WILLIAM KIRKENDALE, PRESIDENT
THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME FOUNDATION OF AMERICA
INTRODUCTION: A Parent living everyday with a PAS tragedy.....PAS and September 11th
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Kirkendale
1. What is PAS and how does it affect your child?
2. What are the most easily recognizable symptoms of PAS in your child?
3. Seeing these symptoms in an actual case example.
4. A closer look at these symptoms in more detail.
5. Other tell tale signs of the PAS in your child
1.Why PAS alienating parents act and behave the way they do
2. Thirty (30) Common Techniques used by PAS alienating parents against a target parent to foster PAS abuse in their children
3. What to expect from other people when your child or children have been emotionally abused by PAS
4. Why a target parent is no match for an alienating parent? The Big Lie Theory & the story of Three Blind Mice
5. A list of DO’s & DON’Ts when confronted with PAS abuse in your child or children
6. The art of PAS brainwashing. How PAS is cleverly programmed into a child’s mind by alienating parents to carry out their emotional abuse of their children
BEWARE OF YOUR FAMILY COURT SYSTEM IN PAS CHILD ABUSE CASES
What a GOOD AND CARING Judge should be like in the Family Court - A Fable- “Who should be our Ministers of Trust in these PAS child abuse cases”?
What a GOOD and CARING California Family Court Judge says about PAS child abuse. What another GOOD and CARING Judge says about how he handles things in his court to avoid PAS cases.
The terrible cost to you of not having a GOOD and CARING Judge in your PAS case.
How you can spot a GOOD Judge and a BAD Judge....Using your own Family Court Judge Questionnaire to avoid having a BAD Judge in your PAS case
What if you have a BAD judge in your PAS case? How will you and your children be treated by the Court? How much abuse by the system will you and your children have to endure?
What are some of the REFORMS needed to prevent these PAS child abuse cases from happening in the Family Court
A look at some really BAD Judges who promote this emotional PAS abuse in children
Questions you need to ask about whether any of these BAD Judges care about you and your PAS abused children?
What are the “BEST INTERESTS” of your children in these PAS cases. The TOP 10 rules to combat Judicial arrogance and ignorance so that your child does not wind up as a PAS victim.
How to organize yourself and all your PAS information
PAS LEGAL CITATIONS from all over the world for target parents to use in Court with their Judge where this kind of PAS emotional child abuse has occurred
Not all lawyers wear white hats.... What you need to watch out for in your spouse’s lawyer if you have a PAS case on your hands... A GOOD CASE EXAMPLE of how an alienating spouse’s lawyer can conspire in the PAS abuse of your child... Brainwashing 101
1. A LIST OF NINE (9) PERILS you need to avoid when dealing with Court appointed psychologists in PAS cases ...
2. How to avoid these PERILS..PLUS.. A short psychologist questionnaire you should use.
3. The types of evaluations these psychologists should be doing in PAS cases
KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE WITH YOUR PAS PROBLEMS
The Kathy Sanderson Story of a young mother’s fight to save her PAS affected children who died in a car accident before she was able to do so
A look at some other e-mails by other PAS affected parents
SUMMING IT ALL UP ABOUT PAS
A complete guide to PAS mediation and intervention written for the American Bar Association
A list of Internet web sites on PAS where you can go to for help
EATING, SLEEPING AND LIVING WITH PAS CHILD ABUSE EVERY DAY
Hello Everybody: My name is William Kirkendale and I am the father of a severely PAS abused child. Over the last ten years I have personally lived, eaten, slept and been obsessed with the subject of PAS like no other person in the World that I know of. During this time I have read over 1,000 books, articles and studies on PAS; I have also scoured the Internet and public libraries everywhere for any information I could find on PAS; and I have corresponded with over 10,000 distraught, hurting and totally frustrated parents from all over the Globe who have written me about their own PAS horror stories.
And why Have I done all these things? Because ten years ago before the World knew anything about PAS, I had a once adoring and loving child of mine physically, emotionally and every other way you can think of, stolen, kidnapped, and then tortured and murdered right under the watchful eye of my local Family Court and several of its Judges. I didn’t know then what was happening to both of us to harm and destroy our once very close and loving relationship that we enjoyed together for 12 years, but I certainly do now, and have for the last eight years. It was and still is one of the worst cases of PAS you could ever imagine.
What I discovered was this human tragedy and scourge of PAS. A terrible emotional and psychological disorder in young children of divorce that ten years ago was virtually unknown. Today, however, it is an epidemic of unbelievable proportions.
What happened in my case, just like in so many other cases I hear about, was a concentrated and premeditated effort by my former wife and her (convicted felon) lawyer at the time, together with a bunch of uneducated, uncaring and arrogant Judges and several Freudian quack psychologists who had all gone out of their way to conspire with each other to inculcate, support and encourage this PAS disorder in my daughter. And why did they do this? Because they didn’t know what they were doing, and when I told them they didn’t know what they were doing they all began to hate and despise me with a passion. In other words they didn’t want to hear the truth about themselves from me.
All this was done so quickly and well that before I ever knew what was happening my daughter had become a completely different person than I had known for 12 years. Defying everything I knew about her she took to acting and behaving like a cult member determined to turn her back on me, her family and anyone else she ever knew that was kind and loving to her. She did this, I found out later, for no other reason than she was locked in fear of her captors and abusers and felt the compelling need to please them. It has now been ten years since this happened and she has never once looked back to ever see, feel or think about all the pain and suffering she has caused me, her family and herself by what she was programmed and brainwashed to do out of her fear.
While I didn’t know it at the time that I have now come to learn is this. What the courts and my former wife and my daughter did to all of us and herself is nothing new for many children of divorce these days. I have discovered that children like my daughter do this all the time to parents both during and after a divorce...and they do it because hundreds of thousands of sick and evil parents, along with their equally sick and evil lawyers are allowed by the Courts every year to emotionally abuse and torture these children at will and inculcate them with this terrible scourge we now call PAS. Teaching children to hate is a way of life for them.
Whenever I get an e-mail or a letter from a parent asking me about PAS, and I get about 4,000 a year, I always hear the same story.... “I have a child or children that once adored me that now hate me and I couldn’t figure out why until I heard about PAS. Now at least I have a name for what my kids are doing. What can you do to help me”?
Of course, I knew exactly how they felt because that was the one burning question I had asked myself when this happened to me ten years ago. How could a child that once loved and adored her father now turn on him so suddenly without any good reason? It just didn’t make any sense to me so I had to grope around for answers that no one could seem to help me with.
Being a fairly intelligent person, however, I did suspect that because of my divorce at the time my daughter was probably very angry and confused about things and not too happy with me. I also suspected that her mother and her lawyer were trying as hard as they could to exploit my daughter’s anger and confusion about the divorce. Never in a million years, however, did I ever think she would become such an easy prey and victim to what they were doing. The sad fact is, now that I know about PAS and what terrible effects it can have on children, I couldn’t have been more wrong in my naive assessment of things if I tried. This type of PAS abuse is overwhelming to these terribly angry and vulnerable children.
What I have also since discovered about my case is the same as with almost all PAS cases. I was totally ignorant about our court system and what kind of human cruelty and evil certain people in the court system are capable of. I also didn’t know how easily young vulnerable and angry children can be brainwashed, swayed, exploited, programmed and convinced to act and behave in such a hateful, harmful, hurtful and anti-social manner toward one of their parents and other family members they once loved and adored. And finally what I have learned is that short of hiring someone to go out and kidnap your children back so they can be completely reprogrammed and isolated from their abusing parent, there is little or nothing you can do to save them or yourself from the lifetime of pain and suffering this PAS scourge causes. That is unless you know exactly what PAS is and how you can successfully combat it with your children in the courts in an effective manner, and even then there are still many obstacles you will have to overcome, and not the least of those is the Family Court itself and Judges who are completely ignorant about PAS.
In America today, and indeed throughout the World, there is supposed to be a competent and incorruptible legal and Judicial system in place to prevent these kinds of things from happening to these victimized children and parents. Unfortunately, however, this is only a pipe dream as in reality there is no such system in place.
Oh there is a legal and Judicial system out there all right, but in name only, as it doesn’t have a clue about what goes on in their corrupt little world to cause so much pain and emotional suffering to these victimized children and their parents, nor do they even care that they have no clue. I refer to this legal and Judicial system as being just like the old predatory dinosaurs of the earth. First, just like the dinosaurs, these people are big and powerful and among the worst predators the world has ever known and they can cause more damage and destruction than one could ever imagine. History tells us, however, that while these dinosaurs were big and powerful they were also doomed to extinction because the world would not put up with all the human carnage and destruction they caused. This will also soon happen to our Family Court system, as no civilized society can put up with the kind of abuse of children and the family as this system does to them every day.
You ask 100 people who have been through one of these Family Court systems if they have any trust or respect for the law or the system, and 99 people out of those 100 will tell you they don’t and never have. As for why they don’t and never have I think this will become obvious to you as you read what I have to say in this book about their complicity in the harm and PAS abuse of so many innocent children and their equally victimized parents. The number is in the millions throughout the world.
So let me say this to all those terribly sad, tormented and frustrated PAS affected parents out there, including I might add many step parents and grandparents, who all have a desperate need to hear about PAS and learn the truth about how and why it is happening to you and your child or children or grandchildren. I know your pain and as such I have prepared this PAS Primer for you to read and pass along to all those who are doing to your child or children or grandchildren what was done to my child. While it may or may not help you get your child or children back, it at least will let you know that you are not alone and perhaps show you a way that might help you be able to get them back. I hope it also helps you to understand why and how this has happened to you and who is to blame for what you’ve been through. I wish you all God’s speed in your efforts.
I would like to say that I first wrote these words and this book a year ago before the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. The day that America was attacked by terrorists and the world changed forever. Now this story of PAS has taken on new meaning for me which before I go on I would like to share with you.
On the morning of September 11th 2001 the matter of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) took on a whole new meaning for me. I, along with millions of other people in the world, stood there that morning and watched with disbelief and horror as America was attacked by a dozen or so terrorists from another country that hated us. Terrorists who were all young men in their 20's or early 30's who had been brainwashed and programmed by the worst evil doers in the World to hate America and all that it stood for.
In the process of carrying out their mission of hate that morning on September 11th, they and the people who brainwashed them to do this evil deed murdered thousands of innocent people and destroyed the lives of millions more. They also gave up their own lives as a final act of misguided loyalty to the people who had taught them to hate others in such an evil and passionate manner. In effect these terrorists were nothing but pawns in a war they had been exposed to from the time they were young children. That is when they were first taught and brainwashed to hate America, so that they would then grow up and carry out the evil bidding of their emotional captors.
For the last ten years now I have been screaming out to America and the World that millions of America's children are being emotionally tortured and brainwashed every single day in the warlike atmosphere of our Family Court system. In this war these innocent young children are also being used as pawns, but in this case they are not being taught to hate another country, they are being taught to hate one of their parents. Unfortunately my concerns for the welfare of our children in America in this regard has completely fallen on deaf ears. And what is this evil danger I have been warning people about for ten years where no one has listened. It is an ever growing world wide scourge against children called Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS for short.
Simply put PAS is a disease of the human heart and soul of our children that is spread by warring parents and unscrupulous lawyers, Judges and psychologists in an evil divorce court system infecting literally millions of innocent and unsuspecting children every year. Call it if you will a children's holocaust of the mind and spirit. What is happening to these children is the same thing that happened to the terrorists of September 11th when they were children. They were all taught to act and behave without conscience or remorse and to hate other people and to make these people suffer immeasurably. The loss of life and the loss of parents and loved ones meant nothing to these people while they were children and so when they grew up it meant nothing to them then either. Hating people for no good reason other than what they were taught was a way of life for them, and still is.
On my web site at www.familycourts.com you will see a great deal of information about this disease of PAS; however after September 11th most, if not all, of that information I believe has to be updated in light of the September 11th attack on America. Yes the same symptoms of this disease are there, and yes the description of the disease is still the same, BUT there is now a brand new way to look at this disease and what it can do to the children who suffer from it as they grow into adulthood.
