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Parental Alienation Syndrome: There Ought to Be a Law

Posted on in Child Custody

Texas complex custody litigation, Texas child custody lawyer, Texas high-asset divorce attorney, In Ireland, a parent advocacy group wants to make parental alienation syndrome (PAS) a criminal offense. PAS is quite often a part of Central Texas complex child custody issues, to one extent or another.

The Parental Alienation Awareness Association defines PAS as a child's unjustified rejection of a previously-loved parent or caregiver, at the urging of another parent or caregiver. Although PAS is not recognized by the World Health Organization or American Psychiatric Association, family therapists have dealt with the condition since at least the 1950s. In most situations, an emotionally-needy parent offers the child warmth and extremely involved care in exchange for allegiance. The group cautioned that PAS is not the same thing as realistic estrangement, or a refusal of affection based on past abuse or neglect.

Divorce has only been legal in Ireland since 1995, so judges, barristers, and other legal professionals are just now coming to terms with the intricacies of high-conflict family law disputes.

Recognizing PAS

Aggressive PAS is instantly recognizable and prohibited by most standard court orders. Most judges forbid parties from making disparaging remarks about other adults in the case to the children, or making such remarks within earshot of the children.

However, indirect forms of PAS are not as clearly visible, and so their harmful effect is not as widely understood. Dad might allow the children to have a later bedtime or extended curfew, or Mom may arrange for a child to have his or her own bedroom or be more lax about household chore duties.

Dealing with PAS

Most judges take a dim view of aggressive PAS, because in addition to a flagrant violation of a clear judicial directive, aggressive PAS indicates an unwillingness to co-parent. So, in addition to a possible contempt penalty, many judges and jurors take the offending parents' behavior into account at trial.

Indirect PAS is more difficult, though not impossible, to deal with. Although children are emotionally immature and therefore easily preyed upon, children are also smart. They simply need to understand that there are "strings attached" to that later bedtime or extended curfew. A qualified family therapist who is experienced with PAS will have additional insight into specific situations.

PAS affects most child custody disputes in Travis County, especially if a high-asset divorce is involved as well. If you are dealing with PAS or other custody issues, contact an aggressive Leander divorce attorney. Call the Law Offices of William D. Powers at 512-610-6199 today.

Sources:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/parental-alienation-should-be-criminal-offence-says-group-1.2335436

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