3. The alleged victim to “assist” in the prosecution of the alleged perpetrator.

Assisting in prosecution means the victim must testify against the defendant. It also often means the victim must pursue divorce proceedings against the defendant. If the victim does not want to divorce or testify, advocates for failing to protect her children will eventually threaten her. Then the protectors will threaten removal of the children unless the victim pledges allegiance to the team and assists in convicting the defendant.

‘Women are coerced into accepting their cultish indoctrination via the use of threats, intimidation, and the fear of losing their
children . . . Women are ordered to leave their husbands, even in the absence of real domestic violence or abuse. They are ordered to never let the fathers see their children, or DSS will charge the women with neglect.’

Nev Moore, “Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry.” 

5. Pssst . . . They Are Coming . . . Or Are They Already Here?

Family Advocacy Centers are a relatively new innovation in the “War on Domestic Violence.” They are quickly following in the footsteps of Child Advocacy Centers. Many communities are combining the two into one super center. The City of Phoenix Arizona may have been the first to create a strictly domestic violence center upon opening the “Family Advocacy Center” in August 1999. The Phoenix model is a good indicator of the self fulfilling prophecy behind Family Advocacy Centers,
“Build It – They Will Come.” Statistics of cases from the Phoenix Center
show:

Since August 1999, Phoenix has had 16,439 domestic violence “contacts” in which 59% have received “services.” Translated, this figure means roughly 9700 domestic violence cases in five years since the opening of the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center. (www.phoenix.gov/CITZASST/fac.html).

How many of those cases resulted in criminal convictions could not be ascertained.

The first known Family Advocacy Center in Texas opened its doors in January of 2002. The City of Irving “Family Advocacy Center” describes its goal to “bring together those police units and outside agencies that provide support, prosecution, and therapy for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.”
(www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm). To no one’s surprise, the Irving Police Department adopted a “Zero Tolerance” stance on domestic violence. Again, not surprisingly, Irving boasts of rising statistical increases in the number of domestic violence cases received since the creation of its Family Advocacy Center. Consistent with Phoenix, the Irving police department website does not cite statistics regarding actual criminal convictions.

Rest assured, the Family Advocacy Center is coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

According to the Department of Justice, the federal government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice Fact Sheet on The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative;
www.ojp.usdoj.gov).

Collin County, Texas is one of the communities applying for the federal grant money. However, a spokesman for the Collin County District Attorney’s office indicated the county “ would pursue the center even if it did not win the grant. But without financial backing, the project would take longer.” (Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition, March 14, 2004, “Groups Unite To End Domestic
Violence”).

North Texas is an active participant in the domestic violence industry. Dallas and Denton Counties have instituted specialty family violence courts, in which domestic violence cases are primarily the only cases on the docket. Specialized courts allow prosecutors and judges to create a uniform method to streamline cases. The accused faces a tremendous obstacle in a family violence court. The court’s very existence is silently predicated upon convicting as many defendants as possible. Only convictions can feed the system, as with convictions come fines, community supervision fees, battering intervention program costs, and other methods of pouring money back into the industry. Rising numbers of convictions mean the need for more prosecutors, judges, probation officers, domestic violence counselors, domestic violence programs
and more specialized domestic violence courts. Convictions also support the propaganda generating the movement: “family violence is prevalent in your community at an unconscionable
rate.”

The government substantiates its national cry of a plethora of domestic violence through statistical data. Since there is not a nationwide plethora of domestic violence, the protectors needed assistance in the form of fuzzy math. The fuzzy math was easily solved. Simply cite statistics that show the number of domestic violence “contacts” or “services provided” rather than domestic violence convictions. By using “contacts” as the statistical benchmark, family violence crusaders are able to point to every police dispatch to a family argument as a “case.” These “cases” then secure the numbers needed for federal and state grant
money.

Another problem facing the protectors was dealing with the end result of minuscule criminal activity. How would prosecutors secure criminal convictions in court after arresting family members for arguments and trivial push-shove matches? For this, the protectors and politicians needed to change the law.

The legislature responded with open arms.


VI. CHANGING THE RULES TO CONVICT

1. Legislative Changes

Pro football star, Warren Moon, former quarterback of the Houston Oilers and Minnesota 
Vikings was charged with domestic violence assault in July 1995. The case captured national attention as his wife, the alleged victim, Felicia Moon did not want to testify or pursue charges. 

The prosecution forced Felicia Moon to testify after the Texas Legislature amended and limited the “Husband – Wife” privilege. Prior to the change in the law, a spouse could elect not to be a witness for the state to testify against the other
spouse.

‘The couple said they scuffled at their home July 18 after an argument over credit cards provoked Mrs. Moon to throw a 2-pound candleholder at Moon’s back. Mrs. Moon ended up with scratches and bruises around her neck and shoulders. Moon said that he was probably responsible for the injuries but that he was trying to calm his wife, not harm her.

Mrs. Moon likewise insisted her husband never intended o hurt her. She had pleaded with prosecutors to not press charges but was forced to take the stand under a 1995 law eliminating the right to refuse to testify against one’s spouse. More than 40 states have eliminated
the spousal privilege.’
Terri Langford, Associated Press, February 23,
1996.

It took the jury merely 27 minutes yesterday to acquit Warren Moon of the assault.

The 1995 amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence authorize the prosecution to mandate a spouse to testify against the other spouse. The provisions read: 

ART. 38.10 EXCEPTIONS TO THE SPOUSAL ADVERSE TESTIMONY PRIVILEGE

The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply in any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime committed against the person’s spouse, a minor child, or a member of the household of either spouse.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 38.10

(b) Privilege Not to Testify in Criminal Case

(4) Exceptions: The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply:

(A) Certain criminal proceedings.

In any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime against the person’s spouse, a member of the household of either spouse, or any minor. 

Texas Rules of Evidence 504 : Husband – Wife Privileges

In addition to the legislative changes, Texas Appellate Courts have broadened hearsay exceptions, authorizing the prosecution to introduce supposed prior statements of an alleged victim. 

2. Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay is defined as “ a statement, other than one made by the declarant while
testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” (Tex. Rules. Evid. 803 (2)). In layman’s terms, hearsay occurs when a witness testifies regarding what they heard someone else say. Hearsay is inadmissible at trial; however, there are many exceptions to the hearsay
rule.

In domestic violence cases hearsay evidence is often admitted as substantive evidence of guilt. It is typical for courts to allow a police officer to testify to the officer’s memory of what the victim supposedly said at the time of the incident. This testimony is admitted even though the victim’s alleged statements were not recorded by the officer. Rather, the officer is testifying from notes in the police report
made several hours or even days after the arrest. This testimony is admitted as an “excited utterance.”

An excited utterance is defined as “A statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.” (Tex. Rules. Evid. 803 (2)). It is common for a statement to be admitted at trial as an excited utterance even if the incident occurred several hours prior to the officer obtaining the statement from the victim. The hearsay exception of excited utterances also allows the state to play the recorded “911″ call from the victim to the jury. Whether an “excited utterance” is admissible is within the discretion of the trial court
judge.

A criminal defense attorney will object to hearsay testimony as a violation of the defendant’s right to confront their accuser at trial. When a witness at trial is reciting hearsay testimony, the defendant cannot cross-examine or confront the person who actually made the statement. The person who made the statement, called the declarant, is not the witness on the stand. The United States Constitution and state constitutions guarantee the defense the right to confront the accuser at trial. Generally speaking, an objection on the grounds the confrontation clause was violated is overruled by the trial court judge if the state can prove a hearsay exception.

On March 8, 2004, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of
Crawford v. Washington, 2004 U.S. Lexis 1838, 72 U.S.L.W. 4229. The court interpreted the Sixth Amendment “Confrontation Clause” of the United
State’s Constitution. In Crawford, the Court found the confrontation clause was violated when a recorded statement by Crawford’s spouse was played for the jury. Crawford’s wife did not testify at trial under Washington’s “Husband-Wife” privilege.

The case may not impact traditional hearsay rule exceptions. The Court made a distinction between “testimonial” and “non-testimonial” hearsay. The spouse in
Crawford, had also been arrested and gave her statement while in police custody. The Court found those circumstances to be testimonial hearsay, inadmissible as a violation of the confrontation clause when the recording was played at trial and she did not
testify.

Crawford does not cover “non-testimonial” statements such as when a spouse makes incriminating statements against the alleged battering spouse on a “911″ call. Additionally,
Crawford‘s ruling may not apply to “excited utterance” hearsay statements made by the victim when police first arrive on the scene. That question will be addressed by state appellate courts.
With anticipated pressure from the Family Violence Industry, state appellate courts may take a very narrow view of
Crawford’s holding and allow hearsay statements into evidence.

3. Syndrome Evidence May Be Admissible Against the Accused

A new strategy is being urged by the state in domestic violence cases, particularly when the alleged victim has recanted or changed her story. The prosecutors are borrowing concepts from child sexual assault cases and attempting to expand them to family violence cases. In many states, prosecutors in child abuse cases can offer expert testimony that a child is suffering from the “Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome”(C.S.A.A.S.). This syndrome is based on the theory that abused children will exhibit certain character traits indicative of abuse.

Prosecutors in adult assault cases are now attempting to show a victim who recants or changes the original story is suffering from “Battered Woman’s Syndrome.” The new prosecutorial trend is to use the syndrome to explain why a victim of domestic violence would recant. The state wants the jury to hear expert testimony explaining that a victim is likely to recant, not due to the absence of violence, but because she is a battered
woman.

“Battered Woman Syndrome describes a pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in women living in battering relationships.”
People v. Romero, 13 Cal Rptr 2d 332, 336 (Cal App 2d Dist. 1992). 

The nation’s leading expert on the syndrome, Dr. Lenore Walker, states:

There are four general characteristics of the syndrome:

1. The woman believes that the violence was her fault.
2. The woman has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
3. The woman fears for her life and/or her children’s lives.

4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

Walker, found nine typical characteristics of the battered wife:

(1) has low self-esteem;
(2) believes all the myths about battering relationships;
(3) is a traditionalist about the home, strongly believes in family unity and the prescribed feminine sex-role stereotype; 
(4) accepts responsibility for the batterer’s actions;

(5) suffers from guilt, yet denies the terror and anger she feels;
(6) presents a passive face to the world but has the strength to manipulate her environment enough to prevent further violence and being killed;
(7) has severe stress reactions, with psychophysiological complaints;
(8) uses sex as a way to establish intimacy; and
(9) believes that no one will be able to help her resolve her predicament except herself. 
Dr. Lenore Walker, ‘The Battered Woman Syndrome’
(1984)

Slowly the syndrome is appearing in domestic violence courts throughout the country as a means to strengthen the state’s case against the accused. The majority of courts are disallowing expert testimony without specific proof the victim in that case suffers from the syndrome. However, it is anticipated this syndrome will soon gain the same status as C.S.A.A.S. and become a routine prosecutorial tactic against defendants in domestic violence cases.

With syndrome evidence, the state replaces its lack of real proof with speculation. Expert
testimony stating the wife is a battered woman is fatal to the falsely accused. A wife testifying for the defendant describing the incident may tell the jury she exaggerated or was the instigator herself. The prosecution in rebuttal will call an expert witness to inform the jury that she is testifying in a manner consistent with being a battered spouse and merely protecting her husband.

A variety of state law cases indicate this prosecutorial trend seeking to introduce evidence the victim belongs to the class of persons known as “Battered Woman’s
Syndrome”:

1. Russell v. State, Court of Appeals of Alaska, 2002 Alas. App. LEXIS 237, ( 2002) (Memorandum decision, not legal precedent);
2. People v. Williams, Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, 78 Cal. App. 4th 1118; 93 Cal. Rptr. 2d 356;
3. State v. Yusuf, Appellate Court of Connecticut, 70 Conn. App. 594; 800 A.2d 590; 2002 Conn. App. LEXIS 349 (2002);

4. State v. Niemeyer, Appellate Court of Connecticut, 55 Conn. App. 447; 740 A.2d 416; 1999 Conn. App. LEXIS 408 (1999);
5. Michigan v. Christel, 449 Mich. 578, 537 N.W.2d 194, 1995 Mich. LEXIS 1477;
6. State v. Cummings, Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, 2002 Ohio 4178; 2002 Ohio App. LEXIS 4353 (2002);
7. Garcia v. State, NO. 01-99-01068-CR, Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston, 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 3774, (2000)(Unpublished, not legal precedent). 

4. Convictions Without Physical Evidence

Defendants have been convicted of domestic violence without any physical evidence introduced against them at trial. In many cases, the argument resulting in the arrest was so slight the alleged victim does not need or seek medical treatment. Frequently, the accused is convicted for intentionally causing “bodily injury” without any testimony from a qualified medical expert. The victim’s testimony alone that she felt pain or suffered bodily injury is sufficient for a conviction. 

This testimony can be supported by police officer testimony of having observed red marks, scratches, or bleeding, to substantiate the decision to arrest. These claimed injuries may or may not be photographed and preserved for trial. Commonly, a defendant is convicted of causing bodily injury without medical or photographic evidence.

The creation of the Family Advocacy Center is anticipated to follow their Child Advocacy Center predecessors. Medical nurses and employees, whose livelihoods depend upon their contracts with the centers, will give opinions that a victim was abused. Failure to give the right opinion will mean the contract is not renewed. These opinions from medical “experts” will say the findings are “consistent with” abuse. Of course, “consistent with abuse” is not a true medical diagnosis. This testimony, when attacked by the defense attorney will reveal the findings given, as “consistent with abuse” are just as “inconsistent with
abuse”.

Instead of physical and medical evidence, the falsely accused are now and will continue to be convicted upon theories, inferences, and speculation. Prosecutors secure convictions by manipulating the juries’ fear of releasing a battering spouse back into the home. This fear will be combined with hearsay, expert witness “syndrome evidence”, misleading medical testimony, and the biased opinions of family advocacy investigators. Immediately after arrest the alleged victim will be hustled to the Family Advocacy Center to be interviewed. At the center, a “forensic interviewer” with the help of state agents will orchestrate a video taped interview. The prosecutor and police detective will be monitoring the process through a two-way mirror in the adjacent room. The interviewer will be in communication and fed questions from the agents through a wireless microphone earpiece. The interviewer will question the alleged victim when she is still highly emotional and upset, prone to exaggeration and motivated to hurt the accused. Many cases have shown investigators to require an alleged victim to add the phrase “ I felt pain” to any written or verbal description of the incident. The alleged victim is unaware that “pain” is the legal buzzword authorities must have to prosecute. 

5. Summary: Recipe for conviction:

1. “911” call from the alleged victim claiming assault and
injury;

2. Recorded preservation of the “911″ call for trial; 

3. A biased police investigation;

4. A Zero Tolerance policy requiring the police to make an arrest;

5. A biased interviewer requiring the alleged victim to state or write that she felt “pain”; 

6. A biased medical report by a “nurse” contracted by the domestic violence
industry;

7. Syndrome evidence from an “expert” witness if the victim recants or changes her story; 

8. Trial testimony through “excited utterance” hearsay and denial of the husband – wife privilege not to testify against their spouse; 

9. Conviction on little or no physical evidence.


VII. FAMILY VIOLENCE LEGAL FACTS: A CHECKLIST

1. Issues Upon Arrest 

– What Is Family Violence?
Family violence is defined as “an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.”
Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004 (2004)

– What Is An Assault Family Violence Offense?