I say this information needs to be updated because I have always known that PAS was a terrible disease that instilled hate into young and vulnerable children by brainwashing.... BUT What I never fully realized was what this hate could eventually turn into the kinds of things I saw on September 11th. Hatred so strong and unchecked that it would prompt otherwise normal human beings to act like the devil himself with no moral conscience toward their fellow human beings in a way that is impossible to fathom. And why did they do this? Because they were taught to do these kinds of terrible and evil things to innocent people.
People flying planes filled with innocent passengers into buildings at 8:00 in the morning killing themselves and over 5,000 innocent people as they sat at their desks at work. What kind of a diabolical person would do this? I'll tell you what kind. A person that has spent all of their life as children and young adults being programmed and brainwashed to hate other human beings. That's what kind of a person it is who would do this.
So if that is true about these terrorist hijackers, and it is, then why wouldn't the same thing be true about all the thousands of innocent children every year in America and throughout the world who are taught to hate one of their parents. A hatred which then leads to their inculcation of PAS. A disease of the mind and spirit in children so evil that I now refer to it as a children's holocaust. I'd like someone to show me the difference. The fact is you can't show me any difference because teaching children to hate is the same whether you do it on the streets of Afghanistan or in the Family Court rooms of America and the world. Children who are taught to hate are the same all over the world.
Let me take you through a comparison of teaching children to hate in Afghanistan and in America and other free world countries. In Afghanistan many young children are being taught by evil people to hate Americans and all that America stands for. In America many young children are being taught by the same kind of evil people to hate not a country and its people, but one of their parents and all they stand for. How terrible and evil is that?
As part of this brainwashing of hate in both countries these emotional abused and tortured children are taught to totally disrespect those who they are being taught to hate, and to not care one bit about the feelings or the sadness or the pain they may cause people because of their hate. They also are taught to give up their own lives if necessary for the cause they have been brainwashed into believing. In America these PAS brainwashed children are taught that one of their parents are evil. Therefore you have to hate them with such a passion so as to cause them as much human pain and suffering as you can.
The facts about PAS are now clear as a bell to me. If you find yourself as a parental victim of a child with PAS, then you must look at what I am about to say to you. If you have any doubt whatsoever about what I am telling you then I hope this will remove any of that doubt. What I want to do is present you with the facts about PAS children and then ask you if you can see any similarity to what the children of Afghanistan are taught to do and what if any correlation you see as to what happened on September 11th.
In PAS children this is how they behave as both children and adults after they have been taught to hate by their emotional captors.
1.The PAS child hates and denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe disrespectful, hostile and completely unwarranted oppositional behavior. The word "fanatic" comes to mind in describing this kind of behavior.
2.The PAS child offers only coached, weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger, hatred and denigration of the alienated parent. "I hate my father because my mother says he is a bad man".
3.The PAS child is absolutely sure of him or herself and doesn’t demonstrate any ambivalence whatsoever. (i.e. only undying loyalty and love for the alienating parent who they perceive as "all good", and only undying hatred and contempt for the alienated parent who they perceive as "all bad".
4.The PAS child exhorts that he or she alone came up with their ideas of hatred and denigration. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him/her to do this, they arrived at all this hatred and denigration by themselves.
5.The PAS child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent, largely out of fear of the alienating parent.
6.The PAS child does not demonstrate any guilt or remorse over his or her cruelty towards the alienated parent or over any pain and suffering they may cause the alienated parent.
7.The PAS Child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could never have experienced.
8. Animosity, hatred and denigration is also spread by the PAS child to include the friends and/or extended family members of the alienated parent. In other words because the child has been taught to hate the father or the mother, they also must hate the grandfather or the grandmother as well.
Okay now that you've seen these behavioral patterns of an emotionally abused and brainwashed PAS child in America what do you see here that can be applied to the children in Afghanistan.... and how being taught to hate this way as children could have easily led to what some of these children did as adults on September 11th? Do you see the same things I do?
My purpose in pointing these things out to you is to show you that we can no longer allow this to happen to our children here in America. We are now in a war on terrorism and if we mean what we say then we also have to wage war on our own domestic terrorism against innocent children and parents of divorce emanating out of our evil and destructive Family Court system. That is the lesson of September 11th and that is the lesson we must all now learn and take heed of with the unchecked spread of America's own disease of emotional terrorism we call PAS. Hopefully this book will help us do that.
William Kirkendale, Founder and President
The PAS Foundation of America
The Family Court Reform Council
The author, William Kirkendale, is a highly successful California Insurance executive who has spent the last ten years trying to reform our present Family Court system. He is the founder and president of The Family Court reform Council of America (FCRC) and the author of a recent book entitled “America’s Family Courts...A Cancer on the Nation”. He is also a strong advocate for children and children’s rights and because of his own personal and very painful experience with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) he has become an extremely knowledgeable source and help for other victimized parents and children who have had to deal with this problem originating out of the Family Court system. Recently he formed the National Parental Alientation Syndrome Foundation to help people with their individual PAS problems with their children.
Mr. Kirkendale is the father of six wonderful children and nine young grandchildren, who in addition to raising his own family worked for over 20 years with handicapped children and adults through his association with the world famous Human Resources Center and the Henry Viscardi School for handicapped children in Albertson New York. He served on both of their Boards of Directors and was also one of the founders and past Presidents of one of New York State’s most successful Easter Seal Society chapters.
Because of Mr. Kirkendale’s many years of work with these organizations he was awarded the Human Resources Center’s highest honor, the Presidents award, for his outstanding dedication and service to the Nation’s handicapped. Mr. Kirkendale currently works here in California as a volunteer advisor and consultant to the National Center for the Employment of the Handicapped where he gives of his time and energy to try and help all those less fortunate than himself to secure a better life through meaningful employment rather than a government handout.
Mr. Kirkendale found out when he moved to California, as we all find out sooner or later at some point in life, that no one can really escape problems or handicaps. As a result of his own problems and severe handicaps with the Family Court system here in California, when one of his daughters was kidnapped and emotionally tortured by a convicted felon right under the watchful eye and nose of the California Family Court system, he began to see first hand how truly morally corrupt and bankrupted the system was. During his struggles to try and rescue his daughter and effect some meaningful change and reform of the system he soon began to hear from thousands of other people throughout the country who were experiencing the very same problems and troubles with the system he had encountered. It was then that he formed The Family Court Reform Council and set up his own internet web site, www.familycourts.com to alert and educate people about all the many evils this system was bringing to so many families and children,
These evils he quickly realized were being created solely by the system itself and had as its primary target all the innocent children of divorce. Children who, like his own daughter, were to become merely convenient pawns and weapons of greedy divorce lawyers (or in cases like his also convicted felons and child pornographer lawyers) as well as many times angry revenge seeking abusive parents trying any way they could to manipulate the system for their own selfish purposes. This was done he found out by taking advantage of mostly incompetent Judges, overcrowded courts, and unskilled court mediators and evaluators. The best interests of children and families weren’t being served under this system, only the selfish interests of abusing parents and greedy lawyers and therapists were being served.
While resistance to change by these Family Courts and the legal profession itself, who feeds off maintaining the status quo of the current system, still remains a formidable obstacle to overcome, Mr. Kirkendale nonetheless strongly believes that because of what happened to his daughter and to so many more like her, the tide of change cannot be held back any longer. In fighting his fight for this much needed change and reform he merely points out the fact that neither he nor any of his five other children and seven grandchildren have seen or spoken one word to his youngest daughter, their sister, their aunt, and their friend in over eight years because of this system. If that is what this state and this court and this country thinks is serving the best interests of children and families, he tells everyone, then this Family Court system here in California and elsewhere where these same kinds of things happen on a daily basis is nothing more than a sham and a fraud on the moral and spiritual conscience of our entire nation and the world.
THE REAL STORY OF PAS CHILD ABUSE
THE TRAGIC EFFECTS OF PAS ON CHILDREN
WHAT IS PAS AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR CHILD
The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is defined as.... a disorder in children that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes in our Family Courts. Its primary manifestation is the child’s on going and many times relentless campaign of programmed hatred and denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification whatsoever. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target (alienated) parent, and in my opinion as a medical doctor and child psychologist, is one of the worst forms of parental child abuse there is.
Excerpted from: Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.
“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you...and I never want to see you again”. Sound like a husband or wife screaming at each other during their divorce? Well not exactly. These are not the angry cries of adult parents of divorce. These are the angry cries of young children of divorce. Angry, confused and emotionally tortured children in extreme pain who are taking out all their anger against one of their parents. And why is all this anger being directed at only one parent and not both parents? The answer is as simple as it is disturbing
What you see here is not merely an abberation only happening on rare occasions with these children. Sadly this is happening routinely in divorce situations all across the country on a daily basis. It is occuring with alarming frequency as the direct result of one of the worst forms of parental child abuse there is. Abuse we now have a name for which describes the premeditated emotional abuse and systematic brainwashing of children by one parent to unjustly hate and despise the other parent. In medical terms this is called “Parental Alienation” which in turn leads to a very serious and severe emotional disorder in children called “Parental Alienation Syndome, or PAS for short.
They say that one act of such inhumane cruelty as we see in these cases can take the very life out of people forever...and with this PAS disorder in these severely alientated and abused children that follows this kind of inhumane Parental Alienation cruelty, this is exactly what happens. And it happens to both the parents who are now the target and object of this unjustified hatred and the abused child or children themselves who are also innocent victims of this kind of abuse.
You simply can’t imagine what kind of pain and suffering this type of thing brings to affected parents and their children. In many ways it is worse than the death of a parent or a child. This is because for the child it means they will never again have the once close loving relationship they had with the parent they now say they hate....And for the now supposedly hated parent, they will have lost a child forever that was once the center of their universe.
So what is this PAS condition in these children that so badly hurts and destroys their lives and the lives of their now supposedly hated parents, and how can you spot it when you see it? I will now give you all the answers and information you need to help you undeerstand and deal with this problem.
COMMON AND EASILY RECOGNIZED SYMPTOMS OF THE CHILD’S ROLE IN PAS
Dr. Gardner notes quite specifically that PAS is more than brainwashing or programming, because the child has to actually participate in the denigrating of the alienated parent. This is done in primarily the following eight ways:
1.The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe disrespectful, hostile and completely unwarranted oppositional behavior.
2.The child offers only weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger and denigration of the alienated parent.
3.The child is sure of him or herself and doesn’t demonstrate any ambivalence whatsoever. (i.e. only love for the alienating parent who they perceive as "all good", and only hate for the alienated parent who they perceive as "all bad".
4.The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him/her to do this.
5.The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent, largely out of fear of the alienating parent.
6.The child does not demonstrate any guilt or remorse over his or her cruelty towards the alienated parent.
7.The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could not have experienced.
8.Animosity and denigration is also spread by the child to include the friends and/or extended family members of the alienated parent.
9. In severe cases of parent alienation, the child is utterly brainwashed against the alienated parent. The alienator can thus truthfully say that the child doesn’t want to spend any time with the other parent, even though they have told the child that he or she has to, or it is a court order, etc.
The alienator then typically responds, "See there isn’t anything that I can do about it. I’m not telling the child that he/she can’t see you." He/she is making his/her own decisions in this matter. This, of course, is absolutely preposterous because can you imagine any good and decent responsible parent looking out for the best interests of their children and others saying the same thing if their child said "they didn't want to go to school any more".... or "they wanted to experiment with alcohol and drugs", or they wanted to stay out all night with their girlfriends/boyfriends, or they wanted to take a gun to school, etc. etc.)
HOW CAN YOU TELL A PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME (PAS) CASE WHEN YOU SEE IT? EASY, LOOK AT THIS CASE EXAMPLE
You can easily spot a severe PAS case when you see something like this actual e-mail exchange between a PAS inculcated child and her mother who the child now says she hates. A mother that this young 12 year old child once loved dearly but who now has been taught by her father to hate her mother in the way you can see clearly demonstrated in this e-mail conversation ....This is about as good a description of PAS in a child as you can find.
