Ugly divorce cases become worse when parents pit children against the other parent.
It's a problem termed "Parental Alienation Syndrome," or PAS, and just this year the American Bar Association spoke out against it.
News Channel 11 spoke with a Tri-Cities family who says PAS placed their children in a dangerous situation.
It was a sunny mother's day out by the pool. Life is good now, but Johnson City resident Jeni Hasch says it hasn't always been like this. "In December, I was going to go to jail and the kids were going to foster care," Hasch told Channel 11.
She says her ex-husband is abusive and they were in the midst of a custody battle for their four children. Hasch says her ex claimed that she turned the kids against him.
The judge told her to pack her toothbrush, but her children wouldn't have that. They agreed to see their father.
"The kids said they would visit, but all of them together, and he refused. He lost his temper in court—kind of stalked me out of the courtroom. I had to be escorted by the guard, and that's how it ended, so that's kind of a miracle for us," Hasch said.
He no longer visits, but he's still around.
Sarah,16, says she walks on eggshells. "Anytime I see a car that looks like his, it's always just kind of like your heart skips a beat. It's just knowing that he's around and can show up at any time... it's scary."
Telling their story is a risk this family is willing to take to get the word out about PAS.
"Just because we were kids doesn't mean that we have to live in an abusive situation just because our dad has rights to see us," Sarah said.
The teenager said it’s stressful being a child dealing with an adult situation. "Knowing that you could be separated from your siblings is completely terrifying because it's like the four of us together. That's been the one constant in our lives," Sarah said.
Hasch told News Channel 11 the 2006 Judges' Manuel reads that Parental Alienation Syndrome cannot be introduced in court when it’s a proven cases of domestic abuse.