There is not a Texas penal code statute entitled “Assault – Family Violence.”
Despite what offense may have been written on the magistrate’s warning or bail bond, the actual offense is for “Assault”. In Texas, an assault offense can range from a Class C misdemeanor (similar to traffic citation) to a felony. The charge is a Class C misdemeanor if the physical contact is merely regarded as “ offensive “ or “provocative”. In those situations, the suspect usually receives a citation and promises to appear later in a Municipal Court where the maximum punishment is by fine up to $500.00.

The vast majority of family violence cases are charged as Class A misdemeanors in which it is alleged the defendant caused ”bodily injury” to the victim. In cases in which “serious bodily injury “ is alleged, the offense is characterized as a felony. It also will be a felony if “the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense against a member of the defendant’s family or
household”.

– What Evidence Do The Police Need To Make An Arrest?
An officer must arrest if probable cause exists to believe that bodily injury has occurred.

– Do the Police Need A Warrant To Arrest Me?

Texas state law authorizes the police to make an arrest without a warrant of:

“ persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an assault resulting in bodily injury to a member of the person’s family or household.”
Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. Art. 14.03 (a) (4).

This legal authorization leads to an automatic arrest or “zero tolerance” policy by many police departments. Once a call for assistance was made to a “911″ operator regarding a domestic disturbance, someone is going to jail if there is any evidence, credible or not, of bodily
injury.

– What is Bodily Injury?

“Bodily Injury means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition”.
Tex. Pen. Code § 1.07 (8) 

It does not take much to make an allegation of “bodily injury”. Bodily injury does not require a trip to the doctor, any medication, or even any sign of injury such as a bruise or red mark. The alleged victims’ statement they felt pain is sufficient for an arrest to be made. This is why the police officer will ask the alleged victim if she was “hurt” or felt “pain”. If the victim says yes, then the officer has been provided with probable cause the bodily injury provision has been
met.

– What Happens If the Alleged Victim Decides She Does Not Want to Prosecute?
The State will prosecute the case anyway.

– What Is Zero Tolerance?
Zero Tolerance means the police will make an arrest without exception after a family argument if they have probable cause to believe any bodily injury has occurred.

– What Is A No Drop Policy
A “No Drop Policy” means the State will prosecute all domestic violence cases without exception, even if the victim wants the case dismissed and has filed an affidavit of non-prosecution. 

– Can I Be Held in Jail Even after I Make Bail?
The magistrate (judge) can hold the arrested person in jail for four (4) hours after making bail, if there is probable cause to believe any violence would continue if the person were immediately released. 

This period can be extended up to forty -eight hours if authorized in writing by a magistrate. If the extended time period exceeds twenty four (24) hours, the magistrate must make a finding the violence would be continued if the person were released and the person has previously been arrested within ten (10) years on more than one occasion for family violence or for any other offense involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 17.291 (2004)

– What Is the Arraignment?

After an arrest the accused will be brought before the magistrate for the arraignment. At this hearing, the magistrate will read the accused their legal rights, set bail, and usually issue an emergency protective order. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 15.17

– What Is an Emergency Protective Order?
An emergency protective order is issued against the accused by the magistrate at the arraignment hearing. The protective order may:

– evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days;

– prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm;
– prohibit the accused from communicating directly with a person protected by the order or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner;
– going to or near the residence, place of employment, or business of a member of the family or household or of the person protected under the order; or the residence, child care facility, or school where a child protected under the order resides or attends.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What Happens If I Violate The Emergency Protective Order?

Violation of the emergency protective order results in a separate criminal offense punishable by a fine of as much as $ 4,000 or by confinement in jail for as long as one year or by both. An act that results in family violence or a stalking offense may be prosecuted as a separate misdemeanor or felony offense. If the act is prosecuted as a separate felony offense, it is punishable by confinement in prison for at least two years. 
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– Can the Judge Kick Me out of My Own House?
The protective order may evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– Can I Be Ordered Not to Have Any Contact with My Wife or Children?

An emergency protective order by itself cannot prohibit the arrested person from making non-threatening communication or contact with the protected person. However, nothing prohibits the magistrate from making an additional “no – contact” condition of bail. Art. 17.40.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Conditions Related to Victim or Community Safety

– Can I Get the Protective Order Modified, Changed or Dismissed?
The court, which issued the emergency protective order, can modify all or part of the order after each party has received notice and a hearing has been held. In order to change or modify the order, the court must find:

(1) the order as originally issued is unworkable;
(2) the modification will not place the victim of the offense at greater risk than did the
original order; and

(3) the modification will not in any way endanger a person protected under the order.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What If My Spouse Says She Will Not Enforce The Protective Order?
Only the Judge who issued the emergency order can change it or set it aside. No other person can give permission to anyone to ignore or violate the order.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– How Long Is The Protective Order In Effect?
An emergency protective order is in effect for not less than thirty-one (31) days and not more than sixty-one (61) days.
Art. 17.292. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

A final protective order issued by a District Court may be in effect for up to two (2) years.
Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025 (2004)

– Can I Own or Possess a Firearm While out on Bail?

After arrest a magistrate will usually issue an emergency protective order, which can prohibit the arrested person from possessing a firearm, unless the person is a peace officer.
Art. 17.292. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

The magistrate or judge assigned the case can make additional bond conditions, which prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm while the case is pending.

– What Happens If I Have Right To Carry Handgun License?
The magistrate can suspend a license to carry a concealed handgun.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What Kind of Conditions Will I Be under While out on Bail?
A magistrate can require any condition to bail that he / she finds to be reasonable as long as it is related to the safety of the victim or the community.
Art. 17.40. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Conditions Related to Victim or Community Safety

In some cases this may mean there is to be no contact between the alleged victim and the defendant. Once the case has been assigned to a court, that judge may order additional conditions of bond. A judge in Collin County, Texas, has made it a practice to require the accused to attend a weekly batterer intervention counseling program for eighteen (18) weeks even though there has been no conviction.

– The Prosecutor Must Notify Family Law Court Of An Arrest For Domestic Violence If Temporary Orders Regarding Custody or Possession of a Child Are In Effect.

The prosecutor must notify a family law court of an arrest for family violence if the family law court had previously entered temporary orders.
Art. 42.23. Notification of Court of Family Violence Conviction

– What Is An Affidavit of Non-Prosecution?
This affidavit is a legal document from the victim informing the authorities prosecution is
not desired and requesting the case to be dropped. 

– What Happens If My Spouse Executes an Affidavit of Non-prosecution?

The charging decision belongs to the government. In all likelihood, the State will prosecute the case anyway. 

– Should We Meet With The Prosecutor To Get The Case Dismissed?
Sometimes the alleged victim wants to meet with the prosecutor to change her story and
get the charge dismissed.

This procedure needs to be skillfully handled by an attorney. If your spouse meets with either the prosecutor or police investigator alone, she will be threatened with arrest and prosecution if she wants to change the original story. The prosecutor will threaten to charge her with making a false statement to a police officer and / or perjury.

– Can The Case Ever Be Dismissed?
Yes, even with a “no-drop” or “zero tolerance” policy, a good attorney can eventually influence the prosecutor to drop the case. Prosecutors, despite great overtures about caring for the victim and similar altruistic posturing, care very much about winning. The only thing that matters to a prosecutor is winning the case and advancing their career. The alleged victims are just numbers whose faces and situations will be forgotten by the prosecutor with the start of the next case.

The defense motivates the prosecutor to dismiss. Prosecutors hate to lose cases. If confronted with a case that cannot be won they will try to deviate from office policy to dismiss, “just this one time”.

– What If There Is No Physical Evidence of Bodily Injury ?
In many cases evidence of injury is slight, or no physical evidence of injury may exist at all. The State will prosecute the case anyway.

– How Could I Be Found Guilty If There Is No Physical Evidence?
The State can get a conviction solely on the testimony of the alleged victim without any physical evidence of bodily injury.

– What If The Victim Does Not Show Up For Trial?
The State will subpoena her for trial. If she does not appear the judge will issue a writ of attachment (arrest warrant). The Sheriff will arrest your spouse and bring her to the courthouse. If she cannot be located, the judge will grant the State’s motion for a continuance. If she cannot be found, even after a continuance, the State will prosecute the case and present hearsay evidence of what your spouse
said:

1. On the 911 dispatch tape;
2. To the investigating police officers;
3. By introducing any written or recorded statements of your spouse. (Written or recorded statements may now be inadmissible after the United States Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Washington, 2004 U.S. Lexis 1838, 72 U.S.L.W. 4229.)

– Can the Case Be Won At Trial?
These cases are frequently won at trial by skilled criminal defense attorneys. In many situations, the argument involved both parties and any physical assault was actually mutual combat. Self-defense is a defense to prosecution under Texas and all states law.

2. Consequences Of A Conviction

– Will An Arrest Or Conviction Be on My Record?
A conviction, probated sentence, or deferred adjudication will result in a permanent criminal record. In Texas there are only two ways to remove a domestic violence arrest record. An attorney can have the records of arrest expunged (destroyed) if the state never files a case or if the case is won at trial.

A plea of guilty or no contest to the charge or a finding of guilt, will result in a criminal record even if the defendant is placed on probation or deferred adjudication and successfully completes the community supervision period. 

There is no method by law to expunge, destroy, or seal domestic violence convictions, probations, or deferred adjudications.
Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081

– What Happens If I Am Not a U.S. Citizen?
A person charged with domestic violence who is not a United States citizen can face serious penalties.

Deportation is possible even if the case ends in probation or deferred adjudication.
A re-entry into the United States may be denied after arrest, even if the case has not gone to trial.

– Who Would Have Access to My Record?
The records will be available for anyone with access at the courthouse or over the internet. Even a deferred adjudication case will be discoverable to any person. Present or future employers will have access to domestic violence records.

– If I Successfully Complete Deferred Adjudication, Can I Get the Records Sealed?
Deferred adjudication for family violence cannot be expunged or have the records sealed.
It will be a permanent record, even though a formal conviction is not entered.

Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081

– Can I Own or Possess a Firearm?
If the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest or is found guilty at trial they will not be able to possess a firearm for (5) years under Texas law, and not possess a firearm or ammunition at all under federal law. The federal law has no time limitation to it. The loss of the right to possess a firearm applies whether the case ends in a conviction, probation, or deferred adjudication.
Tex. Penal Code § 46.04 (2004); 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g) (9)

– If Placed On Community Supervision, Will I Have to Attend Counseling?

A person on community supervision for domestic violence will be required to attend a year long Battering Intervention Prevention Program counseling course. The average defendant is required to attend once a week for a fifty – two (52) week period. Failure to attend, or missing too many meetings will result in revocation of the community supervision and placement in jail.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.141 (2004)

– Can I Attend Counseling of My Own Choosing?
The defendant does not get to select a counseling program. This program will be set up in
advance and the defendant will be required to attend. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.141 (2004)

– What Are Typical Probation / Deferred Conditions for Domestic Violence Cases?
The defendant is responsible for all costs of counseling and probation. Typical conditions of Community Supervision include:

– Fine; 
– Court Costs; 
– Victim Impact Panels; 

– Counseling for Victim; 
– Contributions to Women’s Domestic Violence Shelters; 
– Weekly Batterers Intervention Prevention Program Counseling; 
– Anger Management Counseling; 
– Monthly Probation Fees of $50.00 per Month; 
– No Contact With Victim; 

– Random Urinalysis Testing; 
– Monthly Reporting To Probation Officer; 
– Community Service; 
– Other Conditions the Judge Finds to Be Reasonable. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.14

– A Domestic Violence Conviction Will Result in a Finding of Family Violence.
If the defendant enters a plea or is found guilty, the trial court must make an affirmative finding of family violence and enter the affirmative finding in the judgment.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.013 (2004)

– What Does it Mean to Have a Family Violence Finding?
A plea of either guilty or no contest will result in a family violence finding even if the sentence is deferred.

A finding of family violence can have drastic consequences for a parent facing a child custody or modification case. There may be a presumption that the accused is not a fit parent. 

– The Trial Court Judge Must Notify Family Court Of A Family Violence Finding.
The trial court judge must notify the family court judge if the defendant was found guilty or pled guilty or no contest to a family violence offense. This must be done even if the defendant is placed on deferred adjudication.
Art. 42.23. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Notification of Court of Family Violence Conviction

– A Final Protective Order Can Be Entered Against a Person Found to Have Committed Family Violence.
A family court judge may enter a final protective order against a person found guilty or pled guilty or no contest to a family violence offense. This can be done even if the defendant is placed on deferred adjudication
Tex. Fam. Code § 85.022 Requirements of Order Applying to Person Who Committed Family Violence

– What Are the Possible Penalties for a Conviction?
In Texas, the accused faces up to a $4,000.00 fine for a conviction, whether by a plea or a finding of guilt at trial. The accused may be incarcerated for up to one year in the county jail upon conviction, whether by a plea or a finding of guilt at trial.

If the accused has a prior conviction for family violence, a second charge will be prosecuted as a third degree felony offense, carrying a range of punishment of not less than two (2) years or more than ten (10) years in the penitentiary and a fine up to $10,000.00.
Tex. Pen. Code. § 12.21; § 12.34


VIII.  SELECTING
THE RIGHT ATTORNEY

1. Do Not Attempt This On Your Own

If informed that surgery is needed to remove a tumor, the patient would not go home and start rummaging through kitchen knives to commence a self-service operation. Obviously this procedure is best left to the skilled hands of a professional physician. The same principle exists when a family desires to have a criminal case dismissed. This is not the time to do it yourself.

The criminal justice system is a great mystery to those who are not familiar with its inner sanctum. There is a right way and wrong way to get things accomplished. The family finding itself facing an accusation does not understand how to approach the system. Common sense and justice, thought to be inherent in the system, does not exist. Rather the criminal justice system is more concerned with power, perpetuation of the appearance of justice, and statistics.

Media and political attention concerning domestic violence may tend to have the naive think the system is concerned with the well being of families. This is incorrect. The system does not care one iota about the families it captures in its web. A family in recovery, healing from domestic conflicts presumes the protectors would be pleased to discover prosecution is no longer desired. This is certainly the public persona exemplified by the protectors. Referring to the Smith County, Texas Family Advocacy Center, Executive Director Carol Langston said: “ I would love for the center not to have to be here 20 or 40 years from now.” (Laura Krantz, Staff Writer, March 20, 2004, Tyler Morning Telegraph).
Baloney.

In fact the exact opposite is true. The protectors want as many cases as possible and are not concerned with what’s best for the family. The system is concerned with what’s best for itself, growth and expansion. Those goals are not met by dropping
cases.