Daughter: what do you want
Mother: I would like to talk to you
Mother: because I love you and I miss you
Daughter: I don't care I don’t love you or miss you at all
Mother: well I still love you and I always will
Mother: I would like to see you on Thanksgiving
Mother: why not sweetie???
Mother: This is my weekend to have you guys
Daughter: o well I don't care
Daughter: I don't care what you want
Daughter: I’m not coming
Daughter: I don't like you
Mother: Please remember that the judge said that I have a right to visitation
Daughter: I don't care
Daughter: go ahead take me back to court
Daughter: lets go
Mother: why are you being so hostile??? I am not being mean or nasty to you
Daughter: don't call me sweetheart or hunny or anything anymore
Daughter: I don't care
Daughter: you were nasty to me all my life
Daughter: so now its my turn
Daughter: and don't say I love you to me anymore
Mother: No I wasn't...I have always loved you and was not nasty to you your whole life
Daughter: yes you were
Mother: I think that you are exaggerating just a bit sweetie
Daughter: excuse my language but you were a nasty bitch all the time
Daughter: god dang it mom
Mother: honey...you know that isn't true....
Daughter: god damn it don't call me that
Mother: I always did what was best for you guys
Mother: please don't curse at me
Daughter: then don't call me honey sweetie or baby anymore
Mother: I'm sorry, I am just used to calling you sweetie
Daughter: well don’t
Daughter: how would you like it if I started calling you witch
Mother: why is it that you said you loved me a few weeks ago and now I am such a monster
Daughter: because I didn't want to hurt your feelings
Daughter: but now I just don't care
Mother: Jane (not the child’s real name), we need to talk about things and try to work this out
Daughter: its not going to happen
Mother: But I love you and like I said I always will...no matter what
Daughter: ok ok ok
Daughter: don't say that to me anymore
Daughter: I mean it
Mother: why can't I say that I love you????
Daughter: because I don't want you to
Mother: You and your brother need both parents...we both love you
Daughter: omg mom mom mom mom
Daughter: stop saying that
Daughter: I only want dad to say he loves me
Daughter: not you
Mother: But I am your mother and want to be a part of your life
Daughter: well I don’t want you to be part of my life
Daughter: and I don’t care what you want or think
Mother: I am not going to stop trying to be a part of your life
Daughter: you better
Mother: You are very important
Daughter: because its not gonna happen
Daughter: not gonna happen
Daughter: so leave me alone
Mother: I still think it is important that you have both parents in your life
Daughter: no I only want one with me
Daughter: so bye
Mother: I love you Jane
Daughter: no I shouldn't even be saying bye
Daughter: shut up
Daughter: stop it
Daughter: I told you to stop
A CLOSER LOOK AT PAS SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN IN MORE DETAIL
Now how’s that for an angry, confused and hate filled young child who has been taught to hate her own mother by her father?
Let us now take a look at some specific symptoms and characteristics of PAS in more detail and apply them to this e-mail exchange between this mother and her daughter.
1. Typically the PAS abused child is obsessed with “hatred” of the target parent. Gardner puts the word “hatred” in quotes because he says that there are still many tender and loving feelings toward this target parent that are not permitted expression.
2. The child speaks of this hated parent with every vilification and profanity in their vocabulary. The child also shows absolutely no respect for the parent whatsoever, as if they were the parent and the parent were the child.
3. The vilification of the target parent often has the rehearsed quality of a litany as if a record in their mind was turned on and they were giving a command performance.
4. The child may try and justify the alienation and “hatred” of the target parent with years old memories of minor altercations with the hated parent. Usually these justifications are frivolous and absurd and almost always when pressed for clarification or more information about them are met with complete silence or a litany of “I don’t knows”.
5. The child exhibits a complete lack of ambivalence that characterizes normal parent child relationships. With the PAS abused child the so-called “hated” parent is viewed as all bad and the so-called “loved parent” as all good. Again Gardner put the words “hated” and “loved” parent in quotes because he says these children really don’t hate anyone; however there is usually great hostility toward and fear of the so-called “loved parent”, which the child is unable to express out of their fear of this parent.
6. The child will usually exhibit a guiltless disregard for the feelings of the “hated” parent. There is a complete absence of gratitude for gifts, support payments, and other evidence of the “hated” parent’s desire for continued involvement and affection with the child. Often these children will want to be certain the so-called “hated” parent continues to provide support payments, but at the same time will adamantly refuse to visit. Commonly they will say they never want to see that parent again.
7. The child is usually never intimidated by the Court and will say that they don’t care what the Judge or the Court says about them being required to visit the “hated” parent. This will usually mirror the alienating parent’s view that they don’t care what the Court or the Judge says either.
8. And finally the PAS child’s so-called “hatred” of the target parent often includes that parent’s extended family as well. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and even siblings or step siblings with whom the child previously may have had a loving relationship with, are all now detested.
What I have shown you in the previous e-mail exchange between this mother and her daughter is typical of these PAS abused children and how angry and emotionally disturbed all these children are. Just to give you some more proof of how badly this mother’s children have been brainwashed to “hate” her, let me now show you this same mother’s e-mail exchange with her 14 year old son that occurred within a few days of the one she had with her daughter... Remember to look here also for all of the PAS symptoms and characteristics I just described from Dr. Gardner that are present in both of these children.
Son: don't talk to me
Mother: please talk to me
Son: um..... no
Mother: but I love you sweetie
Son: I don't love you
Mother: why not
Son: because just don't you are mean and I wish I never had you for a mom
Mother: Honey...why do you say that I am mean
Son: mom you are you always were and don't say you weren't
Mother: I wasn't...I have always loved you and always did things for you and your sister
Mother: John (not his real name), my whole life centered around you and Jane (not her real name) and you know that
Son: no it did not so leave me alone and I am never going to go to your house ever'
Son: nice try with the cop
Mother: I only did what the judge told me to do
Son: sure you did
Mother: I did...ask your dad
Son: I don't care I am never going to your house
Mother: we have to be able to get past this
Son: I have a good idea how about I don't see you ever again
Mother: tell me something...why did you try and have me arrested last November
Son: phone harassment
Mother: all I did was call you to talk...then when I called back the second time it was because you said Jane would be home at that time
Son: you called more than twice
Son: you liar
Mother: are you proud that you tried to have me arrested for no reason?
Son: I don't want to see you
Mother: why? all I have ever wanted is to be a part of your life
Son: no the only reason you want me is for money
Son: you don't care about me and I don't care cause I don't need you
Mother: that is not true...I am willing to let your father have custody...I am the one paying support...I just want to see you
Son: I don't want to see you
Mother: Honey...I only left your father...I never wanted to leave you guys
Mother: you two are my life...I just want to be a part of your lives
Note: At this point the son terminates the conversation.
I should point out that about a month before these two exchanges took place between this mother and both of her children, each of these children visited with their mother and enjoyed a wonderful time together as they had many times in the past. It was only after they went back home to their father did their attitude toward their mother change, which had been a similar pattern of behavior with both of them for some time since their parent’s divorce. They had fun with their mother and loved her to death when they were with her, but when they went back to their father’s house they suddenly began to “hate” their mother.
What you have seen in this particular case is what I see all the time in these PAS cases, including my own daughter’s PAS case nine years ago. Every week I get hundreds of letters and e-mails from parents all over the world that describe almost in the exact same detail as this case and my own case what has gone on with their PAS abused children. Is this merely a coincidence, or is this something that has gotten out of hand and has begun to spread the world over completely unchecked? As we go on I will let you decide this for yourself. Incidentally when I say the world over, I’m not exaggerating because as you will see later I even received one of these PAS e-mails from Russia and have received many more from countries all across the globe.
OTHER TELL TALE SIGNS OF PAS
As I said before I see this kind of patented behavior in these PAS abused children I just showed you every single day of the year. There are a few other tell tale signs of this PAS abuse, however, you need to look for in these children, so here are a few of the more common tell tale signs.
1) When you see in a child Rejection - The child's legitimate need for a relationship with both parents is rejected. The child has good reason to fear rejection and abandonment by the alienating parent if they should ever express positive feelings about the other parent and the people and activities associated with that parent.
2) When you see a child who is Emotionally Terrified of the Target Parent for no reason expressed - The child is bullied or verbally assaulted into being terrified of the target parent without good cause or reason. The child is psychologically brutalized into fearing contact with the target parent and retribution by the alienating parent for any positive feelings the child might have for the target parent. Psychological abuse of this type may also be accompanied by physical abuse in many cases.
3) When you see a child Ignoring one of their parents for no reason expressed - The alienated target parent becomes emotionally unavailable to the child by the actions of the alienating parent, leading to feelings of neglect and abandonment. Divorced and abusing parents like these types of PAS alienators selectively withhold love and attention from the child, which is a subtler form of rejecting which shapes the child's behavior.
4) When you see a child being Isolated - The alienating parent isolates the child from the target parent and normal opportunities for social relations. With the PAS child they are prevented from participating in normal social interactions with the target parent and relatives and friends on that side of the family. In severe PAS cases social isolation of the child sometimes extends beyond the target parent to other friends and family members of that parent thus preventing any social contacts which might foster autonomy and independence for the child.
5) When you see a child being corrupted - The child is rewarded and reinforced by the alienating parent for lying, manipulation, aggression toward others or behavior which is self destructive and self abusive. In PAS children, when involved in false allegations of sexual abuse against a target parent (very common in many divorce and child custody cases today), the child is also corrupted by repeated involvement in discussions of deviant sexuality regarding the target parent or other family and friends associated with that parent. In some cases of severe PAS, the alienating parent trains the child to be an agent of aggression against the target parent, with the child actively participating in deceits and manipulations for the purpose of harassing and persecuting the target parent.
THE ROLE OF ALIENATING PARENTS IN PAS CHILD ABUSE
WHY PAS ALIENATING PARENTS ACT AND BEHAVE THE WAY THEY DO
If you and your children are victims of a PAS alienating and abusing ex-spouse, or anyone else they may have recruited to join in with them to assist them in this abuse, then you have to be wondering why they would do this to you and your children. What in the world are these people thinking of anyway, and why would they even think about doing this to you and their own children? The answer to that question is quite simple and follows the normal behavior patterns of abusive parents and abusive people in general. Here then are some of the reasons why these abusing parents and others behave and act the way they do to abuse their children.
1. First of all it must be pointed out that parents who engage in the cruel and inhumane brainwashing of their children for the sole purpose of manipulating their angry and fragile minds to hate and despise their former spouses, are guilty of nothing less than criminal child abuse...and don't let anyone try and tell you differently. It is the same as hitting and beating a defenseless person when they are down until they are no longer able to defend themselves anymore. It is pure and simple only bullies and very sick people who do these kinds of things to weaker individuals.
2. Because these parents don’t know or understand how to please other people, any effort to do so always has strings attached. They don’t give; they only know how to take. They don't know how to love; only how to hate. They don’t play by the rules and do not obey court orders. Any appeals for them to use logic or reason for the best interests of their children will be completely ignored. Try convincing a bully to stop hitting you and beating up on you and see how far you get.
3. Abusing and alienating parents are unable to "individuate" (a psychological term used when a person is unable to see their child or anyone else as a separate human being from themselves). These parents are literally obsessed with their own self-interests and gratification to the complete exclusion of everyone else, including their own children. These people are selfish beyond anything imaginable.
4. These abusing and alienating parents are narcissistic (self-centered) and enmeshed with the child in a symbiotic (overly involved) relationship. Furthermore, these parents presume that they have a special entitlement to have whatever they want. They think that there are rules in life, but only for other people, not for them. Many times they will demand you provide support for your children as called for in their Court order, while a the same time they completely deny you any contact or visitation which is also called for in the same Court order. You follow the law, but they don’t have to.
5. These parents are referred to as sociopaths (people who have no moral conscience). This means that they are unable to have empathy or compassion for others. Sociopaths are unable to see a situation from another person’s point of view, especially their own child’s point-of-view. They don’t distinguish the way others do between telling the truth and lying. In fact many of them are pathological liars, who believe that the bigger the lie they tell, the more people they will get to believe it...and in Family Court they can get away with this all the time.
