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Published Summer 2009 by NY State Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence Newsletter

Parental Alienation: A Rational Approach

by Joan Meier

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 would follow these steps:

1.  Assess abuse first

2.  Require evaluators to have genuine expertise in both child abuse and domestic violence.

3.  Once abuse is found, do not consider alienation claims by the abuser.

4. Do not base any finding of alienation on unconfirmed abuse allegations or protective measures taken by the preferred parent.

5. Evaluate alienation claims only if:

i) actual abuse has been ruled out.

ii) the child is actually unreasonably hostile to the other parent and resistant to visits, and

iii) there is active alienating behavior by the "aligned" parent.

6.  A finding of alienation should require at minimum that the parent consciously intends the alienation and specific behaviors can be identified.

7.  Limit remedies for confirmed alienation to healing the child's relationship with the estranged parent.   

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Child Abuse, Custody and Abuse, Domestic Violence, Parental Alienation, PAS

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