“This is crazy. We had an argument that got out of control. Everything is fine now. My spouse does not want to prosecute. If I talk to them and explain it will go away.” This is the initial feeling of a family who does not want any additional complications, such as a frivolous prosecution in their lives. The family may be experiencing problems and difficulties, but it is not a matter that requires governmental intervention. Husband and Wife desire to work out their issues on their own, their way. All that is needed now is to make an appointment to speak to the prosecutor and have the State to drop the
case.  The State Will Not Drop the Case. 

2. Rules For The Accused

Rule No. 1: There is nothing you can say to these people to make them go away. 

Nothing an accused or alleged victim can say or do will convince the protectors (Family Advocacy Prosecutor, Family Advocacy Center Caseworker, Police Detective) that the abuse did not occur. NOTHING!

Rule No. 2: The case will not be dismissed until the government finds a dismissal is in their best interests, not the best interests of the family. 

The individual effected family means nothing to these people. The family is a mere meal ticket, another in a long line of families the system will victimize. Informing the protectors that the family is fine, has made up, is working out their problems, and does not need prosecution will be met on deaf ears. The system does not care. The protectors need bodies to meet necessary quotas to continue receiving grant money and expand.

It is only when the protectors recognize they will lose the case, possibly in an embarrassing fashion, that a dismissal will be considered. The state must be motivated through its own fear of losing face with a jury before it will consider the needs of the family.

Rule No. 3: Talking to the protectors without an attorney present is the single worst thing a wrongfully accused person can do.

In most cases an experienced attorney will not allow you to talk to the prosecutor or the police or give a statement. The attorney knows whatever you say will be used against you.

The violation of these rules by unaware family members is commonplace. A family desiring to put the incident behind them believes sanity will intervene at some point, and decide to contact the police and prosecution. The alleged victim and suspect will give written and videotaped statements. In addition, they will talk on the phone or offices of detectives and prosecutors without knowing they are being recorded. 

The protectors are not interested in conducting a fair and thorough investigation. The accused and alleged victim who walk into a Family Advocacy Center without an experienced attorney to “tell their side of things” or “clear this all up” is doing exactly what the authorities want. The protectors know what they are doing. At this meeting they will obtain real or implied admissions and circumstances presenting opportunity for battering coming from the accused’s own
mouth.

An attorney can place you in a position so that you are “cooperating” with the investigation without incriminating yourself. The attorney can assist you in making the decision of whether to meet with the authorities. In most situations, the attorney knows the charge decision has already been made and that a meeting will not change the forthcoming prosecution. 

3. Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Very few attorneys specialize in fighting domestic violence allegations. Many lawyers represent clients with assault charges. These lawyers will handle such cases in addition to a general criminal defense practice. Domestic cases are different from the typical criminal charge and must be handled differently!

Consider the following in hiring the right attorney:

A. Length of Practice and Experience.

A family violence allegation can only be defended successfully by an attorney with significant trial experience and specifically with assault cases. The accused is not in a position to have inexperienced counsel. 

Unfortunately, the police, Family Advocacy Center personnel, and the public will consider you to be guilty. For one charged with family violence, it is important to act immediately. The accused must prove their innocence! An attorney who does not begin an all out defense at the very beginning is wasting valuable time and compromising your future.

There is no “home field advantage” in a domestic violence case. Do not shy away from a good attorney who is located in a different county from where you are being charged. Judges are elected politicians. Judges do not get re-elected if the public views them as soft on family violence. It makes no difference how well a local attorney knows the judge; it will not be of any assistance with this type of charge. An “outsider” who does not care about making the judge or prosecutor happy, but just wants to defend you and win, is much better than a local name.

B. Reject Plea Bargains.

A false allegation of domestic violence must be beaten through either a dismissal or an acquittal (not guilty finding) at trial. There is no victory in a plea bargain with these cases. The innocent persons life will be significantly affected by pleading guilty. At no time in dealing with a false allegation should there ever be an admission of guilt. A plea bargain may seem an easy way out, but it will ruin the life of the falsely accused forever. 

Deferred Adjudication, successfully served will not result in a conviction for the defendant. However, the lack of a formal conviction is meaningless. Whether the accused receives deferred, straight probation, or is released from jail, he will still have a criminal record and a finding of family violence. These records are public and the nature of the charges can be made known to anyone. Family violence findings may result in the loss of employment and the inability to secure future meaningful employment.

Community Supervision for the defendant will require battering intervention program counseling. In this setting, the offender is required to admit that not only the actual charge is true, but also any extraneous charges or allegations made in police or advocacy center reports are true. It matters not that the charge is exaggerated, untrue, or only partially true. It matters not that the extraneous other charges did not occur. Failure to admit that everything alleged is true will result in a revocation of community supervision and incarceration. 

The prosecution will tempt the inexperienced defense attorney with offers of deferred adjudication and “counseling” instead of incarceration. Do not fall for this guise. It can be difficult to complete probation as the rules keep changing. Making community supervision more difficult for family violence offenders is a legislative reality. Politicians enact new laws, which offer the appearance of fighting domestic violence. No lobby group exists for persons charged with domestic abuse and the legislature can make the community supervision process intolerable without
opposition.

A finding of family violence can mean that you will lose your children.

C. Prepare a vigorous pre – charge defense to avoid prosecution.

If an attorney says to wait and see if you are formally charged; walk away immediately; the best time to get a dismissal is before a formal charge.

Many times the best method of winning a false allegation case is to defeat it before it officially starts. Evidence can be collected pre-charge by the defense that does not have to meet the standards of admissible evidence at trial. The defense can produce typically inadmissible evidence such as polygraph examination results, character letters, and other forms of hearsay. The defense can also offer expert witness reports and affidavits explaining the unreliability and tainted evidence procured by the prosecution. Here are some common examples of evidence that can be assessed for a charge dismissal packet:

A. Your Criminal History
B. Honorable Discharge 
C. Education Records
D. Polygraph Results
E. Polygraph Report
F. Psychological and Personality Testing of Client
G. A Factual Summary of the Defense Version of the Case
H. Sworn Statements That the Alleged Victim Has Made False Accusations in the past
I. Legal Research and Case-law to Show Reason to Not Indict 

J. Good Character Letters
K. Availability of Defendant and Others to Testify If Requested.
L. Recantations from Alleged Victims When Available.
M. Expert Witness Testimony and Affidavits Regarding Tainted Evidence Comprising the States’
case. Test Results Showing the Accused Does Not Have the Psychological Characteristics of a Batterer.

If your attorney insists that pursuing a pre-charge defense is a waste of time, fire him.

D. Prepare a vigorous defense for trial.

If the prosecutor accepts the charge, then the case must be prepared for trial. It is rare for the state to dismiss a case once they have formally filed an assault charge. Your attorney must be prepared to try these specialized types of cases. 

Selection of the jury is critical for domestic violence cases. The potential jurors come into the case with heavy emotional attachments regarding allegations of abuse to a spouse. Strong emotions held by jurors about domestic violence must be overcome and their attention placed on being fair and acknowledging that false allegations are made. The jury panel must understand the serious potential for injustice a false allegation can cause. 

In addition, the attorney must educate the jury panel on how false allegations could be made. The panel needs to understand how an alleged victim can make false and exaggerated statements and what motivation exists to do so.

The attorney must be well skilled in cross-examination to show deficiencies in the states investigation through a preconceived assumption of guilt shared amongst the advocacy team. Cross-examination is a skill obtainable only through years of trial practice itself. 

The attorney must also be prepared to offer strong defensive witnesses. Contrary to many criminal cases, the accused must testify in a domestic violence case if the defense wants an acquittal. Until the jury hears it straight from the accused’s mouth that the abuse did not occur, it will convict.


IX. CONCLUSION

True domestic violence is criminal and has resulted in tragic consequences. However, the cure may be as abhorrent as the disease. Governmental overkill has created the Family Violence Industry. The future is here as “Family Advocacy Centers “ are springing up across the nation with hands held out competing for federal funding. A needless bureaucratic machine defining innocent family members as batterers is the inevitable outcome of “zero tolerance” and “no – drop” policies. 

Further, the protectors have assimilated into a system of arrogance and self-righteousness believing it and it alone knows what is best for the family. The protectors protect only themselves and seek not to do justice, but to expand and grow at the expense of those truly victimized, the individual family they claim to assist. A nation of Americans face a well funded and driven system intent upon finding family violence for every minor and insignificant transgression. 

Instead of tackling real and legitimate domestic violence, the industry is content, fat, and happy with prosecution of the minutia. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. Irving Family Advocacy Center www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm

2. “Fact Sheet: The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative”
‘United States Department of Justice’, www.ojp.usdoj.gov

3. “Cult of The Domestic Violence Industry” Dave Brown, ‘The Ottawa Citizen’,
2001

4. “Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence”‘ Dallas Morning News- Collin County Edition’, March 14,
2004

5. “Zero Tolerance Sucks” Editorial, ‘Winnipeg Free Press’, February 10,
2002

6. “Domestic Violence the Other Side of Zero Tolerance” Janice T. Martin, Esq., Naples (Florida) Daily News, November 3,
2002

7. “Domestic Violations,” Reason on Line, April 1998Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom
Network

8. “The Booming Domestic Violence Industry” John Maguire, Massachusetts News, August 2, 1999,
www.massnews.com

9. “What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado Law” Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., Equal Justice
Foundation

10. “Mandatory Restraining Order Pursuant to Section 18-1-1001″, C.R.S.
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. 2002 Equal Justice Foundation

11. “Money and Politics Corrupting Domestic Violence Laws and
Enforcement” Charles E. Corry, Ph.D, 2002 Equal Justice Foundation

12. “Family Violence, A Report from: Family Resources & Research”
Sam & Bunny Sewell, www.landwave.com/family/

13. “Mandatory Arrest And Restraining Orders” From ‘Domestic Violence: Facts and
Fallacies’ Richard L. Davis, A.L.M.

14. “Specialized Criminal Domestic Violence Courts” Julie A. Helling, ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

15. “Advocacy In a Coordinated Community Response” Rose Thelen, Gender Violence Institute, ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

16. “Criminal Prosecution of Domestic Violence” Linda A. McGuire, Esq., ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

17. “Assessing Justice System Response to Violence Against Women: A Tool for Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and the Courts to Use in Developing Effective
Responses” Kristen Littel, M.A., ‘Violence Against Women Online Resources’
www.vaw.umn.edu

18. “Building Bridges Between Domestic Violence Organizations and Child Protective
Services” Linda Spears, ‘Violence Against Women Online Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

19. “Legal Interventions In Family Violence: Research Findings and Policy
Implications” Research Report, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, July
1998

20. “Litigating Domestic Violence Cases: Effective Use of the Rules of
Evidence” American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Civil Law Institute,
2000.

21. “Domestic Violence” NAA Text 2000, Chapter 9. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of
Justice

22. “Domestic Violence Protocol for Law Enforcement” Police Chief’s Association of Santa Clara County,
2002

23. “Family Violence Prevention – Best Practice Guide” Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, Department of Family and Children’s
Services

24. “Domestic Violence: A Model Protocol for Police Response” B.J. Hart, Esq., Minnesota Center Against Violence and
Abuse

25. “ A Process Evaluation of the Clark County Domestic Violence Court”
Randall Kleinhesselink, Clayton Mosher, Minnesota Center Against Violence and
Abuse March 2003.

26. “Creating a Domestic Violence Court: Combat in the Trenches” Randall Fizzier; Leonore M.J. Simon, ‘Court Review’, Spring
200

27. “Specialized Courts and Domestic Violence” Kristin Littel, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, May
2003

28. “Domestic Violence Court Opens” Amy Wallace, ‘Seacoast Online’,
2002

29. “Domestic Violence Court” www.utcourts.gov/domviolence/domov.htm

30. “Misandry Is No Solution” John Sample, ‘The Backlash’, August
1996

31. “A Tool Kit To Destroy Families” ‘Washington Times’, Commentary Section, December 9,
2001

32. “Irving Police Extend Hand To Crime’s Victims” Robert Miller, ‘Dallas Morning News’, March 28,
2004

33. “ Chandler (Kentucky Attorney General) Declares Zero Tolerance Policy On Violence Against Women,” Jennifer Schaaf, March 12, 1998,
www.kyattorneygeneral.com/news/releases/006

34. “Garrett County To Crack Down On Domestic Violence” Garrett County State’s Attorney’s Office, Press Release, June 12,
1998

35. “Knocked for Six: The Myth of a Nation of Wife-batterers” Neil Lyndon, Paul Ashton, ‘The Sunday Times of London’, January 29,
1995

36. “Zero Tolerance For Domestic Violence” www.co.contra-costa.ca.us./depart/cao/DomViol

37. “Family Advocacy Center, A Safe Place To Get Help” City of Phoenix, Family Advocacy Center General
Information, www.ci.phoenix.az.us./CITZASST/facbroch

38. “Baseball Player’s Domestic Violence Arrest Demonstrates How Men Are Presumed Guilty In Domestic Disputes,” Glenn Sacks, March 26, 2004,
www.glennsacks.com

39. “Advocacy Center Unites Agencies To Battle Abuse” Laura Jett Krantz, March 20, 2004, Tyler Morning
Telegraph

40. “Domestic Violence Information and Referral Handbook” Santa Clara County Probation
Department www.growing.com/nonviolent/victim/vict_res.htm

41. “Advocacy Center Offers Refuge for Battered” A.E. Araiza, ‘The Arizona Daily Star’, March 14, 2004

The original article can be found here: http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/stuckle/fv-industry.htm

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Lost Parents’ Perspective – Chapter 4 of 5

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 21, 2009 at 1:00 am

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2


CHAPTER 4

RESULTS

This chapter presents the results of the data analysis described in Chapter 3.

Family Data

For the determination of indicators of PAS, the study of family data was an important area to examine first as there may have been some characteristics relevant in the occurrence of PAS.

(a) Family Constellation: Information about participants’ family characteristics such as marital status, number of marriages, length of alienating marriage, and number of PAS and non-PAS children were included. The information gathered pertaining to the family constellation was attained primarily through probing with the questions developed by the researcher which were part of the questionnaire shown in Appendix C.

Results: Three of the six participants had remarried after the alienating marriage and another participant reported that he was living with a partner. Of the remaining participants, one was continuing legal proceedings and the other, the only female participant, had remained unmarried since the divorce. The length of the alienating marriages ranged between three and thirteen years.

Four of the six participants each had one child (two of whom were girls) from the PAS marriage, one participant had two children of PAS (two boys) and another had three children (two of whom were boys). Four of the six participants had no other children outside of the PAS marriage (one participant was living with his partner’s children) and two participants had two children outside their PAS marriage. However, the lost parents tended to have had only one child from the PAS marriage and tended to have remarried after the PAS marriage ended. See Table 1 for a summary of the results. These results suggest a lack of common family characteristics inherent in PAS families.