6. In spite of admonitions from Judges and mental health professionals to stop alienating, they can’t. The prognosis for a severely alienating parent is poor. It is unlikely that they will ever "get it." It is also unlikely that they will ever stop trying to perpetuate the alienation. It is a gut-wrenching survival issue to them that overrides any other consideration about what’s in the best interests of their children.
7. These parents can only be described as mentally ill and a serious danger and threat to themselves, their children and society. They know no limits for their cruel and destructive behavior and they can not separate right from wrong or good from evil. In short they are among the worst kind of parental child abusers there are right up there with sexual and physical abusers. A sexually abused child will most likely never have happiness or peace in their life. A physically abused child will also most likely never have happiness or peace in their life. And in the same way an emotionally abused PAS child will also most likely never have happiness or peace in their life. These children will have all been permanently scarred and ruined for life because of the criminal actions and behavior of one of their parents.
8. Just as a deadly cancer needs to be cut out if a person is to live, so too does this deadly cancer of PAS child abuse need to be cut out of a child's life if they are to live. There is no such thing in these cases of a "partial removal" of this cancer. Turning the abused child or children back over to their abusers to allow them to be further abused, brainwashed and exploited will not cure this deadly disease of PAS. In fact it will only hasten their demise. You don't protect innocent children by ignoring the obvious dangers they face. This would be like letting your children play in the street when there are cars whizzing by at high speeds every minute.
9. To save these children then from a lifetime of emotional pain and suffering, either the abusing parent must see that they are killing their own children so that they will stop their abuse or the children must be completely removed from any further contact with or influence over their children. If you don't do this or the court won't do this then the time will come when these children will be beyond any help to live and enjoy a normal, peaceful and happy life.
In order to prevent the devastating effects of Parental Alienation in your child, you must first begin by recognizing the common techniques used by alienating parents against a target parent to achieve their objective. Thirty of the most common techniques are:
1.The Child is provided by the alienating parent with options that are not really choices (like visiting). This furthers the idea in the child that the target parent is somehow being oppressive and mean by attempting to take those choices away from them.
2. The Alienating parent will ridicule and denigrate the target parent in front of the child as if to say they don't love them and are not worthy of the child’s love and respect. A child's birthday is a special time of the year used in various ways to denigrate the target parent in this regard and try to convince them the target parent doesn't love them or care about them..
3.The Alienating parent will put the child in the middle when disputes with the target parent arise and say things like “if you go to see daddy this weekend I don’t want you to come back”. This problem is further compounded when the alienating parent is able to con ignorant Judges to issue visitation orders that give the child a choice as to whether they wish to see or visit with the target parent or not. I’ve seen this happen with children as young as seven (7) years old, if you can believe it.
4.The Alienating parent encourages the child to not want to take new toys or clothes to the target parent’s home for fear they will be destroyed.
5.The Alienating parent does not inform the target parent of school events, medical visits or other life events of the child that both parents would normally be involved in.
6. The Alienating parent makes sure that the target parent is not provided access to see their children at school or obtain class pictures, report cards or attend parent/teacher conferences. They do this by either giving the school phony court orders or by writing a letter to the school saying the target parent has no legal right to see their child at school or receive any records.
7.The Alienating parent purposely destroys all pictures and fond childhood remembrances and memories of the target parent and the child together, as if none of these fond remembrances and memories with the target parent ever existed
8. The Child is overly informed all the time by the alienating parent about former family problems and divorce issues.
9.The Alienating parent demonstrates an unwillingness to cooperate in adhering to visiting times with the target parent. They are also uncooperative in making changes to the target parent's visiting times should it become necessary.
10.The Target parent shows up extremely early for visitation pickups or deliveries and the alienating parent makes the child wait for them.
11.The Child is encouraged by the alienating parent to participate in so many extracurricular activities that it interferes with target parent's visitation.
12.The Child is taught and encouraged by the alienating parent to display outspoken criticism, ridicule and contempt for target parent's life (financial success, remarriage, etc.)
13.The Alienating parent encourages the child to say that step-brothers or sisters are "not really their sisters or brothers".
14.The Alienating parent blames the target parent for problems or difficulties in the alienating parent's household.
15.Suggestions made by the alienating parent that the target parent may be abusive when no evidence is ever present.
16.The Alienating parent encourages the child to show disrespect for the target parent’s effort at disciplining the child or saying “no” to the child.
17.The Alienating parent purposely moves so far away as to make visitations by target parent extremely inconvenient and difficult.
18.The Alienating parent forces child to give a “report” to them about things done during visitation with the target parent.
19.Repetitive denigration and allegations being made over and over again like a broken record by the alienating parent against the target parent.
20.The Alienating parent threatens to take the target parent back to court in front of the child or dares the target parent to take them back to court.
21.The Alienating parent uses child support as a way to denigrate the target parent by saying because they don't pay their child support they don't love their children..or the only reason they want more time with their children is because it would lower their child support obligation..
22.The Alienating parent tells child that it is because of the target parent they have to go to court so often.
23.The Alienating parent forces the child to speak with target parent on a speakerphone.
24.The Alienating parent refuses to allow child to talk on the phone with target parent saying "he is busy" or "she doesn't want to talk to you right now".
25.The Child and alienating parent are unable to be contacted on special occasions (Christmas, birthdays, etc.) by the target parent.
26.Messages left on an answering machine by the target parent are rarely answered and phone calls are never returned.
27.The Alienating parent makes sure that the target parent's name and contact information is not provided on school records.
28.The Alienating parent makes child communicate with the target parent through their lawyer.
29.The Alienating parent tries to sway the child's court appointed guardian against the target parent.
30.The Alienating parent refuses to allow the child to refer to target parent by a new last name if remarried. (this only applies to women), or tells the child they must call the target parent by their first name. Dad become "Tom" and Mom becomes "Mary".
Note: These techniques have been compiled and published by the Parental Alienation Syndrome Foundation of America (PASFA) and are based on a study of over 1,000 PAS affected divorced parents over a six year period from 1995 to 2001. This list of alienating parent techniques has also been endorsed by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced PAS psychologists in the country.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OTHERS WHEN YOU HAVE THIS PAS PROBLEM WITH YOUR CHILD OR CHILDREN.
Experience has taught me that when you have a PAS problem with one or more of your children you will be considered at best a deadly pariah out to destroy everything you touch, and at worst a diseased leper who people should avoid at all costs. This is because you have the gaul and audacity to want stop your children’s abuse and have them back with you, and because you are prevented by PAS from doing so you get mad and angry at those who won’t listen to you or help you. How dare you get so mad and angry over this. The following are some of the things that you will be called and that will happen to you.
1.You will be called hysterical and delusional by almost everyone you come in contact with and made to feel stupid and irrational and told you don’t know what you’re talking about.
2. You will have every bad thing you have ever done in your life thrown up in your face, with absolutely no mention of any of the good things you have done and accomplished in life. You will also be subjected to what I call the “negative spin” tactic by your ex-spouse. This is when you are accused of having serious problems and character flaws that are being embellished upon from some of your more innocent past behaviors. For example, a man who comes home every night after work and sits down and has a glass of wine or two to relax, suddenly is being accused of being a “roaring drunk and chronic alcoholic”....or a woman who is always watching her weight is suddenly being accused of being an emotionally ill “anorexic”..and the list goes on and on.
3. You will be lied to and worked over by the Court and all their Court appointed therapists, mediators and guardian ad litems and told by them also that you are crazy and don’t know what you are talking about, and that PAS is not a scientifically recognized psychological disorder by the Mental Health Profession or the Courts (which is not true as per Florida Family Court case Kilgore v. Boyd, 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, Fl., Case No, 94-7573, dated November 22, 2000)
4. Your ex-spouse’s lawyer, if they have one, will try and personally harass and intimidate you at every turn, to show you how important, smart and powerful they are.
5. You cannot trust anyone, especially your own lawyer, your ex-spouse and their lawyer, your Judge and above all any and all Court mediators, guardian ad litems and/or Court appointed therapists and psychologists brought into your case to know anything about PAS
6. Your child or children will many times write and say bad things about you (almost always frivolous and without any proof or merit) and claim they hate you and never want to see you again.
7. When a psychologist or a guardian ad litem or a Court mediator writes a report about you, then you must always assume the person who wrote the report will know nothing about PAS and that it will be a bad report about you as a victimized PAS parent. Remember also that in 99 out of 100 cases you will not be allowed to either see this report before it goes to the Judge, or be able to cross-examine the person who wrote it and challenge what it says in Court.
8. Negative and demeaning words and phrases you see or hear about you from your ex-spouse and their lawyer will almost always show up again verbatim in written and/or oral words from your child or children.
9. No one but you yourself will have any interest whatsoever in your child or children’s best interests in these PAS cases.
10. Delaying tactics will abound in your case, sometimes for months and even years at a time, for it is a cardinal rule with alienating parents in PAS cases that they try and keep the alienated parent away from their child or children for as long as humanly possible. This is to make sure the alienation has time to root, grow and prosper without any interference or challenge by the alienated parent.
11. If any false accusations are brought against you, they will automatically be used by the Court to keep you away from your child or children and you will have no opportunity whatsoever to defend yourself against these charges. This is the perfect scenario in these PAS cases for the alienating parent.
12. Should you ever loudly protest what is happening to you to a Judge or any of the Court appointed mediators, psychologists or guardian ad litems in your case, you will be branded as a hostile and angry person who should not have any contact with your child or children because of all your anger and hostility.
13. In addition should you ever loudly protest what is happening to you to your Judge, then you will be told by your Judge that you are out of line and if you keep it up you will be held in contempt of Court and will automatically lose custody and any further contact with your child or children, and may be sent to jail for your protests and outrageous behavior.
14. Should your former spouse ever bring a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) motion against you in Court, it will be granted immediately by your Judge, without any hearing or due process rights being given to you at all to properly defend yourself against whatever accusations are being falsely made against you. Again the perfect scenario in these PAS cases for the alienating parent.
15. Any criminal charges being falsely brought against you without any proof or evidence being submitted to the Court, such as criminal child or spousal abuse and/or sexual molestation charges, will cause you to be found guilty by your Civil Family Court, (which has no jurisdiction in these types of criminal matters), until you prove yourself innocent. A situation which may take years to accomplish and therefore is used quite often in these PAS cases by the alienating parent to keep you away from your children.
16. You will find that you will probably have to spend upwards of $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more in legal fees in these PAS cases, only to find that your lawyer has done nothing, and when you run out of patience and money they will tell you they will no longer represent you.
17. At this point you will have to begin to represent yourself in “Pro Per”, at which time your Judge and your ex-spouse’s lawyer will treat you like a leper, idiot and a third class citizen, where they will try to intimidate you and keep you in the dark about all their dirty little legal secrets and improper methods of Court procedure.
18. As a result of all these things happening to you, you will most likely never see you child or children again for many years, if ever, unless you read this book or contact me at the Parental Alienation Syndrome Foundation of America off of my web site at www.familycourts.com or my new site www.pasfoundation.com. You will need a lot of help and we will gladly give it to you.
WHY TARGET PARENTS ARE NO MATCH FOR AN ALIENATING PARENT OR THE COURT. THE “BIG LIE” THEORY & THE THREE BLIND MICE
The number one reason why, if you are a target parent, you are no match for the alienating parent or the court is because of what I call The “Big Lie” theory. This is a theory that was first introduced to the world by Adolph Hitler...and it goes like this. The bigger the lie people tell, the more people they can get to believe it. The big lies about you and your children coming out of the mouth of an alienating parent, and usually their lawyer as well, will be nothing short of staggering. You will encounter these big lies everywhere you go, and as the theory goes, because they are big lies, most of the people you have to deal with about these lies will believe them without question or hesitation.
Now aside from this “Big Lie” problem you will have with your PAS problem and your children, the second most important reason why you will be no match for an alienating parent or the court is this little redo I’ve done of the classic nursery rhyme, The Three Blind Mice. Here is my updated version:
Three blind mice
Three blind mice
See how they hurt
See how they suffer
They all ran into Family Court strife
Who cut out their hearts with a carving knife
Did you ever see such a sight in your life
Three blind mice
Oops, I must have gotten my nursery rhymes mixed up.
