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Dealing with Parental Alienation Syndrome

Posted on in Child Custody

Texas high asset divorce lawyer, Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas complex child custody lawyer, In a development that placed the spotlight back on parental alienation syndrome in complex child custody cases, two missing teenage siblings were recently reunited with their divorced father whom they claimed was physically abusive.

The saga began when a Minnesota court granted the girls' father sole custody in a divorce proceeding. Shortly thereafter, the 16- and 17-year-old girls ran away from home and were sheltered by a woman who is a vocal supporter of the "Protective Parent" movement. Members of this group shelter children who claim to be fleeing from abusive parents when a court has ordered them to remain in the home. The girls' mother, who accused her husband of physical abuse and whom authorities suspect of aiding in her daughters' disappearance, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony interference with child custody and one count of involvement in a kidnapping.

A court-appointed psychologist concluded that the mother had brainwashed her daughters; the father has consistently denied any abuse.

Parental Alienation Syndrome

This controversial condition is not recognized by some professional psychiatric organizations, but it is routinely diagnosed in complex child custody cases. Allegations of abuse and neglect are rather common in these instances; these allegations may range from things like failing to enforce an early bedtime (which can cause fatigue and difficulty focusing during the day) to outbursts of physical violence.

Perhaps the reason for the lack of recognition is that many professionals in the psychiatric community tend to take children at their word, while professionals who routinely deal with child custody cases know that it is simply not possible to take all children at their word in all circumstances. Attorneys and social workers are very attune to the subtle signs of PAS that other people may miss. These telltale indicators include:

  • Telling the children "everything" about the divorce in an attempt to discredit the other parent;
  • Assuming that a person who has showed any abusive tendencies at any time is abusive towards the children;
  • "Rescuing" the children when they are not in danger;
  • Refusing to be flexible about visitation arrangements; and
  • Eavesdropping on telephone conversations.

If you suspect that PAS may be an issue in your divorce, reach out to an experienced Georgetown family law attorney. Mr. Powers is a Board Certified expert in Family Law.

Sources:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2015/1119/Missing-sisters-found-safe-two-years-after-disappearing-mid-custody-dispute

http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/walsh99.htm

The Law Offices of William D. Powers

8911 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Building 2, Suite 2105, Austin, TX 78759