Table 1

Summary of the participants’ family constellations:

Participants Marital Status Total Number of Marriages Length of
PAS marriage (in years)
Number of PAS children Number of non-PAS children
1 Married 2 3 1 2
2 Married 2 13 3 0
3 Divorced 1 9 2 0
4 Married 2 8 1 2
5 Divorced 1 9 1 0
6 Cohabitant 2 5 5 1

(b) Relocation: Information for this area was not probed. The participants related this information primarily when discussing either alienating techniques or the marital dissolution. Specifically, the data gathered pertained to any of the participants’ references to his or her own, or the child’s (with the alienator) change of home(s), whether to a different home, town, city, state or province, or country.

Results:
The number of relocations per alienated family varied. The participants reported that they or their children (of the PAS marriage) had relocated between one and ten times. The father who reported that his ex-spouse and the PAS child relocated approximately ten times, had done so in the same city and simply relocated to ten different houses. Three of these participants reported at least one relocation of the alienator to another city or town. Only one parent attributed his ex-spouses’ repeated relocation to other cities as an alienation technique to prevent him from seeing his child. The remaining participants did not indicate whether or not their ex-spouses with the PAS children had relocated since the divorce. Only one alienated father indicated that he had relocated after the alienating marriage and he reported doing so in order to remain in close contact with his daughter who was being relocated by the alienating mother. The lost parents tended to report the relocation of the alienator with the PAS child or children after the marriage with little or no indication of their own relocation. Further, the nature and the reasons behind the relocations were not given. This information was not probed further as this was not an intended area of study. Thus the results suggest that the alienators’ change of home may not be a salient characteristic of PAS families. The overall results from the family data suggest that family characteristics such as number of PAS children, number of marriages, and the alienators’ relocations were weak indicators of PAS.

Dissolution of the Marriage

Another area indicative of the underlying reasons for the occurrence of PAS concerns the dissolution of the marriage. By broadening the examination of PAS into this area the issues of conflicts may be addressed, as well as indicators of the relationship between the alienator and the lost parent.

(a) Cause of marital dissolution: Primarily via the researcher’s questioning, data were gathered that pertained to any issues and conflicts that occurred within the marriage that the participants perceived as resulting in negative consequences for the marriage (i.e., leading to the dissolution of their marriage).

Results: Participants reported various reasons for the dissolution of the marriage. Those participants (four of the six) who initiated the divorce reported a breakdown in the relationship between themselves and their spouses for various reasons. A participant reported that his friends urged him to initiate the divorce due to the way his wife at the time treated him. He noted that she became physically violent at times:

She ripped my shirt off my back. On one occasion she took the flower pot and almost threw it on the lid of the car when I was backing up…She would just get in this rage when I would leave.

The remaining two participants reported that they were unaware that their wives wanted divorces and they were in disbelief when the divorce proceedings began. One participant described how he found out his wife had left him: her mother informed him of the impending divorce: “X decided to divorce you, that’s the only way she can be happy is if she divorces you and…you just have to live with it, that’s how it is.” In his own words, the participant explained “…she apparently decided to…divorce me and I didn’t know.” These results suggest that marital conflicts and their intensity are weak predictors in the occurrence of PAS as participants either reported no conflicts that led to the dissolution of the marriage or, if conflicts did occur, a variety of issues were reported as resulting in conflicts.

(b) Current relationship with ex-spouse: The researcher had probed the participants to describe their current relationship with their ex-spouses. The issues relating to this topic presented in the data pertained to the verbal and physical interactions between the participants and the ex-spouses in the alienating situation.

Results: The participants reported that they currently engaged in little or no communication with their ex-spouses (the alienators). Three of the six participants stated that they had no contact with the alienator for one to three years. As one participant explained his current relationship with is ex-wife: “…there’s not too much to the relationship. I haven’t talked to her for about three or four years.” Two of the remaining three participants reported that they had some communication, however this communication was often limited to e-mail or to requesting to speak with the children over the phone. Those participants who reported having had some limited contact with the alienators described their relationships as tense. One participant explained her relationship with her ex-spouse as “very tense and… unpredictable at times.” There was one exception, a participant described his relationship with his ex-spouse as a relationship that they were “working on”. Previously their relationship was strained, however a change in their relationship occurred when, recently, his ex-spouse was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The results suggest that the participants’ experienced either an on-going strained or chronic lack of relationship between themselves and their ex-spouses (the alienator).

Overall, the findings indicated that related to the dissolution of the marriage, the conflicts between the participants and their ex-spouses were of varying issues and intensity. Specifically, the nature and intensity of the conflicts appeared to be weak indicators of the occurrence of PAS. The results also suggest, however, that after the dissolution of the marriage and the occurrence of PAS, the relationship between the alienator and the lost parent was virtually strained or non-existent.

Relationship with the PAS children

The importance of studying PAS is evident in its effects on the children and their relationship with their lost parents. Examining the frequency of visitation and the lost parents’ relationship with their children may provide insight as to the impact of PAS on the children and their relationships with their lost parents.

(a) Frequency of visitation/contact: The researcher probed the participants for information pertaining to the amount of contact between the participant and his or her child (or children). Contact was defined as any interaction between individuals whether by conventional mail, e-mail, telephone, or physical (“face to face”) contact.

Results: All of the participants reported that the mother had primary custody of the children at the time of divorce or separation. Visitation for the fathers was approximately every second weekend, with the exception of one father who was allowed visitation five days a week for five hours per day. Since the finalization of the divorce or the implementation of the custody agreement, all of the alienated parents had their visitation drastically reduced, including the alienated mother who initially had primary custody. Upon asking her how often she sees her children, if at all, her response was “none.” Most of the alienated parents had not seen their children via a court implemented visitation for up to four years. Those parents who continued to have visitation had less frequent visits than when they were first divorced or separated (e.g., instead of every second weekend, a father reported that his visitation had been reduced to once a month). For instance, one father described his reduction in visitation as follows: “…about three years ago…it [visitation] was once or twice a week, and since then….I can see him about once a month.” Overall, the results suggest that a change in the frequency of visitation and custody arrangement occurs with these PAS families. The change of visitation and custody arrangement tends to be as follows: At the onset of the divorce, fathers received regular visitation schedules and the mothers (including the alienated mother in the present study) were given primary custody. After the legal proceedings and the onset of PAS there was a significant decrease in the frequency of the visitation schedule with all the alienated parents, including the alienated mother who had been given primary custody at the onset of the divorce. Although this result may be attributed to having primarily male participants in the study who tended to have visitation rather than custody, nonetheless, the frequency of the visitation was drastically reduced after the proceedings for all of the participants. Further, it remains uncertain as to the cause of the change in the visitation frequency. This change may be due to the legal proceedings or to PAS itself or a third unknown factor. If such a change were due to PAS however, it would be indicative of the success of the alienators in having the lost parents removed from the children’s lives.

(b) Current relationship with PAS children: Again, the researcher probed the participants for data pertaining to the type of physical, verbal, and emotional contact between the participant and the children.

Results: Three of the participants reported having little or no relationship with their alienated children. The alienated mother reported that although she had very little contact with her children she still felt “connected” with them. She continued to attempt to be present during important children’s events such as soccer, baseball games and graduations despite various obstacles (e.g., not being told of such events and being “scolded” by the alienator for going). The fathers who had little contact with their children reported that they attempted to maintain contact by writing letters and cards as well as sending various types of gifts (e.g., toys) to their children. Regardless of whether their children responded to their communication attempts, these fathers hoped that their children understood that by these gestures they were demonstrating their affections to their children. One father described his attempts as follows: “…I write every week. I try to send him [his son] something every week. It can be a postcard, it can be a toy… ”

Only two alienated fathers reported having a close relationship with their alienated children. One of these fathers described his case as a mild form of PAS and attributed his closeness to his daughter to her young age and that he continued to maintain daily telephone contact with her. In his words:

I’ve always been very close with my daughter…very, very close…I don’t think they [the divorce/custody proceedings] had anything [to do with it], she was too young. She was only two years old.

The other lost parent reported a close relationship with his two younger children, while his relationship with his oldest daughter remained somewhat strained. This participant’s close relationship with his younger children may be attributed to a milder form of PAS with his younger children than with his daughter and to his relationship with his ex-spouse who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and with whom he is currently re-establishing some communication. Thus, the results confirm that most PAS children and their lost parents did indeed have a strained relationship. However, the severity of PAS was a weak indicator of the extent of such a strain.

Overall, the results pertaining to the issues of the lost parents’ relationships with their PAS children are as follows: First, the results suggest a decrease in the frequency of visitation for the lost parent which may or may not have been due to PAS. Specifically, participants reported that custody was routinely given to the mother at the onset of the divorce, regardless of who became the alienator and who became the lost parent with the onset of PAS. Further, all fathers had a consistent visitation schedule where all had visitation every two weeks with the exception of one father who visited every day. With the onset of alienation, the alienator received custody and the lost parents had their visitations drastically reduced either to absolutely no visitation or no contact, to visitation of approximately once a month. Of interest is that the only lost female parent who initially had primary custody of the children had absolutely no visitation schedule by the time of the interview. Second, as there was a reduction of other contacts with their children, the lost parents described a limited relationship with their children, often writing to them without reply. The only exceptions to these findings were two fathers who related that their ability to maintain a relatively stable relationship with their children was a function of the mild severity of the PAS in their cases. Therefore as expected, the findings mildly suggest indications that the less severe the PAS the better the chance of having a good relationship with their children.

Alienation and alienating techniques

As there is little research on this subject, a more detailed examination of alienation and associated alienating techniques is necessary in gaining a better understanding of its impact.

(a) Alienators’ attitude and behaviors: Data pertained to all references to the alienators’ behaviors and actions that resulted in any negative consequences for the participant or the alienated child or children. Some of the data gathered for this issue was either probed by the researcher or was spontaneously reported by the participants throughout the interview,

Results: The results suggest that the alienators denigrated the lost parents by implying that the lost parents were not good people. For instance, one father accidentally overheard the alienator inform the children that she had hired an attorney to prevent them from having to visit with their father. The alienator did not allow the child to continue a healthy relationship with the lost parent. Another parent reported that whenever his child went back to the alienator’s home after a visit with him, the child would be questioned or “debriefed” about everything that happened there. A way the alienators exercised their power, as described by a father, included attempts offering the children alternate choices (e.g. shopping) to visiting with the father. The results suggest that all of the participants perceived a general “sabotage” of their relationships with their children by the alienators. The lost parents reported that they perceived their relationship with their children as being “eroded” often by not being informed of a child’s activities (e.g., soccer game schedule) that the lost parent may have wished to attend. Whether the alienator used mild “alienating techniques”- for instance whenever the lost parent called, the alienator would call the children to the telephone by saying in an “angry voice” “Its your father!” – or more drastic means by making accusations of physical and sexual abuse, the effect was that all the lost parents perceived that they were denied or deterred access to their children.

(b) Other’s contributions: Data gathered for this group pertained to all references to any individual, with the exception of the ex-spouse, who engaged in any alienating techniques (i.e., that were perceived by the participants as attempts at alienating the lost parent from the PAS child). Some of the responses were due to the researcher’s questioning but the primary source for the data was due to the participants’ spontaneous descriptions of the alienating circumstances involving others.

Results:
In five of the six cases the children of the PAS families were described as “spies” for the alienator. These children reported back to the alienator anything that the lost parent said that the child did not like. This reporting would often result in arguments between the alienator and the lost parent. The female participant in the study reported that her children would copy all of her personal papers and bills for their father. Further, her children would report to him whenever she had a date. The results also indicate that gifts given to the children by the lost parent would often “disappear” or be broken by the children. In the two cases where there was more than one PAS child, the results indicated that the children were “turned against each other” where in one case they would spy on each other and in the other case the oldest child would engage in alienating the younger children (e.g., enticing the younger children to abandon their visit with their father in order to go to “Sea World” with her and her mother). In one of the cases the maternal grandparents continued the alienation when the alienator (the mother) had discontinued all contact with the father and the grandparents were placed in the position of monitoring the child’s visits with his father. In another case the lost parent’s ex-brothers-in-law and ex-mother-in-law also contributed to the alienation by denigrating the father in front of the children (e.g., saying “I am really sorry you have a father like that”). These results suggest that the children acted as the secondary alienator (i.e., the second alienator after the parent) and they would do so primarily by being spies for the alienating parent and by continually rejecting the lost parent via various means (e.g., breaking toys). Grandparents and other extended family members also appeared to play an important role by contributing to the alienation as secondary alienators, provided that they were close to the alienator. The findings suggest that the closer the alienator’s family members, the greater their tendency to alienate as well. These findings raise the question as to why close family members contribute to the alienation. For instance, are some of the alienating parent’s family characteristics indicative of their engagement in alienation or is it something about the alienation itself that engages other family members to contribute to the alienation or is it simply that these family members take sides? Researchers have yet to address this issue and future research will be important in answering this question.

(c) Cause of PAS: Data gathered here pertained to any causes or factors that the participants perceived to be linked to the development or occurrence of the alienation. Some of the data collected on this issue resulted from direct probing by the researcher, and some resulted from the participants descriptions of their circumstances.

Results:
All of the participants believed that the motive behind the alienation was triggered by hate, anger, or a sense of seeking revenge towards them by the alienator or some combination of these. One father reported his belief that the cause of the alienation was “Hate…Hate towards me” and another participant perceived: “She hates my guts and she says it…And she’s trying to get back at me as well.” Another motive suggested in the findings was that the participants perceived the alienation as a means by which the alienators could succeed in severing the participants’ relationships with their children. One participant noted that the alienator may have made accusations of abuse as a means of explaining the reason behind the divorce. He described his belief as follows: “This gives her an excuse for leaving a bad guy and why the marriage broke up, and therefore it’s not her fault.” The findings suggest that the participants perceived the underlying cause of the alienation as the hatred toward the lost parents, anger, or revenge, or some combination of these.

(d) Control/power: All data gathered pertained to references to situations where the participant perceived that an individual’s actions or behaviours led to another individual’s behavioural change or constraint. Moreover, the data were spontaneously generated by the participants rather than elicited by the researcher.

Results:
The results suggest that the participants had lost some power over their relationship with their PAS children. The alienators were often described by the participants as using the child or other means to attempt to produce a desired outcome in the lost parent or the child. An example of an alienator using the child is as follows: an alienator locked her child in a dark closet, to be found “yelling and screaming” by the lost parent, in order to make the lost parent give her some papers.

Feelings of powerlessness were also apparent in the findings as the participants reported feeling constrained as to the way in which they had to behave in the presence of their children. They reported a need to control their behaviour while in the presence of their children for fear of losing their visitation privileges or experiencing other legal consequences when the child reported to the alienator what the lost parent had done. As one father described his feelings:

So I think she [his daughter] has a lot more power than I do, you know. She has the power to just terminate the relationship at any time. I mean, if at any time she would say ‘Well Dad, I don’t feel like seeing you any more.’ Well, her mother’s …she says, you know, ‘whatever your daughter wants, you know…that’s the law type of thing’.

There is a sense of loss of parental role in the life of their children that has been attributed to the alienation. The lost parents cannot exert any of his or her parental responsibilities over their children. For instance, one lost parent reported how he could not discipline his child (e.g., send the child to her room) when the child behaved inappropriately, or she might end the visit the alienator would become angry at him for having disciplined his daughter as he once would normally have done.