Suffering, hurting, Family Court strife, cutting out their hearts with a carving knife? What in the world are you talking about? Well what I’m talking about is simply what I hear day in and day out from parents from all over the world who have had their PAS abused children stolen from them by their ex-spouses and the Family Court. And how do they feel about this? They feel as if their hearts have been cut right out from their body, which makes them suffer so much pain and hurt that it is literally indescribable. Of course, the reason this has happened to them is because they are just like blind mice who don’t see or know a thing about what they’re getting into when they venture into the dark and evil world of our illustrious Family Court system. Let me show you what I mean.
When all these people call me with their PAS tales of woe and heartache, I always ask them these few questions and I always get the same answers. Here is what they tell me.
When I ask do you have a lawyer, they usually say yes.
When I then ask does your lawyer know anything about PAS, they usually say, no they know nothing..or I don’t know if they know anything..or I think maybe they know a little, I’m not sure
When I ask then if they have been ordered by the Court to see one of their psychologists, they usually say yes.
When I ask do you know if these psychologists know anything about PAS, they usually say. No they know nothing..or I don’t know..or I think maybe a little, I’m not sure.
When I ask about the Judge or the GAL in their case and whether they know anything about PAS, they usually say, No or Gee I don’t know I’ve never asked, or I assume so, or I think so.
Okay, I then tell all these people, what would you like me to do? To which they respond. I need your help to get my kids back and save them from what all these people are doing to help my spouse turn them against me and steal them from me.
How would you like me to do that, I ask? Well, they say, I didn’t know anything about this PAS until I went to your web site. I didn’t even know what was happening to me and my kids or what these people were doing to them even had a name for it.
Okay, I say, so now that you know about PAS what do you think you should do about it? Whereupon they say, I guess I need to show my lawyer and the Court and our psychologist about this. Now I ask you does anyone see something wrong here?
Of course there is something wrong here...drastically wrong. What is wrong is that these poor people and their PAS abused kids have been led to the slaughter by their own lawyer, a Family Court system and a court appointed psychologist or GAL, all of whom knew absolutely nothing about what it was that was affecting their kids to want to hate them and never want to see them again. A disease of the mind so prevalent in Family Court today that you would think someone in that Court would know about it, wouldn’t you? Well guess what? They don’t.
After this slaughter of their children has occurred and these poor suffering parents are now without their kids, and their kids are without them, the light suddenly dawns on them that they have been had and that they had better look around to see what it was that allowed them to be had. This is when they hit the Internet and discover that they are in a very big crowd of the same kind of loving and badly victimized parents who have all been had like they have.
Now they search for help and wind up with me on the other end of the phone telling them that they are just like these three blind mice that went into the Family Court system to have their kids abused and stolen from them and their hearts cut out of them because they were so blind to what was going on. How in the world can anyone combat this kind of evil if they are blind and don’t have anyone who knows anything about this evil to help them stop it? The answer is they can’t.
So what is the answer for these people and for all people who must navigate these evil and treacherous waters of our wonderful Family Court system and all the deadly sharks they attract who live and prey in those waters, plus have to deal with an ex-spouse who wants to destroy their relationship with their kids forever? The answer is simple. Take off your blinders and rose colored glasses and look around and make sure everyone you’re dealing with in this Court knows just as much about PAS as you now do after doing your research, talking to me, reading my book and looking at what all the many prominent psychologists in this field have to say about this terrible abuse of your children. If you don’t I can assure you that your heart will be cut right out of you and you will never see your children again.
You should know that at the present time you can view well over 2,000 web sites that are devoted entirely to this subject where you can get the kind of information you need. Once you do this, and you read this book, then you will at least be prepared to go into the court with your eyes wide open and not as hapless little blind mice who can’t see anything. To further help you along with this I have prepared a list of other Do’s and Don’ts you need to take heed of.
WHAT YOU DO AND DON’T DO WHEN AS A LOVING PARENT YOU ARE CONFRONTED WITH A SEVERE CASE OF PAS IN YOUR CHILD OR CHILDREN
DO...take off the gloves and demand prompt and swift action that the Court immediately STOP the abuse of your child. Remind the Court in the strongest terms possible that your child’s life, mental health and their continued on going relationship with you is at stake...AND that if they don’t intervene immediately the chances of ever saving your child and your relationship together will be ZERO.
DO...start to immediately educate yourself, your lawyer, your Judge, your psychologist and your child, if possible, about PAS. This is one of the most widespread forms of emotional child abuse there is arising out of our Family Court system today and there are at least 1,000 Internet web sites for you to obtain information about PAS. So start looking.
DO...fully prepare yourself for your Court presentation about PAS. To do this you should keep good records on your case and print out and make several copies of all the information on PAS you find on these web sites and put them in at least four (4) separate booklets and entitle them.. "URGENT & IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE COURT ON PAS....What you need to know about the abuse of my child to save him/her and myself from a lifetime of pain and suffering". Before you go into Court you should give one of these booklets and any records you have about your case to your lawyer and your psychologist while keeping one for yourself and the Court that you will present to them.
If you have a flair for the dramatic to make your point you can also add a reprint of my web site home page with my daughter’s picture and number of days I have not seen her because of PAS and my Court’s refusal to intervene to stop her PAS abuse. At the top of the page you should also write in big letters ...."WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO THIS COURT...I DO NOT INTEND TO ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME AND MY CHILD/CHILDREN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES"
DO...tell the Court if they don’t act immediately to stop your child’s abuse, you will take your PAS case and all the proof and evidence you provided the Court on your child's PAS condition and go to the local newspapers and T.V. stations...AND... you will post your case and the Judge’s name on all the PAS Internet web sites for the whole world to see how derelict the Court was in not carrying out its responsibility to protect your child from your former spouse’s severe emotional abuse and the permanent destruction of you and your child’s relationship together.
DO...trust your own instincts as a parent to do what is in the best interests of your child when confronted with this PAS problem...AND...if the Court won’t protect your child’s interests, then you will have to protect his/her interests yourself. This you will do by public exposure of your case to the media until the Court does protect your child’s interests as the law requires them to do. It may take a long time but you must never ever give up the fight.
DO...continue to reach out to your PAS affected child no matter how many times they tell you how much they hate you and never want to see you again. While they may say these things to you, the fact is they really don't hate you and actually yearn desperately to see you again, but those feelings are not allowed any expression by the abusing parent.
DO...keep your faith in God and yourself at all times and always take the high road to fight and solve this problem.
DON’T... count on ANYONE to know anything about PAS or to try and help you save your child and your relationship together. Almost all lawyers, Judges, psychologists and Court mediators who are involved in your case KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT PAS...AND...even if they did would probably not give you the time or be able to fully understand your case and how important it is for Court intervention to stop your child’s PAS abuse. In most PAS cases the sad fact is none of these people really care about helping you and your child anyway.
DON’T...delude yourself into thinking that your local Family Court, your Judge, your lawyer, your psychologist or that anyone else but you really wants to look out for and protect the best interests of your child. They all say this is what they want to do, but the truth is they don’t in most cases.
DON’T...trust ANYONE to educate themselves on PAS. This is particularly true about your former spouse, Family Court Judges and Court appointed psychologists. You must do all this research and education about PAS yourself to pass on to all the people involved in your case.
DON’T...allow the Court or let anyone intimidate you. You will be challenged at every turn and told you don’t know what you are talking about when you mention PAS. Many will also tell you that PAS is nothing more than a figment of your imagination and that it has never been proven and doesn’t even exist in the Psychiatric Association’s Bible of mental and psychiatric disorders known as DSM-IV. Some of these people will even further tell you that this was only a "pipe dream" invented by Dr. Richard Gardner to sell his books. DON’T believe a word these people tell you and never give in to their intimidating tactics to discredit you, PAS or Dr. Gardner.
DON’T...allow the Court or anyone else to delay or prolong your Court hearing on this matter. The longer this PAS abuse goes on with your child, the more difficult it will be for you to do anything to stop it...AND...If it goes on for too long without Court intervention (ie. 6 months or more) then your chances of ever re-establishing a normal healthy relationship with your child will start to approach ZERO. With PAS wasted time is your worst enemy.
DON’T...engage in any kind of retaliatory brainwashing PAS abuse of your child yourself. The temptation is always there to "fight fire with fire" when you are being attacked and maligned by your former spouse, BUT DON’T EVER DO IT. REMEMBER what I said before. Always take the High Moral ground for your child and if you want to get angry and verbally attack someone, get angry and attack the people who are doing this to your child. Never get angry at your child for how he/she is behaving or in any other way do anything to further hurt your child. You must be able to walk a fine line always trusting in yourself and your God to see and fight this thing through for the ultimate best interests of your child and yourself.
DON'T...ever GIVE UP no matter how many well meaning and/or not so well meaning people tell you to do so. You will constantly hear people tell you that you should merely give up the fight to save your child from PAS and wait until they grow up and find out for themselves how badly they were abused by your former spouse and the Court. This would be the same as letting your child drown until they learned how to swim themselves. You have a solemn duty to protect your children and thus you cannot ever shirk from that duty no matter what anyone says to the contrary.
Jeremiah 31:15-17...Rachel is weeping for her children; She cannot be comforted for her children, because they are not comforted.
But the Lord says, “Rachel keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work shall be rewarded...and your children shall come back from the land of the enemy.
THE ART OF BRAINWASHING
HOW PAS IS DONE
DEFINITION OF BRAINWASHING
The formulation by design of a set of directions, messages or themes based on a specific belief system directed by one parent or other family member (hereinafter referred to as the alienators) toward the other parent (hereinafter referred to as the target parent) in order to gain some end or goal. These sets of direction, themes or messages are then used by the alienators to negatively influence the thoughts, perceptions, opinions, ideas, values, beliefs, attitudes, feelings, acts and/or behavior of the children toward the target parent.
It is the basic intent of the alienators to control the thoughts and behavior of their children or someone else’s children to operate against the target parent. To accomplish this the alienators puts forth repetitive sets of messages, themes and/or directions designed to damage the child’s
image of the target parent in terms of their moral, physical, intellectual, social, emotional and educational qualities as well as their parenting abilities. Essential in this process is for the alienators to also completely control the flow of information to the child by keeping them totally isolated from the target parent and preventing any competing ideas or information from reaching the child.
1. COMPUTER STYLE PROGRAMMING OF DATA:
An alienator will only allow their own set of directions to assist their child in organizing and interpreting the “data” they are perceiving (as is done in computer programming). For example:
........A child observing a parent who is late for a visitation pickup will receive a set of “Directions” or “instructions” from the alienators that the tardy parent “doesn’t care about the child or they would have been on time for the pickup”. This “programmed instruction message” is nothing more than a purposely implanted code by the alienators for the child to use to interpret the target parent’s lateness as being a clear indication of that parent’s lack of love for the child. No other reason for the lateness such as a traffic jam or accident, or an old habit of lateness or some other reason or circumstance is allowed in the alienators directional code to the child. The directions to the child by the alienators to assist the child to interpret this data simply does not include any of these alternate possibilities..........
2. ISOLATION OF THE CHILD FROM THE TARGET PARENT:
THE “STRIPPING PROCESS”
Physical isolation of the child......The first part of a “stripping process” where an alienator will seek to physically isolate a child from the target parent and/or any other family members of the child for long periods of time to completely shut off any other source of competing or contradictory information and/or beliefs being allowed to flow to the child.
Social, emotional and/or psychological isolation of the child .......The second part of the “stripping process” where the alienators will seek to remove all of the emotional bonds of love and affection that previously existed between the child and the target parent for the purpose of
completely controlling the thinking and behavior of the child themselves. This is usually done at the outset to make it that much easier for the alienators to succeed in their ultimate goal of complete physical isolation of the child from the target parent and/or other family members of the child.
