Parental Alienation

  • Information and Analysis

    The Truth About Parental Alienation

    February 23, 2007

    Proponents of Parental Alienation portray parental alienation as a destructive family dynamic, usually manifesting during custody battles, in which one parent purportedly turns the child’s sentiments against the other parent. Failure to recognize and correct this dynamic by ensuring that the child has a relationship with both parents, they claim, will cause great harm to the child. Indeed, nothing can be further from the truth. Parental Alienation is a discredited, pseudo-psychological theory whose application in custody determinations has caused great harm to children.  More

  • Publication

    Parental Alienation: A Rational Approach

    NY State Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence Newsletter, June 1, 2009

    The fact that divorcing parents often badmouth each other to the children can not justify the damage done to abused and endangered children by PAS and PA accusations. A more rational and fair approach to the claim of PA is presented.  More

  • Press Release

    Legal Community Rejects Parental Alienation Syndrome

    The Leadership Council On Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, July 12, 2006

    Two recent high profile legal publications have rejected “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS), a controversial label often used to discredit allegations of child abuse or domestic violence in family courts. According to PAS theory, children's disclosures of abuse by one parent are reinterpreted as evidence of “brainwashing” by the other parent. The solution proposed by PAS theory is to immediately award custody to the alleged child abuser.   More

  • News Article

    The Evidentiary Admissibility of Parental Alienation

    American Bar Association's Children's Legal Rights Journal, April 1, 2006

    Since 1985, in jurisdictions all over the United States, fathers have been awarded sole custody of their children based on claims that mothers alienated these children due to a pathological medical syndrome called Parental Alienation Syndrome ("PAS"). Given that some such cases have involved stark outcomes, including murder and suicide, PAS' admissibility in U.S. courts deserves scrutiny. This article presents the first comprehensive analysis of the science, law, and policy issues involved in PAS' evidentiary admissibility. The author analyzes every precedent-bearing decision and law review article referencing PAS in the past twenty years, finding that precedent holds PAS inadmissible and the majority of legal scholarship views it negatively.  More

  • News Article

    Quotes By Richard Gardner

    Richard A. Gardner, M.D., is the creator of the creator and main proponent for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) theory. Prior to his suicide, Gardner was an unpaid part-time clinical professor of child psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University . He made his money mainly as a forensic expert. PAS was developed by Dr Richard Gardner in 1985 based on his personal observation, not on scientific study, and on his work as an expert witness, often on behalf of fathers accused of molesting their children. Gardner 's theory of PAS has had a profound effect on how the court systems in our country handle allegations of child sexual abuse, especially during divorce. Because Gardner 's PAS theory is based on his clinical observations--not scientific data--it must be understood in the context of his extreme views concerning women, pedophilia and child sexual abuse.  More

  • News Article

    Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting It Wrong In Child Custody Disputes

    Family Law Quarterly , March 15, 2001

    As American courts and legislatures continue their enthusiastic ventures into family law reform, they make frequent use of theories and research from the social sciences. This essay focuses on developments in child custody law stemming from Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a theory propounded in 1985 that became widely used despite its lack of scientific foundations. The discussion highlights theoretical and practical problems with PAS, provides a similar discussion of more recent proposals labeled Parental Alienation (PA), and concludes with recommendations for lawyers and judges who must evaluate these and similar developments.  More

  • News Article

    Lesson from Alec Baldwin: Alienation Begins With You

    Minnesota Monitor, April 30, 2007

    There are parents who try to turn their kids to their side, and there is a case to be made that men are undervalued as parents, just as women are undervalued in the work force. But it's never the poor schlubs who care for their kids who end up screaming about parental alienation. It's generally the narcissistic abusers, the men who are enraged not that their exes are working against them, but that their exes dared to leave in the first place.   More

  • News Article

    National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Rejects PAS

    September 11, 2006

    The theory positing the existence of "PAS" has been discredited by the scientific community and hence fails to meet Daubert and Frye standards and should be ruled inadmissible. Quite apart from its scientific invalidity, PAS inappropriately asks the court to assume that the children's behaviors and attitudes toward the parent who claims to be "alienated" have no grounding in reality. It also diverts attention away from the behaviors of the abusive parent, who may have directly influenced the children's responses by acting in violent, disrespectful, intimidating, humiliating and/or discrediting ways toward the children themselves, or the children's other parent.  More