Participants who did not have any contact with their children also reported a sense of being controlled or constrained in their behaviour. For instance, one father believed that he had to monitor the frequency with which he sent cards or packages to his child for fear of being charged with “harassment” if he did so too frequently. Further, two of the participants reported a sense of the children being controlled by the alienator. These children had to behave in a certain manner while with the alienated parent to avoid negative consequences by the alienator. For instance, one participant reported that an unscheduled visit to his child (in order to bring her a gift) resulted in the alienator yelling at the child for speaking to him. There was a sense of powerless reported by all the participants forcing them to behave in a certain manner to avoid legal or other consequences. As one father reported, once divorce occurs then “the courts really have the say over what happens to the kids, not you” [the parent]. These findings suggest that the lost parents perceived themselves as powerless with their children and to have lost their traditional parental roles whether or not they had visitation with their children.

Overall, the findings confirmed that the alienators used denigrating techniques (e.g., implying that the lost parents were not good people) and provided ultimata to children and spouses to further the alienation that was motivated by hate, anger, revenge or some combination of these three. Others were enlisted to contribute to the alienation. Children, in particular, were seen as spies to relay information to the alienator and, as such, may be considered secondary alienators. Second, extended family members such as in-laws who shared close relationships with the alienators contributed to the alienation as well. Moreover, the lost parents felt powerless as a result of the alienating situation. The children in particular were perceived as controlling the lost parents, they could determine when, if at all, they would see the lost parent, under what circumstances and in particular what the lost parent would do with the child. The lost parent had to be careful not to anger the child for fear of never seeing their child again and to be careful even sending them letters or toys. This loss of parental role was reported by the participants whether or not they had visitation with their children.

Experience with Professionals

When a marriage dissolves the family undergoes court proceedings to legalize the divorce. If children are involved, then the parents may seek custody in the courts, and the testimony of mental health professionals may be included during these proceedings. Services for mental health professionals may also be sought by any of the family members outside of the legal system before, throughout, or after a divorce. The role of these professionals and the participants’ perceptions of them may provide useful information for these same professionals as to their future dealings with PASfamilies.

(a) Legal services:
The issues gathered here pertained to any legal proceedings, such as interactions with lawyers, judges, and the court system in general. The principle means of data collection for this issue was from the participants’ spontaneous divulgence of information and some data were gathered via the researcher’s additional probing.

Results:
The participants generally reported having negative experiences within the legal system. The participants felt that the judges in their cases either played minimal roles in the final decisions since everything was decided beforehand by the lawyers, or the judges made quick and uninformed decisions, lacking knowledge and experience with respect to PAS. For instance, one father reported that his ex-wife — who was preventing him from having visits with his child — ignored court orders of his visitation rights. The judge did not impose any consequences on her; she received only a warning after ignoring more than one court order. Accusations were made against three of the fathers. The accusations ranged from physical and mental abuse of the ex-spouse and sexual abuse of the child, to accusations of scaring the children because he “talked like a walrus”. The participants perceived the court as an obstruction to seeing their children as well as a financial burden. Some participants reported the cost of the lawyers’ fees between U.S. $12, 000 to $200, 000. One father reported having to pay legal fees of $1, 000 in order to see his child for one weekend. Overall, the participants reported a sense of discontent over the way in which their cases were managed by the legal system. However, the discontent may have been related to the fact that the participants lost custody. A future study examining this issue may indicate whether the discontent with the legal services was due to the process of the legal proceedings or due to the end result (the loss of custody by participants).

(b) Psychological services: Here data gathered pertained to the participants’ experience of receipt of any type of psychological service whether by psychiatrist, psychologist , or counsellor. Once again, the principal sources of data were from the participants’ own descriptions of their experiences with mental health professionals. The secondary means was via follow-up probes by the researcher for the purpose of clarification.

Results:
Half the participants reported receiving counselling with the alienator prior to the divorce. However, the female participant was the only lost parent to continue with the service and one male participant was “hoping” that an intervention by the therapist would be “crucial” for his case in court. Approximately half of the participants reported receiving a psychological assessment of the family for the legal proceedings in court. In general, the results suggest that the mothers in these families tended to receive psychological services around the time the separation was initiated and that they continued to receive counseling or therapy after the finalization of the divorce. The fathers, on the other hand, were asked by their wives to join their counselling sessions prior to the divorce.

Half of the respondents described their experiences with mental health professionals in negative terms. There appeared to be a sense of discontent with the mental health professionals’ knowledge of PAS and how they managed the PAS family. One father initiated a formal complaint against the psychiatrist who tape recorded their conversations without his knowledge. Members of the mental health profession were reported as being utilized as a “legal tactic” by the alienators and their lawyers. The mental health professionals involved with these PAS cases were often described as individuals who lacked the necessary knowledge of PAS and often neglected to collect pertinent information regarding the child’s relationship with their father. For instance, one father, whose daughter was seen by a psychologist, was never telephoned or asked for any information about his daughter until he called and complained to her himself. Moreover, the participants reported that their children primarily received psychological care for the family assessment for the court, with the exception that one child was seeing a psychiatrist for treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), a daughter who was being treated for anxiety, and two other children (from different families) who were being treated for aggression. Results indicate a general dissatisfaction with the psychologists or psychiatrists who were involved in the families of the participants and there was a lack of a positive outcome from seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist. Not one participant reported any positive outcomes from receiving psychological services. When asked how they coped with the alienating situation, three of the participants reported a desire to discuss and teach PAS to others.

Overall, the results suggest that the participants sought the assistance of both legal and mental health professionals. Further, the results suggest a lack of satisfaction with the services rendered by both legal and mental health professionals. There was a general sense of a lack of knowledge of PAS on the part of the professionals, as well as failing to gather “both sides of the story”. These negative perceptions gave rise to the question as to whether or not accusations that flew back and forth in the courtroom might have the impact of fuelling PAS, and suggests that further research is needed..

Current Perceptions

Examining the lost parents’ current perceptions after having undergone PAS may provide insight as to what issues are important for focus in future research, possible indicators of PAS, and the impact of PAS on the lost parents.

(a) Looking back: Here data gathered referred to the participants’ beliefs of any actions that they would have done differently as well as any general perceptions of the past.

Results:
The results suggest that the participants, provided that they had had the knowledge about PAS that they presently have, would have behaved differently towards their ex-spouse. One participant reported that he would have never been married, while two participants reported that they would have taken different legal routes, such as hiring a different type of lawyer and taking a more aggressive legal approach from the onset. Two other respondents reported that they would have sought psychological services earlier on with a professional who was knowledgeable about PAS. The female participant would have allowed more discussions and pictures of the alienator with her children. Armed with the knowledge they now had, every participant would have taken other means to prevent the current alienating situation from ever occurring.

(b) The impact of PAS: Data pertaining to the participants’ perceptions of how the alienating circumstances have affected their life were gathered.

Results: Overall, the results suggest that the participants perceive the alienating circumstances as exerting serious negative emotional and financial consequences on their lives. Specifically, they felt that they had been drained emotionally, most participants reported a sense that the circumstances had “ruined my life completely”, and asserted that PAS had had “devastating” effects. One parent described the alienating experience as traumatic. The participants believe that they had lost a child or at the very least their roles as a parent. A participant described this feeling as if they would “rip one of my arms off” and another participant noted that his three year marriage will impact on him for the rest of his life (or at least until his child marries). A financial impact was also reported by three of the six participants, one of whom described himself as being “ruined financially”. The only positive impact was reported by the female participant who believed that the alienating experience helped her become more understanding of her pain, others’ pain, and this had assisted her to become a more understanding person.

(c) Termination/Looking to the future: Data gathered pertaining to this area included the participants’ belief that certain situations or circumstances are necessary for the termination of the alienating circumstances.

Results: The results suggest that the participants believed that by maintaining contact with the children (i.e., by sending letters and cards) increased the possibility of a reconciliation with their children. Even though the participants’ attempts at communicating with their children often remained unanswered, these parents believed that their attempts would inform their children that they were thinking of them, that they loved them, and that their doors were still open to the children. These participants hoped that as the children grew and matured they would decide to contact their lost parent on their own. However, these participants also reported that they realized that their children may never resume contact with them and that they must prepare for this eventuality. Two participants reported that they believed that by gaining access to their children the alienation might stop, and one of these parents stressed that terminating the contact between the alienator and the child was another means through which the alienation may cease. These results suggest that all the participants hoped that the alienation would terminate. The majority of the participants appeared to behave that this would occur with time; one participant perceived “time as a healer”.

Overall, the results suggest that the participants perceived their experience of PAS as having resulted in negative and devastating impacts on their lives and themselves and they would go to great lengths to avoid experiencing the alienation again. Moreover, the participants believed that their continued attempts at communicating with their PAS children, despite a lack of responses, would someday lead to the termination of PAS. Therefore, the results suggest that although PAS has had serious consequences on these families’ lives that could have been avoided, the lost parents hoped they would be “reunited” with their children in the future.

Miscellaneous

Results:
The remaining data that did not appear to share any commonalities with other participants’ responses were gathered here. For instance, information gathered included detailed descriptions of the participants’ employment and finances as well as some information regarding other lost parents’ experiences as described by the participants. Such information was not related to any issues discussed by other participants and primarily pertained to details of the participants’ lives rather than to PAS.

Summary of Findings

The results of the study suggest that:

1. Family characteristics, such as number of children, and number of marriages, were weak factors in the occurrence of PAS.
2. The alienators’ changes of home were not a salient characteristic of PAS families.
3. Marital conflicts and their intensity were weak predictors in the occurrence of PAS.
4. The relationships between the alienating and lost parents were strained after the onset of PAS.
5. There was a general decrease in the frequency of visitation for the lost parent which may or may not have been due to PAS.
6. There was a reduction of other contacts (aside from visitation) between the lost parents and their children that, as expected, further limited the relationship between them.
7. All of the participants perceived a general “sabotage” of their relationships with their children by the alienators. The findings confirmed that the alienators used denigrating techniques (e.g., implying that the lost parents were not good people).
8. The children acted as secondary alienators.
9. The alienator’s closer family members tended to also alienate.
10. The participants perceived the underlying cause of the alienation to be hatred of the lost parents, anger, or revenge, or some combination of these.
11. The lost parents experienced a loss of both parental role and power whether or not they had visitation with their children.
12. Lost parents were generally dissatisfied with legal and mental health assistance. Both the legal and mental health professionals have inadequately explored all the parameters implied in PAS.
13. Lost parents would go to great lengths to avoid experiencing alienation again. They continued to hope to be reunited with their children in the future. Specifically, the participants believed that maintaining contact with their children (i.e., by sending letters and cards) increased the possibility of a reconciliation with their children.
14. Given the knowledge they now had about PAS, the participants would have behaved differently towards their ex-spouses.
15. The participants perceived the alienating circumstances as exerting serious negative emotional and financial consequences in their lives.

Though tentative, these findings demonstrate both the complexity and seriousness of PAS.

http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vassil98.htm#CHAPTER%204</a

Are Children “Creatures of the State?”

In Best Interest of the Child, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on May 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm

By David W. Kirkpatrick
posted July 21, 2008
The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Most parents undoubtedly believe that their children are their responsibility.
But a contrary view has a long history.

The point was made by Philadelphian Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Ten years later, in proposing a plan for education in Pennsylvania he wrote, “Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property.”

His plan died but not the sentiment. It was in Pennsylvania nearly a half century later, in 1834, that the first plan for a common school system was adopted. Its prime sponsor and defender, Thaddeus Stevens, said that the sons of both the rich and the poor are all “deemed children of the same parent – the Commonwealth.”

That Stevens’ view was not shared by the general public was demonstrated when most of the Representatives who voted for that measure were defeated at the next election. Stevens himself was reelected and in one of the most influential speeches in American legislative history, he persuaded a majority in the new session to not repeal the new law, as they had been elected to do.

Fortunately the view that children belong to the state is not shared by the U.S. Supreme Court. In its unanimous Pierce decision in 1925, which still stands, the Court upheld parental rights to control their children’s education, declaring that “The child is not the mere creature of the state,” and “those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

This law of the land, however clearly stated, is neither universally accepted nor honored in practice.

Several years ago, in a debate on a Chicago radio station, when I said the schools exist for the benefit of the students, Bella Rosenberg, assistant to then-American Federation of Teachers president Al Shanker, strongly disagreed, saying, “First and foremost, we’re running a public system at taxpayer’s expense for the public good and only secondarily for the good of parents and individuals.”

She didn’t explain how the system can serve the public good if students aren’t successful. Certainly the public good is not served when millions of students drop out every year before graduating from high school, and huge numbers who do graduate possess minimal skills.

In 1976 Arkansas’ governor was promoting education reforms in his state, including mandatory kindergarten. When asked if the state knows better than parents what is good for children, the governor’s response was yes it did. Then he attempted to take himself off the hook by adding, “Look, I can’t change this, it’s Hillary’s bill.” That was later president Bill Clinton.

While few state it quite that bluntly the tendency since Pennsylvania’s 1834 Common School Act has been for the state to continually expand its field of control of children which necessarily restricts control by parents. We’ve gone from Jefferson’s plan for three-years of basic schooling to one embracing young people for thirteen years. Now the drive is to push schooling further down the age ladder and to more schooling at the upper ages.

None of this is to deny the importance of education, especially in a child’s early formative years. But education and schooling are not synonymous terms and there is some indication that too much schooling, even when “successful,” may be harmful. To the degree this is true, the more schooling, the more harm.

The more time students spend in school the more they are with their peers. Urie Bronfenbrenner has cited research suggesting this is harmful. The more time children spend with their peers the more likely they are to adopt the standards of their age group, and have a negative view of themselves, their friends and their future. Compared with those who identify with their parents, peer-oriented children tend to be less responsible and to get in trouble more often.

School staff say problem kids tend to be so because of the family they are in. There is surely some truth here. But it may also be, however unintended or indirect, at least partially because of the schools they are in.

Are they problem kids, or kids with problems?

David W. Kirkpatrick is a Senior Education Fellow with the U.S. Freedom Foundation and The Buckeye Institute.

http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/print.php?id=1151

Parental Rights and Due Process

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, HIPAA Law, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm

PUBLISHED IN
THE JOURNAL OF LAW AND FAMILY STUDIES
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2 (1999), pp. 123– 150
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH SCHOOL OF LAW

Donald C. Hubin
Department of Philosophy
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
614-292-7914
hubin.1@osu.edu

Copyright © 1999 by Donald C. Hubin

ABSTRACT FOR “PARENTAL RIGHTS AND DUE PROCESS”

The U. S. Supreme Court regards parental rights as fundamental. Such a status should subject any legal procedure that directly and substantively interferes with the exercise of parental rights to strict scrutiny. On the contrary, though, despite their status as fundamental constitutional rights, parental rights are routinely suspended or revoked as a result of procedures that fail to meet even minimal standards of procedural and substantive due process. This routine and cavalier deprivation of parental rights takes place in the context of divorce where, during the pendency of litigation, one parent is routinely deprived of significant parental rights without any demonstration that a state interest exists— much less that there is a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved in any less restrictive way. In marked contrast to our current practice, treating parental rights as fundamental rights requires a presumption of joint legal and physical custody upon divorce and during the pendency of divorce litigation. The presumption may be overcome, but only by clear and convincing evidence that such an arrangement is harmful to the children.