3. REPETITION OF THE MESSAGE:
This is one of the most basic of all alienating and parental brainwashing/programming techniques. Repeating the same thoughts and messages over and over without any meaningful challenge or debate to those messages and thoughts creates a mind set in the child conducive to the goals and objectives of the alienators to destroy the image of the target parent.
4. THE “US” VS. “THEM” MENTALITY:
It is absolutely essential for the alienators to define for the child the group they are in. (ie: “US”, the alienators and the child...and “THEM”, the target parent and/or that parent’s extended family. Once the groups have been defined by the alienators then they will further define the target
parent group, THEM, as ....”unacceptable”, contrary to OUR way of thinking”, “immoral”, “a bad influence”, “poor parents, grandparents, etc.” Littered throughout the language of both the alienated child and the alienators you will often find constant references to the words “WE” and “US” and never the words “I” or “ME”. A typical response from an alienated child will always be
something like....”My father/mother doesn’t understand “US”; or “my mother/father abandoned “US”; or “WE” don’t like it when you are late. The alienated child can never seem to uncouple themselves from the alienating parent or other alienating family members.
5 SOME OTHER BASIC ALIENATING/BRAINWASHING TECHNIQUES:
* THE "DENIAL OF EXISTENCE" SYNDROME
* THE "I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE TARGET PARENT" SYNDROME
* THE "MORALITY PLAY" SYNDROME
* THE “I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO LOVES YOU” SYNDROME
* THE “YOU’RE NOT FIT TO CARE FOR THE CHILD” SYNDROME
* THE "REWRITING OF HISTORY AND REALITY" SYNDROME
* THE "I’M ALL GOOD, THE TARGET PARENT IS ALL BAD" SYNDROME
* THE "THREAT OF WITHDRAWAL OF LOVE" SYNDROME
BEWARE OF YOUR FAMILY COURT SYSTEM IN PAS CHILD ABUSE CASES
JUDGES OF THE FAMILY COURT
A LOOK AT WHAT A GOOD JUDGE SHOULD BE LIKE....
A FABLE.... JUST WHO SHOULD BE OUR MINISTERS OF TRUST?...
Once upon a time there was a wise and good King who wanted to find a loyal subject to fill what he called his highest position of “Minister of Trust”, or as we call them today a “Judge”.
To accomplish this the King called into secret session a meeting of his most trusted advisors to discuss this matter. After a long a spirited debate and discussion of what they should do to find such a trusted person for this important position, they were suddenly interrupted by the Court Jester.
The King suppressed the iritation he always felt when the Court Jester interrupted like this. Then he began to laugh in spite of himself, as the Court Jester started to mimic the sober members of the group beginning first with the Minister of Law.
“Laws are always right, but are they true”, the Jester said to the Law Minister, “You Sir would make this one only for you”.
The Law Minister clenched his teeth in anger. The Jester then hopped in front of the Minister of Human Welfare.
“Be smooth and slick and figure it out...trust takes more than clever clout”, he said to the Human Welfare Minister. The Minister’s body stiffened.
Then the Court Jester gyrated around, jumped up and down and landed right in front of the King, looking him straight in the eye.
“You, my King”, the Jester said, “cannot sift through a screen of mistrust”.
And with that, in a flash he was gone. Everyone in the room was silent for a full two minutes. Finally the King spoke. “We owe the Court Jester a great debt”, said the King. “We have been discussing ways to ensure that our Minister of Trust can himself be trusted.
We want that person to have the right answers, to know the law and to understand about life and human nature”. “While these things are important qualifications for the person we seek, I believe we have omitted the most important qualification of all.....the proven quality of high character. In the end we do not trust knowledge or the law unless it is true and and is administered by a person of high moral code”.
So, the King said to his advisors, “let us change our approach to this problem”. “Instead of looking for someone with great knowledge who thinks they have all the right answers, let us find a person with high moral character who has the courage to ask all the right questions of their moral conscience in every situation of which they may be confronted. In finding such a person, we will then know that they will only make decisions after carefully reflecting on the consequences of their decisions on people’s lives”.
And so it came to pass in this vast Kingdom of this wise King that such a Minister of trust was found and finally chosen....Not because of his knowledge of life or the law, although he had that in abundance, but because of his high moral code of conduct and behavior and his steadfast courage to ask important questions of conscience and for his ability to reflect on the consequences of his decisions on people’s lives.
A LOOK AT SOME GOOD JUDGES AND MINISTERS OF TRUST
A. JUDGE VERNON NAKAHARA
WHAT THIS WELL RESPECTED CALIFORNIA FAMILY COURT JUDGE SAYS ABOUT PAS AND THE ROLE OF THE COURT IN PAS CASES:
Judge Vernon Nakahara in Alameda County, California, served on the family law bench for a year after many years as a criminal court judge (Judge Nakahara provided the material in this section by personal communication to author Deirdre Rand in 1997). When the assignment expired, he elected to continue as the judge for a particularly severe case of PAS. It had taken him several months to grasp the complexities of the case and he was concerned that the case would be set back if a new judge had to go through the process all over again.
Judge Nakahara learned about Gardner’s concept of PAS from the testimony of the court appointed reunification therapist for the child in a severe PAS case. The idea made sense to him and helped to explain some of the divorce family problems he was seeing. Quote from Judge in Shutz v Shutz: "The Court has no doubt that the cause of the blind, brainwashed, bigoted, belligerence of the children toward the father grew from the soil nurtured, watered and tilled by the mother. The Court is thoroughly convinced that the mother breached every duty she owed as the custodial parent to the noncustodial parent of instilling love, respect and feeling in the children for their father. Worse, she slowly dripped poison into the minds of these children, maybe even beyond the power of this Court to find the antidote."
Upon reading the above quote from the judge in Shutz v. Shutz, Judge Nakahara indicated that the description was consistent with his experience. He observed that the alienating parent in more severe PAS usually had significant psychological problems. False allegations of abuse were also more likely to be part of the equation. According to Judge Nakahara, varying degrees of PAS were evident in most of the family law cases he heard, similar to what Gardner and Johnston report. He cautions family law judges to be aware that in addition to the child, professionals upon whom the court relies may also be "brainwashed" by the alienating parent. This includes attorneys, family court services and private counselors. The opinions of various professionals who become involved should not be accepted as authoritative simply because individuals designated as professionals are making them. The opinions of professionals need to be tested and critically evaluated by the court.
Attorneys and parents also need to be held accountable. During his term on the family law bench, Judge Nakahara did not allow the common family law practice of the court relying on attorneys’ representations as to what their client/parents and other witnesses would testify to if called. Similar to criminal cases, he insisted on live testimony so he could test the credibility of witnesses himself. At first, family lawyers in his courtroom were surprised that he expected them to show substantial proof in support of their claims and of the client’s position. They were also surprised by his readiness to impose sanctions. Attorneys quickly learned that they needed to be more careful about their representations in Judge Nakahara’s courtroom and that they would be required to back up their claims.
According to Judge Nakahara, holding parents accountable builds success. Relieving a parent of sanctions builds failure and increases the likelihood that unacceptable behavior will recur. Failure to impose sanctions when sanctions are called for reinforces parents’ disregard for court orders and their belief that they can do as they please. When Judge Nakahara threatened parents with sanctions, he gave them choices: 1) take the child for the sessions; 2) spend a day in jail for each session missed; or 3) if mother continued her refusal to cooperate, custody would be switched to the father. At this point the mother decided to start bringing the child for therapy. In another case, a parent with a pattern of visitation interference was frequently tardy for visitation exchanges. Judge Nakahara required the late parent to pay $ 1 for each minute past the appointed time. He also applied sanctions for such issues as refusal to produce income and expense information, failure to participate in court ordered alcohol treatment and failure to attend the requisite number of anger management classes.
When lesser sanctions failed to produce results, Judge Nakahara did not hesitate to order that a non-compliant parent be taken into custody. The first time he did this on the family bench, it created a "shock wave" throughout the county legal system - it had been five years since a family law judge in the county had imposed this level of sanction. Experience taught Judge Nakahara that five days in jail is the optimum period of time to make a significant impression on a parent who persists in violating and resisting court orders. This is what he calls “enforcing the law”.
B. JUDGE MICHAEL C. CURTIS
Los Angeles Superior Court
WHAT I SEEK TO ACCOMPLISH IN MY COURTROOM
Divorce is a process -- a growing and learning process. When people come to court in the early stages of their divorce they have no knowledge or training about how to go through it unless they have been divorced before. I view my role as judge as not being merely a decider of disputes but as being an educator as well. If I can help divorcing couples get through the divorce process, both legally and emotionally, while avoiding the traps and pitfalls in which I have seen others before them become ensnared, then I consider myself to be fulfilling my role.
On the mornings when new divorce cases come to court I spend about a half hour before cases are called talking to the audience about the process, describing how decisions are made, telling them about Conciliation Court and the importance of going to the mediator with the attitude that they will be able to agree on arrangements for their children rather than brushing off the process and running back to the courtroom to knock heads with each other. I show them examples of other people's case files ranging from thin, inexpensively settled cases to massive, multi-volume contested cases generating attorney fees exceeding $100,000. I ask them to think about whether they would rather spend their money creating that kind of case file or on sending their children to college.
I recognize that they are often bitter, but always in emotional turmoil, worried, nervous, and scared -- both about the court process and about their vision of the future for both themselves and their children. Therefore, I make available to them a reading list I have created containing reviews of a wide variety of books on many topics of interest to divorcing couples. I encourage them to read some cf the books in order to use the divorce process to grow as a person. Among the books I recommend to them are the magnificent Vicky Lansky's Divorce Book for Parents (Signet (l989]) and to help their children with their fears and worries Dinosaurs Divorce (Little, Brown (l986) and Richard Gardner's Boys and Girls Book about Divorce (Bantam (l97O]). A substantial portion of the reading list presents books which are designed to get people to think about their lives.
One very valuable book suggests that we solve life's problems by picking up a mirror with which to examine deeply our own behavior and values and to make positive changes in the only person we can change (ourselves) instead of picking up a magnifying glass with which to 5elf-righteously examine the other person's behavior in order to blame and accuse and to have a "bad object" upon whom to project all of the negative things within our own personalities which we refuse to recognize and come to terms with.
Among the things which I have learned in my years on the bench is that not only is the parties' emotional and legal divorce a process, but so is the creation of appropriate custodial arrangements for the children. It is rarely productive to try to make permanent custody decisions early in the divorce process when the parents and children are at the height of their emotional imbalance -- which is what the proponents of this bill would have us do by rote formula. Custody determinations seem to be best worked out over time as the parents and children settle down and regain stability.
Successful post-separation parenting is an education process as well. We attempt to educate people that the family exists after separation and that it is being transformed into a new shape which still has the same people in different locations and with the possibility of adding more members. That education process into successful post-separation parenting is assisted tremendously by the existing body of California statutory and decisional law which is child-centered and emphasizes frequent and continuing contact with both parents, free access to information about the child, and shared parenting responsibilities.
The proposed bills threaten to seriously disrupt that established body of law -- unnecessarily in my view -- and to make it far more difficult to obtain cooperative parenting from people in the future. WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN THE EAST DISTRICT
I have presided over a domestic relations department in the East District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court (Pomona) since 1986. The East District consistently has the highest or second highest number of domestic filings of all the county branch courts (5,206 for fiscal year 1991-1992, more than many California counties), but our dispositions always meet our filings. We have no backlog. The reason we have no backlog is not because the public is shuttled through the system like cattle, but because we have succeeded, through the educational process I spoke of above, in changing people's expectations and motivations from litigation to settlement. I very clearly set forth for the public my expectation that the majority of them will settle their cases, for their benefit not mine, and the majority of them live up to that expectation.
As a result our local family bar has been transformed from fighting tooth and nail with each other to one with great collegiality and cooperation. They are comfortable with representing their clients' best interests but viewing those best interests to be served better by joint resolution than by exposing their clients to the hazards, pain and expense of litigation. Members of the Family Law bar from a wide geographical area surrounding our courthouse (including practitioners from three counties) take turns as volunteer mediators at our mandatory settlement conferences which frees up the commissioners' time to hear cases which must be litigated.