  • News Article

    Parental Alienation Syndrome - What Professionals Need To Know Part 1

    National Center For Prosecution of Child Abuse, American Prosecu, November 1, 2003

    Although PAS may be hailed as a “syndrome” (a group of symptoms that occur together and constitute a recognizable abnormality), in fact it is the product of anecdotal evidence gathered from Dr. Gardner’s own practice.4 The purpose of this article is to briefly discuss the major premises upon which PAS is based, and to identify key weaknesses.   More

  • Newsletter

    Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation

    New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bulletin

    A mother who raises the issue of domestic violence or child sexual abuse during child custody litigation may find herself accused of parental alienation syndrome or parental alienation. These accusations often lead family courts to focus on the mother’s motives and unwillingness to co-parent, discount what she says about abuse, and, all too often, order the children into custody or unsupervised visitation with their abusive father.  More

  • Publication : Master's Thesis

    Disciplining Divorcing Parents: The Social Construction of Parental Alienation Syndrome

    Department of Sociology, Queen's University, September 1, 2008

    This thesis explores the development of the concepts of “parental alienation syndrome” and “false allegations” in the context of custody and access, as ‘social problems’. It analyzes the course of these concepts through an historical account of Canada’s divorce arena and recent changes to custody and access law, analyzing the reasoning and motives of the major claimsmakers: the Fathers’ Right Movement, medical experts, the legal arena and the counter-claims of Feminist activists. It examines the role of the supervised access facilitator in the construction of the concepts as ‘social problems’. The theories of psychiatrist Richard Gardner are examined in particular, due to their pivotal role in the advancement of the claimsmakers’ goals. Finally, empirical studies are reviewed and analyzed, demonstrating how the concepts of “parental alienation syndrome” and “false allegations” have mutated and permeated the domain of divorce and access in Western society.  More

  • Presentation

    Parental Alienation Syndrome in Family Courts

    Presented at the Child Sexual Abuse: Justice Response or Alternative Resolution Conference, May 1, 2003

    The question of allegations of sexual abuse in Family Law cases is a complex issue. It is becoming increasingly common to see Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) invoked as an explanation for such allegations, with the implication that the allegations are false. This presentation will review some of the literature on both issues - false allegations and PAS – in the context of Family Law disputes. It will examine the concept of PAS and will suggest that it has neither validity nor utility.
      More

  • Presentation

    Parental Alienation Syndrome Revisited

    Presented at the Child Sexual Abuse: Justice Response or Alternative Resolution Conference , May 1, 2003

    In family courts, the ramifications of recognising abuse as a reason for supervising or aborting contact have led to laws which are ambiguous, expert opinions which are not based in science and outcries from parents of both sexes about the unfairness of the system. The concept of alienation has gained ascendancy in family courts around the world particularly over the last five years. While most professionals familiar with the courts’ workings recognise that children can and do side with one or other parent, especially in the early stages of separation, little was done to research this. Indeed most of the papers written address Parent Alienation Syndrome, not parent alienation, and distinguished researchers in the field have only just turned their attention to the problem.  More

  • Publication

    Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Paradigm For Child Abuse In Austrailian Family Law

    Paper presented at Child Sexual Abuse: Justice Response or Alternative Resolution Conference, Australian Inst. of Criminology, May 1, 2003

    This paper argues that the absence of a publicly funded investigative capacity in the Family Court of Australia when there are allegations of child abuse by a parent, creates the conditions for the de facto operating presumption of the Parental Alienation Syndrome paradigm in the courts. This paradigm, at its simplest, insists that claims of serious child abuse are invented and that children’s statements and manifestations of fear are the outcome of parental coaching. Without a publicly funded professional child protection investigative service available to inform the family court, the private adversarial system of family law commonly fails to substantiate allegations of child abuse, thereby systematically producing the outcome that child abuse allegations will be deemed to be false. Safety for children in family law proceedings who are subject to abuse depends on access to a professional investigative service to inform the court, and a redefinition of a child’s best interests in the Family Law Act to give safety the highest value.  More

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    Parental Alienation: A Rational Approach

    NY State Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence Newsletter, June 1, 2009

    The fact that divorcing parents often badmouth each other to the children can not justify the damage done to abused and endangered children by PAS and PA accusations. A more rational and fair approach to the claim of PA is presented.  More

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