Parental Rights and Due Process
DONALD C. HUBIN *

Forget, for a moment, the title of this paper. Imagine that it is titled, “Due Process and the Deprivation of Rights”. Now, consider an unspecified right, R, which is “a fundamental right protected by First, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments“. 1 Suppose that this right is regarded as “far more precious than property rights” 2 and that the Supreme Court characterizes R as an “essential” right 3 that protects a substantial interest that “undeniably warrants deference, and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection“. 4 Imagine that “it cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions” 5 and that, because of this, “there must be some compelling justification for state interference” 6 with R.

These aspects of the nature of R stipulated, imagine further that our legal system actively functions to suspend or deny this right literally tens of thousands of times a year— that this is done openly and under color of state law. Suppose that the suspension, and sometimes even the denial, of R is done on the basis of little or no evidence of any state interest whatsoever. Imagine that, in these cases of suspension or denial, there is no demonstration, and often no allegation, that R has been, or is likely to be, abused or that the retention of R by the individual in question would be harmful to the legitimate interests of any other person. Suppose, further, that even the temporary suspension of this right shifted the burden of proof onto the former right-holder to demonstrate that the suspension should not become a permanent denial.

If there were such a right and it were treated in such a cavalier way, what should our reaction be? Outrage? Indeed!

But is there a right that can be substituted for R and make all of the above suppositions true? Absolutely. But it is neither the right to property (and not simply because it cannot be more precious than itself) nor the right to liberty. Though there are often legal threats to these rights, on the whole they receive significant protection from the courts. There is only one right that has the importance described above and receives so little protection. It is the right of custody of our children— the cluster of rights labeled ‘parental rights’. 7

The above might strike one as flagrant hyperbole. Termination of parental rights is not done in the casual way I have described. 8 The state is required, a critic might point out, to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that a compelling state interest is at stake before termination of parental rights. 9. And so it is, sometimes. But there is a context in which parental rights are suspended with little or absolutely no evidence of the involvement of any state interest whatsoever. That context is divorce. While this context apparently affects our reaction to the casual procedures by which we suspend or terminate parental rights (else one would expect a hue and cry over this practice), it does not weaken the argument against such procedures. Divorce proceedings routinely involve unconscionable violations of minimal due process protections of fundamental rights and liberties. 10

I argue for this thesis below. I begin by discussing some features of parental rights and of the state interest in the custody of children. Next, I examine the sorts of due process considerations that have arisen in the context of termination of parental rights outside the divorce context. I then describe a procedure commonly used during divorce proceedings to determine custody during the period of the divorce litigation (pendente lite). The arrangements during the pendency of the litigation are extremely important because they establish a status quo which influences what it is reasonable to do with respect to parent/ child arrangements in the final divorce decree and, even more importantly, because of the direct effect they appear to have on the long-term parent child relationship. (A full explanation of the reasons for focusing on the procedures for determining temporary custody, as opposed to permanent custody, will be offered later.) In the penultimate section, I argue directly for the thesis that this procedure involves the temporary denial of fundamental rights without due process of law. Finally, I turn from the abstract discussion of the nature and basis of legal rights to discuss the real interests protected by these rights.

The issue of parental rights and due process is not sterile or pedantic; parental rights protect the vital interests of parents and children alike. Our cavalier legal treatment of them is inexcusable for the real human devastation it causes.

To read more, following this link: http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/parental_rights_and_due_process.htm

Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Lost Parents’ Perspective – Chapter 2 of 5

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 16, 2009 at 11:07 pm

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2

CHAPTER 2

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

A review of the literature concerning the development of parental alienation in families requires a review of the main theories surrounding the development of PAS. The main postulates include: (a) heightened levels of conflict, (b) divorce, (c) the contributions or influence of the legal system, and (d) a combination of various other factors that may contribute to the development of PAS.

HIGH CONFLICT SITUATIONS

As the dissolution of a marriage proceeds and court proceedings begin regarding the custody of the children, there is likely to be increasing conflict among the divorcing parents. It is believed that this conflict propels and heightens the occurrence of PAS. Family conflict may contribute to many difficulties that the individual family members encounter — such as problems in social development, emotional stability, and cognitive skills. These difficulties may instigate long-term consequences that may persist long after the finalization of the divorce (Kurdek, 1981).

Further, when the conflict occurring in a family (whether divorced or intact) is ongoing and heightened, the individual family members have been found to express feelings of lowered self-esteem, increased anxiety, and diminished self control (Slater & Haber, 1984). Particularly at risk are the children. There are reports that adolescents have a greater risk of developing adjustment problems whether the family goes through divorce or remains intact (Hoffman, 1971). Therefore, the level of family conflict is an important dimension which can alter the family structure and affects children’s well-being (Demo & Acock, 1988).

PAS is a syndrome that is usually associated with a heightened level of conflict. Further, the children in PAS families are present not only in the conflictual situation (in this case the denigration of one parent) but often contribute additional conflict to the situation. These conflicts tend to occur in conjunction with long custody proceedings. Johnston, Gonzalez, and Campbell (1987) examined the behaviour of children from separated and/or divorced families who were subjected to “entrenched” parental conflict regarding their custody. These researchers assessed 56 children between the ages of four and twelve during custody disputes and 2.5 years later.

The assessment consisted of three measures:

(1) parental conflict as measured by the Straus Conflict Tactics Scale;
(2) Clinical rating scales that were completed by each family’s counsellor; and
(3) the Achenbach Child Behaviour Checklist which measured the children’s adjustment on four scales: Depression, Withdrawn/Uncommunicative, Somatic Complaints, and Aggression, as well as overall problem behavior. Johnston and her colleagues (1987) found that at the time of the custody disputes, overall behavior problems and aggression could be predicted by (a) the extent to which children became involved in the custody dispute and (b) the occurrence and extent of role reversal between the child and parent.

Specifically, aggression between parents, both physical and verbal, was found to be a significant predictor of overall behavioural problems two years later. Moreover, involving the child in the custody dispute was a more important predictor of overall behaviour problems when it was the father who involved the child rather than the mother. If both parents involved the child in the disputes, then the child was more likely to have a tendency to display more withdrawn and uncommunicative behaviours two years after the dispute.

Finally, overall behavioural problems and depression were also predicted by the role reversal between father and child. These findings are related to the development of parental alienation in that PAS children who are exposed to heightened levels of conflict in combination with the denigration of one parent by the other.

As a means of coping with the heightened levels of stress, PAS children may copy the alienating parent’s behavior primarily by denigrating the lost parent. In doing so, they reduce some stress by believing that one parent is bad while the other is good. Subsequently, they focus on pleasing the alienating parent who is usually the custodial parent. Therefore, they ensure their survival in the alienating home by supporting the alienating parent’s beliefs. Children who do not adapt in this way may feel they run the risk of also being rejected by the alienating parent and losing that parent’s love.

DIVORCE

The effect of divorce itself on the family can be devastating. What was once decided amongst the parents is now decided by third parties like lawyers and judges (Girdner, 1985). Further, access to the children by each parent changes. Where before everyone lived together and parents and children had the freedom to interact whenever they wished, divorce dictates they must now abide by rules set by others.

The most common effect of divorce is that the child remains primarily with one parent while the other parent becomes a “visitor” who is only allowed to see the child on certain occasions. In theory, this “visitor” is allowed to have parental authority, that is to engage in the decision making process regarding the children (e.g., what school they should attend) (Turkat, 1994).

However, divorce often occurs because the parents can no longer make decisions together. Consequently, the visiting parent does not always have the visitation that he or she should have and may be unable to participate in the decision making process for important issues in their children’s lives. One time significant parents can become unwanted visitors for their children. The Children’s Rights Council in 1994 reported that an estimated six million children in the U.S. were victims of interfered visitation by their custodial parents.

Arditti (1992) found that as high as 50% of fathers (usually the non-custodial parents) reported that their visitation with their children had been interfered with by their ex-wives.

Further, as many as 40% of custodial mothers admitted denying their ex-husbands their right to visitation as a means of punishing them (Kressel, 1985). In PAS families, the interference with child visitation is but one of the symptoms, though the most important. It is believed that the goal of the alienating parent is to not only interfere in the lost parent’s visits, but to eliminate both the visits, and the visiting parent as well from the child’s life.

Gardner (1992) postulated that PAS is of a serious nature that may be provoked by a serious emotional issue, such as custody. Consequently, Cartwright (1993) noted that PAS may also be provoked by other serious and emotional issues such as property divisions or finances.

CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM

According to Gardner (1992), the legal system contributes to the occurrence of PAS. In his book, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals, Gardner devotes two chapters to the history of the legal system and its impact on the occurrence of PAS. He postulates that parental alienation began to occur when courts began replacing the “tender-years” presumption with that of the “best-interests-of-the-child” presumption. The “tender-years” presumption stipulates that certain psychological benefits exist for children who remain with the mother, therefore custody was usually awarded to the mother. In the 1970s the courts began to favour the “best-interests-of-the-child” presumption, a less sexist position. With this presumption, the courts attempted to award custody to the parent who the best custodian for the child regardless of the parent’s gender.

Gardner believes that this change in the legal system exacerbated mothers’ fears that they might lose custody of their children to the fathers. Moreover, for mothers to strengthen their cases they needed to denigrate the fathers, engendering the beginnings of PAS. Gardner supports this notion by reporting that in 90% of his PAS cases, it was the mother who was the alienating parent (Gardner, 1991, conference).

Further changes in the legal system during the 1970s and 1980s, according to Gardner, contributed to the occurrence of PAS. Specific was the adoption in many jurisdictions of the notion of joint custody. Ideally in joint custody, both parents are to contribute equally to the upbringing of the children instead of one parent being the custodian and the other the “visitor”.

For joint custody to be granted it must be established that both parents can communicate with each other and can participate in the upbringing of the child. However, when joint custody is granted, the parents are often placed back in the same situation that led them to seek a divorce initially: the inability to communicate and make decisions together. Although some couples can do so successfully, Gardner notes that this situation presents the opportunity for the children to be used as weapons in parental conflicts that may arise.

Gardner developed several other related notions concerning the development of PAS and the contributions of the legal system are simply a part of this influence on PAS development. Unfortunately, the only statistics that Gardner provided were those that demonstrated that mothers were usually the alienators without detailing the procedure by which he attained these results.

Cartwright (1993) noted that the involvement of lawyers and the prolonged involvement of the court contributes not only to the occurrence of PAS but also to the increase in the severity of PAS. Clawar and Rivlin (1991) conducted a twelve year study regarding the parental programming of children “to influence the outcome of disputes” which was commissioned by the American Bar Association Section of Family Law. They found that 80% of divorcing parents practiced parental programming to varying degrees and 20% of whom did so at least once a day.

Further, Rand (1997) postulated that many allegations of either sexual or physical abuse may be an alienating technique. These allegations are powerful factors in the courts’ decisions for custody and therefore an invaluable tool to the alienators. Cartwright noted that the court requires adequate time to assess each case in order to determine the best interests of the child. However, he cautioned that once identified as a PAS case, then the court needs to make speedy judgments in order to stop the alienation process immediately. Unfortunately, the usual procedure of court postponements and continuances permit the PAS process to continue.

Further, Goldwater (1991) had postulated that the longer the children are in the alienating custodial situation, the “further they will drift away from their non-custodial parent” (p.130). Cartwright also noted that forceful judgment is required to counter the force of alienation. Specifically, clear and forceful judgments are believed to deter possible alienating parents from even beginning the alienation process as they may immediately lose custody of their children.

This is only possible if the judge is aware of PAS as a syndrome and if it has been clearly identified in each case. A second consequence of a clear and forceful judgment against the alienating parent is that such judgements can stop existing alienating processes from continuing.

Support for the notion that the court can counter the occurrence of PAS has been found in a study conducted by Dunne and Hedrick (1994). These researchers are two of the very few who conducted research specifically on PAS. In a qualitative study they interviewed sixteen families who exhibited a specified set of characteristics that met Gardner’s (1992) criteria for PAS.

The findings suggested that various family characteristics, such as the degree of PAS severity, were not indicators of the degree or effect of alienation on the family. Further, they found that the only effective intervention to counter alienation was a court implemented custody change that resulted in the children being removed from the alienating home.

The various types of therapy demonstrated no improvement in any of the families that had undergone therapy; in two of these cases the alienation actually became worse. It appears that the legal system is the most effective mean of terminating the process of alienation, reflecting the strong influence exerted by the legal system on the occurrence of PAS.

Girdner (1985), in an ethnographic study, examined the structure of custody litigation and the strategies used by parents who were contesting the custody of their children. She immersed herself in the legal culture for eighteen months. By observing court proceedings regarding custody she examined the relationships between the legal and the familial processes within the context of those proceedings.

She found that the final custody arrangements were usually made with respect to the economic issues of the divorce. Specifically, her findings suggested that the factors which influenced custody agreements included: (a) the negotiating style of the attorneys involved; (b) the dynamics of bargaining in the legal system; and (c) at which stage of the emotional process of divorce in which the clients were.

COMBINED FACTORS

A number of factors influence the occurrence of PAS. The family unit does not function in isolation. Individual characteristics of family members may also play a role on the occurrence of PAS. A study conducted by Calabrese, Miller, and Dooley (1987) examined the characteristics of 49 parents and their children from two fourth grade classes.

These researchers assessed the parents’ alienation of their children using the Dean Alienation Scale that provides an overall measure of alienation through examining the following dimensions: Isolation, Powerlessness, and Normalesness. They also assessed the children’s school achievement by examining their percentiles, as well as the children’s attitudes toward school.

However, these researchers found that the best predictors of alienation was unrelated to the children’s academic attitudes or performance, but rather to the characteristics of the individuals involved. Specifically, they reported that high levels of alienation were found to be associated with unemployed, single mothers, whose child was female and the child had only a few perceived friends.

While these findings appear to support Gardner’s contention that the alienator is usually the mother, they provide little support for Gardner’s theory that the introduction of the “best-interests-of-the-child” presumption contributed to this phenomenon.

Lund (1995) examined factors that contributed to the development of parental alienation. She assessed families in terms of

(a) developmental factors in the child,
(b) parenting styles, and
(c) level of stress experienced by the child.

She postulated that contributing factors in the occurrence of PAS included the following:

(1) Separation difficulties that are developmentally inappropriate. Specifically, PAS could be related to the occurrence of pre-schooler’s separation problems that may normally occur but are heightened by the stress occurring within a separated home.
(2) The child exhibiting oppositional behaviour. With older children in adolescence and preadolescence the development of oppositional behaviour may be manifested as a rejection of the lost parent in a family with conflicts.
(3) The deterioration of the non-custodial parental skills. The alienated parent usually displays a distant, rigid, and sometimes authoritarian style of parenting, whereas the alienating parent is indulgent and clinging. The children can then more easily reject the harsher parent and defend the more indulgent one.
(4) Conflicts occurring during the divorce. According to Lund (1995), these may prompt the child to seek means of escaping the stress related to such conflict.