A smaller but very dedicated group of local Family Law attorneys serve on a panel from which the court appoints attorneys to represent children under Civil Code section 4606 in contested custody matters. Their services are invaluable in assisting the court to fulfill its duty to protect the best interests of the children who come before it. They seek the advice of, and if necessary the appointment of, psychologists to assist them in understanding the children's special needs in complex cases.
The attorneys are usually able to help the parents come to an understanding of their children's needs and the best ways of meeting those needs through cooperative post-separation parenting, heading off many an incipient custody battle with just a brief court appearance or two. They thereby save the parents thousands of dollars of attorney fees and costs and save both the parents and the children the emotional pain and turmoil of a prolonged custody battle. If, however, the parents insist on going forward with a custody battle, the children are represented in it and have someone to shield them from the fallout of the conflict. These attorneys are sometimes paid at their regular rate when the parents can afford it, but quite frequently they serve at reduced rates and sometimes serve pro bono.
The Family Law bench, bar, and clerk's office are currently cooperating with two local battered women's shelters and other community organizations to set up a domestic violence clinic within the courthouse where victims can go for immediate assistance in obtaining restraining orders.
The atmosphere which we have succeeded in creating in our courthouse is threatened to be upset, as it will in all California, if these bills are passed.
THE HIGH COST OF NOT HAVING A GOOD JUDGE IN YOUR PAS CASE
Every day I receive dozens of letters and e-mails from parents who tell me what this PAS problem with their kids has cost them. Here then are some of their typical comments that I will now pass onto you. They say:
1.It will cost you tens of thousands, and in many cases hundreds of thousands, of dollars in legal and professional fees for greedy lawyers and quack psychologists to completely ruin your life.
2. It will cost you your physical and mental health and emotional well being and will bring many of you to the brink of despair, and for some even suicide or attempts at suicide.
3. It will cost you the love, affection and companionship of your children, very possibly forever.
4. It will cost many of you your job and reputation within your community.
5. It will cost you your new marriage or significant other relationship.
6. It will cost your children to lose their mother/father/grandparents/brothers and sisters/aunts and uncles/nieces and nephews/step mothers and step fathers, and in most cases will cause them to also lose their own self pride, dignity and personal self esteem which sometimes leads them into drug and alcohol abuse and other anti-social and destructive behaviors, including suicide.
7. It will cost you many years of excruciating pain and suffering and sleepless nights.
8. It will cost you to lose everything you have including your home/your car/your life savings/your retirement plan/and your kid’s college education money.
9. It will cost many of you to lose your faith and trust in yourself/your God/your country/the law/the legal and Judicial system/the courts/and the medical and mental health professions.
10. And finally it will cost many of you to lose your pride/your dignity/and your ability to function as a normal, healthy and productive human being.
In other words what many of these people are saying to me is that they would rather be dead than have to live with and suffer from all the horrors this system has made them and their children endure for so long. That is the legacy of PAS and that is the legacy of our Family Court system that allows this kind of abuse to go on unchecked, and in many cases they actually support and encourage it to continue on unabated. This, of course, wouldn’t happen if every Judge in America was like Judge Nakahara or Judge Curtis.
HOW TO GET A GOOD JUDGE AND WEED OUT BAD JUDGES....
YOUR OWN FAMILY COURT JUDGE QUESTIONNAIRE
To help you improve your odds that you just might find a Judge like Judge Curtis or Nakahara to decide your PAS case, I have prepared this Family Court Questionnaire for you to use. Because you have a right to recuse (remove) a Judge who has been assigned to your case you should ask the assigned Judge to read and complete this questionnaire before you let he or she hear any evidence in your case. It is important you do this BEFORE you appear before this Judge, or else you may lose this right to have them removed from your case. Along with the questionnaire you should present this Judge with your written request to complete this questionnaire with a letter similar to the following: I took most of this questionnaire from the previous information I just gave you from Judge Curtis.
In as much as the selection and appointment of a Judge to hear and preside over my family law case is one of the most important decisions of my life that could affect myself, my family and my children for many years to come, I would appreciate it if you would kindly read over and respond to this Family Court Judge questionnaire to assist me in making this important decision. Thank you.
*****FAMILY COURT JUDGE QUESTIONNAIRE*****
1. Do you believe that Divorce when it unfortunately comes about is a process -- a growing and learning process that needs the highest degree of knowledge and skill to handle and navigate properly, which most people going through a divorce for the first time don’t have? Yes___No___
2. If so then do you believe then that I must rely on you to posses the skills, training and experience plus the proper Judicial temperament to help people like myself with this growing and learning process? Yes___No___
3. If so will you be willing to provide me with a full written summary of your credentials, education, background and experience in this regard to help people like myself go through this process? Yes___No___
4. Do you believe that when people like myself come to your court in the early stages of our divorce we need a lot of education to help us through this process, and that you are committed to giving us this education. Yes___No___
5. Do you view your role then as a Judge as not being merely an arbitrator and decider of disputes but that of being an educator to all your litigants as well? Yes___No___
6. If so do you believe that you can help divorcing couples get through the divorce process, both legally, financially and emotionally, while avoiding all the traps and pitfalls in which you have seen others before them become entrapped and ensnared? Yes___No___
7. On the mornings of new divorce cases coming before you in your court do you try and spend sufficient time before cases are called talking to the audience about the process, describing how decisions are made, telling them about Conciliation Court and the importance of going to the mediator and divorcing parenting educational classes with the attitude that they will be able to agree on arrangements for their children rather than brushing off the process and running back to the courtroom to knock heads with each other? Yes___No___
8. On the mornings when these new divorce cases come to your court do you also show the audience examples of other people's case files ranging from thin, inexpensively settled cases to massive, multi-volume contested cases generating attorney fees exceeding $100,000? Yes___No___
9. If so do you then ask these people to think about whether they would rather spend their money creating that kind of expensive case file or on sending their children to college? Yes___No___
10. Do you recognize that people seeking a divorce are often angry, bitter, and usually in emotional turmoil, worried, nervous, and scared -- both about the court process and about their vision of the future for both themselves and their children? Yes___No___
11. If you do recognize this will you therefore make available to them a reading list you have created containing reviews of a wide variety of books on many topics of interest to divorcing couples and will you then encourage them to read these books in order to use the divorce process to grow as a person and make sure their children are not negatively affected or harmed during this process? Yes___No___
12. If you do have such a list, what books do you recommend? Please give me your list if you do this and are any of these following books among the books you recommend? Vicky Lansky's Divorce Book for Parents (Signet (1989); and for children of divorce, Dinosaurs Divorce (Little, Brown (1986) and for PAS information Dr. Richard Gardner's Boys and Girls Book about Divorce (Bantam (1970) and A guide to Parental Alienation Syndrome (1995). Yes___No___
13. Do you think it is very important for people to read books like these and others which are designed to get people to think about their lives and their children’s lives, both during and after divorce? Yes___No___
14. Do you think it is extremely harmful, unfair, counter productive and damaging to children and their parents for you to make highly provocative and/or hasty custody and/or visitation contact decisions early on in the divorce process, before you have any solid proven facts, evidence or unimpeachable information about these cases at your disposal, and where the parents and children involved are at the height of their emotional anger, turmoil and imbalance? Yes___No___
15. On the matter of post-separation/divorce parenting do you believe that this is also an educational process and that you must do everything in your power to educate parents and children about this new phase of their lives, and that what you do in your court during the divorce process will have a profound impact on the success of post separation/divorce parenting. Yes___No___
16. In line with this are you convinced that the custody laws of your state are in fact child centered and in conformity with the concept of shared parenting; frequent and unimpeded continuing contact of children with both parents after divorce; free access to information about the child at all times after divorce; and equally shared parenting duties and responsibilities for children.... all of which you agree with and support 100%? Yes___No___
17. Do you believe that your court should not have any case backlogs which can cause long delays and frequent continuances, and do you agree that people in your court should never be shuttled through the system like cattle as many are today due to the massive overcrowding of the Family Court system? Yes___No___
18. Do you believe that you have a solemn duty and responsibility to change people’s expectations and motivations from litigation to settlement in cases that come before you for the best interests of themselves and their children? Yes___No___
19. If so do you believe you have this same solemn duty and responsibility to encourage your local family bar members not to fight tooth and nail with each other, but rather to adopt a spirit of collegiality and cooperation to have these cases settled out of court? Yes___No___
20. If so do you let the members of the local family bar know in no uncertain terms that while they need to be comfortable with representing their clients' best interests, they should try and view those best interests as being much better served by joint resolution of issues rather than by exposing their clients to the hazards, pain and expense of litigation? Yes___No___
21. Along these same lines do you encourage members of the local family bar to take turns as volunteer mediators at your mandatory settlement conferences? Yes___No___
22. On the matter of court appointed psychologists, therapists and GAL’s have you personally talked with each one of these people about what you expect of them, and by so doing have you completely satisfied yourself as to their full competence, knowledge, training and experience to look into and evaluate these difficult and complex cases for you? Yes___No___
23. As Parental Alienation (PA) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) are becoming more and and more of a problem today in the Family Court, have you made sure that both you and all of these mental health professionals and guardians you appoint are up to speed on all the latest information about these particular matters that can so severely affect children in such a harmful and negative way? Yes___No___
24. If so do you believe that local family bar attorneys can help with this problem if they too are brought up to speed on this subject to help the parents they represent come to an full understanding of this problem and how harmful it can be to their children if they engage in this type of parental alienation behavior with them? Yes___No___
25. On the matter of complexity and cost to parents in the divorce process do you believe that the present conduct of Family Law litigation and settlement is much too complicated and has become overly time-consuming and expensive -- too expensive now for the middle class to hire counsel without exhausting a major part of their community estate, and yet too complex for a lay person to proceed without a lawyer? Yes___No___
26. If so do you believe that you should look at yourself as a not just a referee whose duty it is to see that all the rules are enforced and followed and the flames of contentious divorce and child custody disputes are not being continually fanned by willful violations of those rules, but as an educator and mediator to try and heal the wounds and to get parents to open-heartedly and unselfishly view each other with some respect and forgiveness -- to accept each other's flaws and failings and to work to make themselves whole and functioning individuals creating a better life for themselves and their children? Yes___No___
27. If so and along these same lines do you believe that in order for this collegiality and cooperation between divorcing parents to occur it is necessary for you to aggressively enforce the rules of the court, including all of your own court orders, and severely punish any violators of these rules in a manner that will deter them from any further violations ? Yes___No___
28. If so do you make sure everyone knows this when they come before you in court for the first time? Yes___No___
29. On the matter of frequent and unimpeded continuing contact of both parents with their children after divorce do you consider this kind of emotional contact support of children to be just as important to their welfare as the financial support they receive? Yes___No___
30. If you do, will you step in when it becomes necessary to aggressively enforce a parent’s child visitation order with the same kind of enthusiasm and severe punishment that you would use to enforce your child financial support orders? Yes___No___
31. On the matter of these financial child support orders do you believe that because of the obvious and inherent abuses that are frequently taken advantage of in these orders by unscrupulous parents, they should have nothing to do at all with calculating the amount of financial support for a child commensurate with the amount of time a parent gets to spend with their children? Yes___No___
32. If you believe this do you also believe that the amount of financial support you order for a child should be reasonable and in most cases should not exceed 30% of the obligor’s net after tax take home pay each month? Yes___No___
33. Once again for complete clarity on this most important issue of shared parenting do you believe in making sure that the best interests of children are always upper most in your mind above all else, and that the most important of those interests are that all children of divorce have a fundamental right to the love, affection and frequent contact, companionship and financial support of both parents after divorce in exactly the same way they enjoyed such rights before their parents divorced? Yes___No___
34. On another important matter do you believe that any and all accusations of physical child abuse or sexual abuse are issues for the Criminal Courts to address, investigate and rule on and not the Civil Family Courts? Yes___No___
35. If so will you immediately then remand any of these kinds of alleged criminal abuse cases to the District Attorney’s office and the proper Criminal Courts to deal with instead dealing with them yourself? Yes___No___
36. And finally do you believe as a Judge that every citizen of the United States has an absolute right to expect that ALL of their Constitutional rights and liberties be extended to them in your court, including, but not limited to, their right to have a fair and speedy hearing or trial of their case; the right to full due process under the law to face their accusers and to cross examine any testimony and/or witnesses against them; and the right to the full equal protection under the law not to be discriminated against in matter’s of child custody awards or any other matter’s that may come before your court in their case? Yes___No___
WHAT IF YOU HAVE A BAD JUDGE WHO WON’T COMPLETE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE...WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD THEN?