Therefore, the child may denigrate the lost parent as a justification of the alienating parent’s actions.

SUMMARY

Relatively few research studies have been conducted specifically on PAS. The literature examined in this section pertained primarily to several articles that described parental alienation, however the majority were not empirical studies. The literature suggests that several factors may contribute to the occurrence of PAS. The heightened levels of conflict that are often associated with the dissolution of a marriage have been shown to have several short- and long-term effects on family members (Demo & Acock, 1988; Hoffman, 1971; Kurdek 1981). Johnston et al., 1987 found that involving the children in the disputes tended to result in the children displaying behavioural problems (e.g., withdrawing and not communicating).

PAS is one area in which heightened levels of conflict are believed to play a large role in the lives of the family members. Therefore, it is postulated that the heightened conflict levels may be an important factor in the occurrence of PAS. Divorce is a difficult time for all family members. With divorce comes a stressful restructuring where one parent, who was once involved in the child’s life, may suddenly become an unwanted visitor (Turkat, 1994).

This is difficult for those involved and there are indicators that these visiting parents (usually the fathers) encounter difficulties with their visits. For instance, Arditi (1992) found that as many as 50% of fathers reported an interference in their visitation rights; similarly, Kressel (1985) found that 40% of mothers admitted to attempting to interfere in the father’s visitation. Some circumstance or factor that occurs in the process of divorce may result in the rejection of one parent by the other.

If this occurs, it is postulated that PAS may follow. The circumstances that lead to the rejection of a parent are as yet to be determined. There may be high levels of conflict or stress involved in the dissolution of the marriage and thus further research is necessary to examine the degree to which these factors are important in the occurrence of PAS.

With the initiation of a divorce, the legal proceedings involved may pertain not only to the divorce but to custody agreements as well. Most of the literature on PAS suggests that various aspects of the legal system have contributed to the occurrence of PAS (Gardner, 1992) and has even heightened the severity of PAS (Cartwright, 1993). Moreover, Dunne and Hedrick (1994) found that the legal system can play an important role in the termination of PAS.

Specifically, a court ordered change in custody was found to be the most effective intervention that resulted in the termination of PAS with time. As Calabrese et al., (1987), and Lund (1995) found, many factors from individual characteristics to stress on the children have been linked to the occurrence of alienation. The number of possible factors that instigate PAS are legion, therefore, there is a need to examine PAS qualitatively to gain better comprehension. A better understanding of how PAS occurs may be helpful in learning how to treat and perhaps prevent PAS.

Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Lost Parents’ Perspective – Chapter 1 of 5

In child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts in Educational Psychology
© 1998, Despina Vassiliou

ABSTRACT

This qualitative study examines alienated parents’ perceptions of their own experience of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). The participants were five fathers and one mother. The data were collected via semi-structured, open-ended interview questionnaires.

A qualitative analysis of the data was performed for each participant in an attempt to answer the following questions:
(1) Are there characteristics (e.g., number of children, number of marriages, etc.) common to alienated families?
(2) Are there common themes or issues among the conflicts between couples that contribute to marriage dissolution?
(3) From the lost parent’s perspective, are there commonalities in the underlying causes of the alienation?
(4) Are there common themes in the participants’ experience of the alienation process?
(5) Given the opportunity what are some things that the lost parents perceive they might do differently? The findings are discussed and the limitations of the present study are given.

CHAPTER 1

THE NATURE OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

Dr. Richard A. Gardner, a forensic and child psychiatrist, has conducted evaluations regarding the custody of children following divorce (Rand, 1997). Through his case work he observed that many divorcing families shared common characteristics which he labeled as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS was defined as a syndrome where one parent (usually the custodial parent) alienates the child or children from the other parent. PAS includes the alienating parent engaging the child in a series of conscious and subconscious techniques like brainwashing in an attempt to denigrate the other parent. Further, the child also contributes to the denigration of the allegedly hated parent (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992). The general pattern of characteristics PAS children display during and after the divorce have been described by Gardner (1992) as follows:

1. Campaign of denigration: PAS children denigrate the “lost” parent completely, particularly in the presence of the alienating parent. The children express a profuse hatred for the lost parent. Initially, the children may denigrate each parent in the presence of the other. Eventually they learn that the denigration of the non-custodial or alienated parent is beneficial within the custodial home (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992). Subsequently, the child rejects the lost parent completely.
2. The children’s unfounded rationalizations: The children base their denigration on rationalizations that are weak or frivolous, e.g. “she snores in her sleep”. Statements such as these are often made with a complete lack of ambivalence by the children. The alienating parent, as well, does not question such statements as the bases for denigration and further uses the children’s statements as evidence of the lost parent’s inadequacy (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
3. Dichotomization of the parents: The alienating parent is perceived by the child as encompassing only positive qualities and as such the children attempt to express themselves as “perfect little photocopies” (Goldwater, 1991 p. 126) of the alienating parent. On the other hand, the lost parent is believed to encompass only negative qualities. This negative attitude is generalized to events that the children and lost parent have shared. Even events that the children once enjoyed are now remembered as being forced, not enjoyed, or never even remembered (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
4. The independent thinker phenomenon: The children present the decision to reject the parent as their own. The alienating parent reinforces this contention by making such statements as “I can’t force her to see her dad, if she does not want to”. Further, the claim that the decision to reject the parent was the child’s own is made suspect by the child’s use of language and phrases that are developmentally inappropriate and indicative of the alienating parent’s influence (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
5. Automatic love of the alienating parent: the children automatically and reflexively support the alienating parent. This automatic love may be a consequence of the belief that the alienating parent is an ideal or perfect person or that the children perceive that parent as weak and in need of support and defending (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
6. Absence of guilt: The children do not express any feelings of guilt about the circumstances surrounding the relationship with the lost parent. There is a lack of gratitude for any gifts, favours, etc.. This lack of guilt cannot be attributed solely to cognitive immaturity but is related to the brainwashing done by the alienating parent (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
7. Borrowed scenarios: The children use language and expressions that are clearly not their own. The quality with which they express their beliefs appears to be coached and rehearsed, and the only source of the borrowed scenarios appears to be the alienating parent (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992). For instance, a five year old borrows the alienating mother’s words and say “Daddy’s new girlfriend is a whore!” (Cartwright, 1993, p. 207).
8. Generalization of animosity: The lost parent’s extended family is also included in the animosity. These individuals are also perceived as encompassing negative qualities or inappropriate actions since they are associated with the lost parent. For instance, any attempt by the extended family to counter the denigration of the lost parent is viewed by the children as an attack on their beliefs that they must defend (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).

Further, Cartwright, 1993 postulated that often allegations of abuse associated with PAS may be virtual. Virtual allegations refer to cases where the abuse is simply suggested in order to cast aspersions the lost parent’s character without the alienating parent having to fabricate real incidents of alleged abuse. For example, in one case, the mother hinted at an allegation of sexual abuse by accusing the father of renting a videotape containing pornography for the child. The mother reported in court that the child was disappointed with the movie because it was “suggestive, erotic, and pornographic”. The movie, a Hollywood comedy starring Chevy Chase, was chosen by the child at a family video store. The judge proceeded to interview the child extensively and, disagreeing with the mother, found that the child was not disappointed in the movie because it was pornographic but rather because it was not funny. Virtual allegations are subtle and, as a result, difficult to prove or disprove. Therefore, Cartwright, 1993 postulates that as lawyers and judges become more aware of PAS and become more skilled at detecting it, the incidence of virtual allegations will increase.

As in most disorders, the severity of PAS can range from mild to severe. As a result, Gardner (1991, conference) has described three levels in the continuum of severity of the syndrome as mild, moderate, and severe. Using these anchor points, Gardner (1992) described the characteristics of the alienating parent and the child.

In a Severe level of PAS, the alienating parent demonstrates paranoid thoughts that may be limited to the lost parent or may generalize to other circumstances. Prior to the divorce, however, the alienating parent may not have demonstrated any paranoia. Another characteristic includes the alienating parent’s obsession with preventing the lost parent from having or exercising any visitation rights. The alienating parent will use any means necessary to ensure this goal. Further, alienating parents project their own negative qualities onto the lost parents, reinforcing their own paranoia and portraying themselves as victims. As a result of this paranoia, alienating parents do not respond with appeals to logic or reason, or even to confrontations with reality. Those who do not support the alienating parents’ beliefs, whether they are mental health professionals, lawyers, etc., are believed either to be against them or to be paid by the lost parent. The children in severe cases of PAS share the alienating parent’s paranoia about the lost parent. They will refuse to visit the lost parent and often demonstrate panic and hostility that renders visits impossible. Further, if visitation does occur, once they are in the lost parent’s home they may run away, become paralyzed with fear, or become destructive to the extent that they must be removed from the home.

The Moderate level of PAS includes alienating parents who exhibit more rage than paranoid tendencies. They are able to make some distinction between a child’s preposterous allegations and those which may have some validity. However, as in severe cases, an alienating parent in a moderate case of PAS will also undertake a campaign of denigration against the lost parent and will tend to prevent the lost parent’s exercise of visitation rights. Prior to the divorce, the moderate alienating parent is more likely to have been a good child rearer. The children of moderate PAS tend to be less persistent with their campaigns of denigration, and are more likely to abandon them in the presence of the lost parents, especially after long periods of time. In this type of case campaigns of denigration by younger children in the presence of their lost parents can only be sustained with the help of older siblings who function as surrogate parents during visitation. The alienated children’s primary motives for maintaining campaigns of denigration are to maintain “healthy” psychological bonds with the alienating parents.

The Mild level of PAS, the parents have generally healthy psychological bonds with their children. They respond to logic and reason in that they recognize that the alienation of the non-custodial parent is not beneficial for the children. Therefore, the alienating parent will be willing to take a conciliatory approach towards the lost parent’s requests. Gardner (1992) also notes that mild cases of PAS require considerablyless therapy than the more severe cases. Further, the children may become healthier when the intervention simply requires the child to remain in the presence of the lost parent over time.

Cartwright (1993) noted that the time that is spent alienating the child may be an indicator of the degree to which the child is alienated; the longer the alienation, the more alienated the child. Further, the excessive alienation may “build up” or increase the risk of mental illness in the child. As a result, the sooner the children are removed from the alienating situation, the healthier it is for the lost parent and the PAS children. It is, therefore, important to gain a better understanding of parental alienation, its development, and its termination, because of the devastating consequences of PAS to the family members who experience it.

Operational Definitions

Alienator or Alienating Parent. The terms “alienator” and “alienating parent” are used to designate the parent who influences the child or children to turn against the other parent.

Lost or Hated or Absent Parent. The lost (and usually non-custodial) parent is the one who is the target of the alienator.

Conflict. This term signifies opposing ideas and beliefs that members of the family experience in the form of arguments that may or may not become violent.

Alienation: This term signifies any actions, whether physical or psychological, that lead to the negative perception of a parent. Specifically, the term alienation refers to tactics utilized in order to induce PAS.

http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vassil98.htm

Parental Alienation Syndrome And Alignment Of Children

In adoption abuse, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on May 16, 2009 at 1:00 am

by Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D.
CALIFORNIA PSYCHOLOGIST, March 1999, Vol. 32, No. 3, p 23ff

Prior to 1970, it was rare that parents disputed custody of their children. Beginning in the early 1970’s, parents began litigating over child custody as a result of changes in societal factors and custody laws. With this increase in litigation, Gardner (1987) observed and outlined a concept that he referred to as “Parental Alienation syndrome.” Currently, there is a significant dispute among experts whether parental alienation is a syndrome, as well as the causes and remedies of parental alienation. This brief article will describe some of the dynamics related to the alignment and alienation of children and provide some solutions for these children. For purposes of this article, I am accepting the premise that alienation exists and that the child is caught in a battle between the alienating parent and the alienated parent. There is little research on the effects of alienation on children, either the long-term impact on a child being alienated from a parent. the long-term impact of a change of custody to remedy alienation, or which qualities within the child might help to mitigate against the alienating behaviors of both parents.

What Is Parental Alienation?

While Gardner was the first to coin the phrase “Parental Alienation Syndrome.” Wallerstein and Kelly (1980) first wrote about a process which they termed “alignment with one parent.” In their break-through book, Surviving the Breakup, they wrote:

“A very important aspect of the response of the youngsters in this age group (ages nine to twelve) was the dramatic change in the relationship between parents and children. These young people were vulnerable to being swept up into the anger of one parent against the other. They were faithful and valuable battle allies in efforts to hurt the other parent. Not infrequently, they turned on the parent they had (previously) loved and been very close to prior to the marital separation.”

According to Gardner (1992), “The concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome includes much more than brainwashing. It includes not only conscious but subconscious and unconscious factors within the preferred parent that contribute to the parent’s influencing the child’s alienation. Furthermore, [and this is extremely important], it includes factors that arise within the child — independent of the parental contributions — that foster the development of this syndrome.”

He notes that the child becomes obsessed with hatred of the alienated parent. He also suggests that the hatred takes on a life of its own in which the child may justify the alienation as a result of minor altercations experienced in the relationship with the hated parent. Gardner differentiates between three categories of alienation: mild, moderate and severe. He acknowledges that there is a continuum along which these cases actually fall and he believes that fitting them into a single category is not easy. In general, it is the intensity of the reported alienation and the quality of the relationships between the child and each parent that differentiates families between mild, moderate and severe alienation.

Mild Cases Of Parental Alienation

In mild cases, there are subtle attempts at turning the child against the other parent and drawing the child in to the alienated parent’s view of the other parent. This may be both conscious and unconscious and usually the alienating parent is not aware of how this makes the child feel. However, the alienating parent is usually supportive of the child having a relationship with the other parent. For most children, the consequences of mild alienation is minimal and manifests itself with a slight increase in loyalty conflicts or anxiety, but no fundamental change in the child’s own view of the alienated parent.

Moderate Cases Of Parental Alienation

Moderately alienating parents are angry and often vengeful in their behavior toward the alienated parent. Feeling hurt, the alienating parent often expects the child to take sides and be loyal to him/her. Such parents may actively interfere with visitation arrangements, be derogatory of the other parent to the child and actively participate a process designed to limit or interfere with the child’s relationship with the alienated parent. These parents support the concept of a relationship between the child and the alienated parent but will at the same time consciously and unconsciously attempt to sabotage it. In moderate cases, the alienating parent will ignore court orders if he/she can get away with it.

Most of the children in these moderate cases are filled with conflict. They show many of the symptoms, including anxiety, splitting, insecurity, distortion, etc. They often express their own frustrated views about the alienated parent, some of which mirror the allegations made by the alienating parent and some of which are borne from their own relationship with the alienating parent. They tend to view the alienating parent as “the good parent and the alienated parent as “the bad parent.” Yet, they are able to integrate and discuss some good traits about the hated parent and some negative traits about the preferred parent. These children can enjoy a limited relationship with the alienated parent.

Severe Cases Of Parental Alienation

In severely alienated families, there is a clear, consistent derogation of the alienated parent by the alienating parent and by the child which includes programming, brainwashing and hostility. These behaviors and feelings begin with the alienating parent and are taken on by the child. In most instances, the child and alienated parent had previously had a positive and relatively healthy relationship, although the alienating parent can neither admit nor perceive this. Often, the alienating parent feels a tremendous bitterness and anger at the other parent, usually related to feelings of abandonment and betrayal. These families are quite intractable and may be difficult to evaluate when there are simultaneous abuse allegations. The alienated parent is outraged at the change in the child and generally blames the other parent.

Behavioral Manifestations In Parents And Children

The Alienating Parent

Most alienating behavior will fall into categories that include one or more of the following.

1. Unbalanced accounts of behaviors – Talking in extremes and absolutes
2. Merging of feelings between alienating parent and children, e.g. “We do not like the Tuesday night dinner visit”
3. Denial of the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, as if he/she has no right to it any more
4. Behaviors which directly and/or indirectly thwart the relationship between the child and the other parent
5. Intrusive behaviors such as frequent phone calls (e.g. 2 – 3 times per day or more) into the other parent’s home during visits
6. Encouraging the children to act as spies during visits
7. Informing children about adult issues, such as child support, reasons for the divorce, etc.
8. Forcing the children to be messengers of communications
9. Derogatory and blaming statements about the other parent
10. Tribal warfare in which other family members or family friends get brought into the battle between the parents

It is critical to understand the rationale for those behaviors and what causes them. It could be that the alienating behaviors are the direct result of either actual or perceived shortcomings in the alienated parent. This will affect the recommendations. For example, if real problems in the alienated parent are found, recommendations to correct these problems will be made to the alienated parent. However, if the alienating parent is acting on the basis of perceived problems, it will be important to recommend interventions that encourage the alienating parent to alter his/her perceptions and recognize the many ways that the alienation is negatively affecting the children.

The Alienated Parent

For the alienated parent, there is a potentially different set of dynamics to explore. Alienated parents tend to fall into two groups. There is a group of parents who previously had a healthy relationship with the child prior to the separation, but who is now being shutout of the child’s life. These parents are truly being alienated from the child by the behavior of the alienating parent. The second group of alienated parents are those who claim that alienation is the significant source of the problems with their children, but who tend to be fairly defensive, avoidant of relationships, externalize blame and have a very difficult time seeing his/her own role in problems with the children. Such parents are often very controlling and powerful and are used to having things their own way in their relationships. After separation, they expect their relationship with the children to be as they want it to be. These parents are often less child centered and have less empathy than others. When the relationship does not work out the way they want, they are quick to blame the other parent for alienating the children and for creating problems with their children.

Alienated Parents Who Previously Had A Healthy Relationship With Their Child

Parents in this category seem to be truly alienated against. They may be insightful, able to reflect on a wide variety of possibilities for their children’s behavior and are willing to look to themselves as a source of some problems. Typically, these parents have had a history in which they were close to their children and actively participated in their children’s lives and activities. These parents can have a nurturing quality, though there may be a tendency toward some passivity and difficulty dealing with overwhelming emotions. These dynamics provide a fertile atmosphere for the alienation to flourish.

In these families, the alienating parent is typically extreme and emotionally over-reactive and the alienated parent is usually more passive, nurturing and sensitive. The alienated parent is often overwhelmed and does not know what to do when faced with the alienating parent’s behaviors. Rather than confront the alienating parent or reality to the child, these alienated parents have a tendency to detach. This detachment reinforces the alienating parent’s vengeful behaviors. These parents may exhibit sensitivity to the children, nurturing behavior, passivity, insight and a tendency to be overwhelmed with intense emotions.

Alienated Parents Who Previously Had A Poor Relationship With Their Child

Many of these parents have had very little to do with their children prior to the separation and divorce. They may have been workaholics who came home late at night. They may have been fairly self-centered individuals who were more involved in their own activities than the activities of their children. Many of these parents may be quickly involved in a new relationship and are insensitive to the feelings of their children about this new relationship. Rather than recognize that their children may have their own feelings about their new partner. they are quick to blame the other parent for the children’s feelings. Blame is common for these parents.

In exploring the history of the relationship between these parents and their children, we often find that there is a general absence of a quality relationship in the formative years of development. There is a superficiality to the relationship caused by years of neglect or a history in which the other parent was truly the “primary parent’ in the marital relationship. These parents may show up for the “Kodak moments,” but do so in more self-centered way. often for their own enjoyment and interest rather than to participate with their children. These parents may report active involvement in activities such as coaching the children’s sports. yet, upon further exploration. the child often felt pushed into these activities and distant from their parent-coach. Often these parents are not even that interested in the child after the divorce. They claim alienation primarily as a way of continuing the control and blame that they exhibited during the marriage. For these parents who are claiming alienation, but are more likely to be the cause of the rift with their children, we look for indicators like defensiveness, control, externalization of blame, self-centeredness and superficiality.

The Children

The relationships between parent and child are fragile in these families, even if they were positive prior to the separation. When children are brought into the tug of war between the parents, they have a diminished ability to maintain healthy boundaries and relationships. Ultimately, this dynamic causes the alienating parent to reject anyone who perceives things in a way that the alienating parent does not like. In most instances, the family is so heavily invested in the alienating efforts that the root causes may be difficult to understand.

The effect of this alienation is dramatic on children. They suggest that children are most susceptible to alienation when they are passive and dependent and feel a strong need to psychologically care for the alienating parent. In both the child and alienating parent, there is a sense of moral outrage at the alienated parent and there is typically a fusion of feelings between the alienating parent and child such that they talk about the alienated parents as having hurt “us.” The general view is that children in such families are likely to develop a variety of pathological symptoms. These include, but are not limited to:

1. splittings in their relationships
2. difficulties in forming intimate relationships
3. a lack of ability to tolerate anger or hostility with other relationships
4. psychosomatic symptoms, sleep or eating disorders
5. psychological vulnerability and dependency
6. conflicts with authority figures
7. an unhealthy sense of entitlement for one’s rage that leads to social alienation in general

Some children tell very moving stories of how they have not liked or have been fearful of the alienated parent for a long time. They can give specific details of abuse, angry behavior. etc. prior to separation. These children often feel relieved when their parents divorce because they are now free of those problems. The differential understanding will come from the child’s clear account of inappropriate behavior, detachment in the relationship and a convincing sense of real problems (as opposed to the moral indignation of the alienated child).

When we listen to these children in those cases where the child is detached from the alienated parent. there is little evidence that these children are put in the middle by the alienating parent. Rather, there is a sadness to these children who wish (or may have wished in the past) for a different quality to the relationship with the alienated parent. For many of these children, they have observed significant spousal abuse during the marriage or have observed one parent being controlling and hostile to the other parent. It is the sadness and ambivalence about the lack of a relationship that is one of the key differential indicators that these children, while certainly aligned with one parent, are not being alienated.

Other Reasons For Alignment With One Parent

There are two other dynamics that are important to look for in these children. First, many children seem to be aligned with one parent primarily because of shared interests or a goodness of fit in the personality dynamics with one parent. There is a natural affinity between an active, sports-oriented child and his/her active, sports-oriented parent. Other children may have a stronger affinity with the parent who has effectively been the primary and a concomitant need to be with that parent. These dynamics have nothing to do with alienation but are related to the quality of the child’s relationships with each parent. Unlike the alienated children, however, these children want to spend time with the other parent. though on a more limited basis. The evaluator will note that the child’s reasoning is related to these interests or the quality of the relationship rather than imagined problems in the relationship with the alienated parent.

Second, conflict takes an emotional toll on children. As the level of conflict between parents increases and as children are caught in the middle of these conflicts, the child’s level of anxiety and vulnerability increases. For many of these children, an alignment with a parent helps take them out of the middle and reduces their anxiety and vulnerability. When pressed, these children will prefer a relationship with both parents and show no real history of any significant problems with either parent. By making a choice to be primarily with one parent, these children are making a statement that they need to be free of the conflict. For some, it may not even matter of which parent they live with, as long as they are removed from the conflict.

In fact, when the child’s anxiety is driving the split, the intensity and severity of the child’s feelings may be greater than the intensity of the alienating parent’s behaviors. Unlike children who are alienated primarily because of the alienating parent. or children who are aligned because of a rift in the relationship with the alienated parent. these anxious and vulnerable children are experiencing alignment as a direct result of the conflict and behaviors of both parents.

Recommendations For These Families

Within those families labeled moderate to severe, there is wide disagreement about possible solutions. Gardner touched off this debate by suggesting that the best solution is a change of custody from the alienating parent to the alienated parent, with an initial cut-off of all contact between the alienating parent and child. In a variety of court cases in which there were allegations of sexual abuse, he has testified that the sexual abuse allegation was a form of parental alienation and that a change of custody was clearly in order. Turkat supported Gardner’s position and recommended this change of custody in cases of severe parental alienation.

Gardner’s remedy has led to a number of articles written by attorneys (Isman [1996]. Mauzerall, Young, and Alsaker-Burke [1997] and Wood [1994]) who dispute Gardner’s view. They perceive his recommendation as extreme and dangerous. They question the existence of Parental Alienation Syndrome, suggesting that it does not meet any objective standard in the mental health community. They believe that changing custody on the basis of a syndrome that does not exist is potentially damaging to children.

Others (Ward and Campbell [1993], Johnston [1993]. Johnston and Roseby [1997], Waldron and Joanis [1996], Kelly [1997] and Garrity and Baris [1994]) prefer a more cautious approach to these severely alienated families. They feel that caution is indicated in order to balance the risk of harm to the child from being cut off from one parent (i.e. the alienated parent) or harm as a result of cutting the child off from the other parent (i.e. the alienating parent). One solution does not fit all families because children and their parents are quite different.

Cautious recommendations are likely to include many of the following:

1. A court order that recognizes the value of on-going contact between the child and the alienated parent and establishes structure around that contact
2. A mental health professional working with the child and/or family to therapeutically support the contact
3. The use of a case manager, Special Master, guardian ad litem, or parenting coordinator who would monitor the cooperation with the order and have the authority to enforce compliance or report to the court quickly when one parent is out of compliance
4. Avoid changing custody as a corrective tool; there may be times when a change of custody is indicated, but it will be because there is a different problem than alienation
5. Attempt to engage the alienating parent in therapy that is understanding and supportive while simultaneously providing a clear and consistent message that the alienation process is harmful to the child. If the alienating parent is currently in therapy with someone who supports the position of the alienating parent (i.e. contact between the child and the alienated parent should be nonexistent), it may be necessary for the court to order a change of therapists for the alienating parent unless that therapist can understand the dynamics and become part of the treatment team
6. In the most extreme examples, in which nothing seems to be working and the child appears to be at significant risk, it may be necessary to help the alienated parent therapeutically disengage from the child until such time that the child can more adequately re-establish the relationship. From the perspective of the child, this may actually be a less-damaging recommendation than a change of custody

If we understand that alienation is caused by splitting within the family. it is critical that those who try to work with the family (the attorneys, the judges and the mental health professionals) are in agreement in their approach to the family. If we recognize that alienated family systems are emotionally powerful. it is easy to see how the professionals involved can become split amongst themselves. In more extremely alienated families, the case manager will watch that the professionals do not succumb to the family’s splitting, inadvertently escalating the split.

Parentectomies: Do They Help?

As indicated earlier, perhaps the most controversial element of all the alienation literature has been stimulated by Dr. Gardner’s recommendation for a swift change of custody in those families identified as exhibiting severe parental alienation. There may also be a severe limitation on the child’s contact with the alienating parent, at least for the first few months after the change of custody. While there are certainly times when an evaluator might recommend a change of custody from one parent to the other, doing so solely on the basis of a finding of severe parental alienation may not be in the child’s best interest. When a child has a strong attachment, even if it is an unhealthy one, to the alienating parent, it can be emotionally damaging to the child if the relationship is abruptly terminated.

It is important to remember that children in these families are often in an enmeshed relationship with the alienating parent and often feel a strong need to protect that parent. They may be in a hostile-dependent relationship with the alienating parent. An abrupt change in custody may cause significant problems for the child. We must be careful that the proposed solution to alienation does not cause more problems for the child than did the alienation. I have never seen a change of custody by itself lead to a reduction in conflict and improvement in the situation for the child. While it may temporarily help the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, it often comes at an exorbitant price for the child.

Even with case manager and therapeutic support, many of these children continue to long for a relationship with the alienating parent. Sometimes these dynamics will resurface several years later. Rather than a complete change of custody, I believe that a more balanced time-share in which the child has time to be with each parent for a relatively equal period of time in larger chunks (such as two-week blocks or most of the summer) may be more beneficial to the child. Even when this is difficult to achieve, I would always consider the impact to the child of the change of custody and whether this solution will be worse than the alienation that is occurring.

For some families, it will be impossible to help the alienated parent ever have a viable relationship with the child, in spite of the best therapeutic and structural efforts. Some courts are taking to punishing children, placing them in juvenile halls and psychiatric hospitals because they do not see a parent. I do not agree with this approach. I believe that these children should be in therapy, with part of the therapeutic work centered on the alienated parent withdrawing from the child’s life. It is important to do this carefully so that the child does not feel abandoned by the alienated parent. The alienated parent needs to be taught to say the following to the child (in his/her own words, but with the overall intent completely clear):

“I know how hard it is for you when you feel pain. I know that you and I do not see things the same way and maybe we never will. I am sorry for whatever I have done to cause you to feel pain and I know that our divorce has been terrible for you. I love you and do not want you to be in the middle of the war between your (mom/dad) and me. I know it is terrible for you and rather than have you continue to experience that pain, I am going to withdraw for a while.”

“I want you to remember three things. First, I do love you and want what is best for you. Second, I will always be there for you if you need anything. Third, if you ever change your mind and want to rebuild our relationship, nothing could make me happier. I am only withdrawing for now to help you feel less pain and take you out of the middle of our war. I will keep in contact with you every few months or so. I will keep sending you birthday and Christmas cards. I hope you get them and I hope you will write back. I will always make sure you know where I am and how to reach me if I move. More than anything, I want you to have peace in your life and some day, I hope I can be a part of it. I love you and I always will.”

While this is a painful thing for an alienated parent to do, sometimes it is the only viable solution for an intractable situation. I would certainly encourage such a child to remain in therapy, at least periodically, to explore how the situation is working out. I would also encourage the parent to continue sending the cards, inviting a reunification with the child. At the present time, there is no research on these children and families to know if this actually helps but anecdotal evidence for some children suggests that it might.

This article and articles published in the December issue of this publication by Drs. Schuman and Stahl were condensed from Chapter 1 in Complex Issues in Child Custody Evaluations by Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D., (Copyright Sage, Forthcoming)

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/stahl99.htm