BAD JUDGES AND THEIR COURT’S BETRAYAL OF OUR CHILDREN
Tragically in our Family Court system today we have many serious problems that the people and their elected Government representatives refuse to address or fix. The sad fact is that the incompetence and insensivity of most of these Courts and Judges and the unrealistic demands placed on them has far exceeded their ability to serve the people and the best interests of children of divorcing parents. Consequently we as a society have now arrived at a state of total mistrust and lack of respect for our present Family Court system and most of its Judges and self serving legal practitioners. They don’t even come close to providing the public with any faith and confidence in them to do their jobs properly.
As bad as this situation is, in the general, routine operation of the Court it is absolutely deadly when it comes to these Courts dealing with severe PAS cases. When this happens it is like a war without any kind of a Geneva Convention rules where certain heinous acts of war are strictly outlawed and prohibited. Under Geneva Convention rules of warfare, for example, there are rules that say prisoners of war are supposed to be treated humanely. The wanton killing, torture and rape of innocent civilians constitute war crimes against humanity and people who violate the rules of the Geneva Convention can be prosecuted, tried and executed if it can been proven that they engaged in any of these types of human atrocities.
In the Family Court, however, there are no such rules against such atrocities. In the Family Court if a person abuses their own child to get what they want they are not punished for their crimes. Instead they are rewarded for their crimes. In Family Court if a person lies and cheats and commits a felony for perjury to get what they want they are not punished for their crimes or behavior. They are, instead, rewarded. In Family Court, if a person illegally steals and kidnaps a child away from a parent for the rest of their life to get what they want, and in the process unmercifully abuses and emotionally tortures them, they are not punished for their crimes. They are rewarded for their crimes because the Court thinks this is perfectly acceptable behavior for them to engage in.
In other words in the Family Court it is all the criminals who win and the victims who lose. In the end what is worst of all it is really all the innocent PAS victimized children of divorce who become the biggest losers of all.
On the well know TV show 20/20 a few years back, a well known and highly respected Judge of the Family Court from Cobb County Georgia, by the name of Watson White, said this about these Family Courts today and what is happening to all the children who are placed in Harms way by these Courts. “What is happening to children of divorce today in our Family Courts is worse than drugs, alcohol or even child molestation. These children are being used and abused as pawns and weapons in Family Courts all across America, and I for one am appalled and disgusted”.
What Judge White was talking about can be seen clearly in the following ways in which our Family Courts of today are perceived by divorcing parents and their children because they have no rules of civilized conduct and behavior toward children. In a survey of thousands of divorcing parents that I have conducted over the past nine years the results show clearly that in these Courts the following activities are the rule rather than the exception. For example, I found that in most Family Courts today these bad Judges routinely perform their duties in the following manner where they purposely go out of their way to...
* Abuse most of their litigants and their children on a regular and consistent basis, and despite their loud protestations to the contrary, care very little for the best interests of your children....and this is especially true in severe PAS cases.
* Engage in terribly unfair and blatantly discriminatory practices in determining child custody, visitation and support awards, wherein some 85% to 90% of all child custody awards go to mothers, even though a large percentage of these mothers engage in severe parental alienation of their children toward the non-custodial father.
* Do not follow the law as they are duty bound and legally required to do. Appeals are not an option as they are far too costly for most litigants to afford.
* Encourage and promote lying, cheating, deception and perjury by litigants fighting over control and custody of their children. In allowing and promoting this they severely harm innocent children without any remorse or conscience whatsoever.
* Purposely encourage and promote heightened parental conflict, anger and hostility leading many times to extreme acts of family violence and severe cases of PAS child abuse.
* Go out of their way to divide and destroy many long-standing family, parent and child relationships through their arrogance, ignorance and gross Judicial misconduct.
* Encourage and promote lawyer greed that robs many unsuspecting families and children of much needed financial resources to start a new life after divorce.
* Go out of their way to deny litigants their basic constitutional rights of due process and equal protection under the law.
* Treat financially strapped litigants with utter contempt and disrespect when they are forced to represent themselves in pro per.
* Abdicate their own solemn judicial obligations and responsibilities to grossly unprofessional and unqualified outside mercenary therapists they appoint to make their decisions for them.
* Fail to properly educate litigants and their children as to all the emotional pain and trauma divorce can cause in a family, and especially the pain and suffering of children.
* Fail to properly handle cases in a timely and well thought out manner due to massive court overcrowding, under funding and under staffing.
* Display a great deal of insufferable arrogance, lack of human compassion and insensitivity when they know children and families are being ripped and torn apart but do absolutely nothing to stop it.
* Resist any meaningful change or reform to the court claiming that their court needs no change or reform as they are all doing a good job.
* Are not held accountable to anyone for their mistakes, misconduct, misdeeds, negligence or malfeasance which can and does cause many innocent parents, families and children to suffer a lifetime of irreparable harm and damage.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REFORMS NEEDED TO PREVENT ALL THESE PAS ATROCITIES FROM OCCURING IN THE FAMILY COURT
1. Abolish no-fault divorce immediately.
2. Abolish the adversarial system of dispute resolution in all matters involving child custody, visitation and support immediately.
3. Establish mandatory parenting educational classes, annexed mediation and binding arbitration in place of the adversarial system in all matters involving children.
4. Strictly adhere to basic Constitutional protections of due process and equal protection under the law.
5. Insure that both parents have equal shared parenting of their children after divorce.
6. Change all child custody, support and visitation laws and inflammatory language of divorce (such as the words “custody” and “visitation”) to acknowledge and guarantee this concept of shared parenting and impose harsh penalties for any willful violations of the law.
7. Overhaul the entire failed child support establishment, collection and enforcement system.
8. Appoint more experienced and better-qualified Judges, mediators and mental health professionals and make them accountable for their work and decisions.
9. Invest in a massive upgrading of computer technology capabilities for all Family Court systems’ rules, procedures, record keeping and public education to streamline itself and cut down on time, costs, personnel, red tape and overcrowding.
A LOOK AT SOME REALLY BAD JUDGES
WHO PROMOTE PAS CHILD ABUSE
It has been said that if you took all the robes of all the Judges who ever lived on this earth they wouldn’t be large enough to cover the iniquities of one bad and corrupt Judge. On my web site at www.FamilyCourts.Com I have a section called “THE WORST AND MOST CORRUPT FAMILY COURT JUDGES IN AMERICA. Over the past two years after I first posted my own nominations for these corrupt Family Court Judges, I have also received literally thousands of e-mail replies from people all over the country telling me about their nominations for the worst Family Court Judges in America. Many of these comments interestingly enough mirrored exactly what I had to say about the two bad Judges that I was so unfortunate to have in my case. On my web site I had this to say about these two Judges in my case....
1. JUDGE ROBERT TAYLOR
Palm Springs & Riverside County California....
One of the worst and most incompetent Family Court Judges in America. A man responsible for hundreds of child abuse case victims being allowed to continue living with their abusive parents. Completely ignorant of the law and of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) inculcated in children by alienating and emotionally abusive parents. A Judge who admitted in official court documents and transcripts that he knows nothing about Family Law and so he has to rely on divorce lawyers and court appointed psychologists to help him do his job. In my daughter’s case of severe PAS abuse this man was 100% responsible, not for the abuse itself, but for allowing the abuse to continue on for more than three years. This, of course, led to my daughter’s severe PAS condition which to this day, some nine years later, has never subsided.
Incidentally people in Riverside California will be glad to know that in spite of this man’s criminal contribution to the abuse of my daughter by aiding and abetting her abusers for three years and in spite of his own declarations in Court that he was totally inexperienced in Family Law, he was nevertheless recently appointed as chief Judge of the Family Law Division of the Palm Springs/Riverside Superior Court System. Now what does that tell you about the complete corruption and incompetency of our Family Court system today?
2. JUDGE CORNELIA SHUFORD-HARTMAN
.Indio & Riverside County California
This is a woman who allowed my 12 year old daughter to drive around in a car with a man who had been twice convicted of DUI and had six outstanding arrest warrants against him for speeding at speeds over 100 miles an hour. This was also a woman who allowed my daughter, at the age of twelve, to dictate to me whether or not she would obey me or for that matter even see me. This was after I demanded a court order mandating that she see me and obey me as her father when I forbid her from driving in a car with this man.
This woman was a former commissioner of the Indio California Family Court who was found to have engaged in serious judicial and personal misconduct in the discharge of her duties. Reprimanded by the court and subsequently reassigned to the Juvenile court where she currently, (and to no one’s great surprise), received more complaints against her than any other Judge in the entire Riverside County Superior Court System combined.
This is also a woman who was married three times, had a long history of closet alcohol abuse, and whose own children had been constantly in trouble with the law. In addition she became the subject of a number of other serious misconduct investigations by the court for the many complaints lodged against her. She was also found by the Court to be extremely lazy, abrasive while failing to carry out her duties on the court in a timely and proper manner. She was also known to have ordered the sole custody of severely abused children back to their abusing parents and sported a well known reputation for discriminating against fathers in child custody disputes. In my case this woman also aided and abetted in my daughter’s PAS abuse by failing to stop it from happening when she should have and could have. In short this is a woman who shouldn’t even be allowed near any courthouse, let alone be allowed to be a Family Court Judge.
3. Judge Christopher Munch
District Court, Jefferson County, Colorado
Another candidate for your bad judge list is Christopher Munch in the First Judicial District in Jefferson County, Colorado.
"He fails to enforce court orders requiring disclosure of assets. He is known far and wide for absolutely refusing to grant a continuance for any reason. He proceeds even though discovery cannot be completed due to failing to enforce motions to compel and for sanctions. He interprets rules and laws to suit his understanding. Hearings are cut short because he has to go to a meeting.
"He ignores marital debts paid by the husband and then makes him pay the wife's debts as well. Refuses to divide assets [equitably] as prescribed by law if it is the woman who has the greater assets in her retirement account. He combines trivia with arrogance and regards it as intelligence.
4. Judge Morris Sandstead
District Court Judge, 20th Judicial District
Reports from litigants indicate Judge Sandstead is biased, arrogant, yells at litigant-parents in court, fails to pay attention, confuses the identities of witnesses – generally a family court burnout case.
5. Judge Cheryl L. Post
District Court, 18th Judicial District
An impeachment inquiry was attempted in 1998 in the Colorado House of Representatives against Judge Post, but the House ignored the citizen-father's Petition. The intended inquiry concerned extensive violations of father's constitutional and statutory rights in a post-decree "custody" and visitation action. The affidavit supporting the Petition for Impeachment submitted to the State House listed almost 20 discrete violations of U.S. and State Constitutional protections and numerous flagrant violations of statutory law. Needless to say, the children in the case before Judge Post continue to suffer from the legacy of her brand of "justice."
The father will try again in the 2000 Session of the Legislature. Judge Post's flagrant violations of the Constitutions of both the U.S. and Colorado, and statutory law, should disqualify her from ever practicing law in the United States, let alone sitting in "judgment" of an innocent father and his children.
6. Judge J. Michael Bollman
San Diego Superior Court
San Diego, California
"Judge Bollman ignored the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, free speech and privacy and all local rules and California law in his mad dash to bow before this power elite attorney, a phenomenon prevalent in San Diego courts. He later admitted that he acted knowingly acted unlawfully and commented that if the father didn't like it he should do something about it (finally, a court order the father could happily comply with). Judge Tobin had specifically retained jurisdiction over this case but that was swept aside and little things like due process and equal protection weren't given even lip service."
7. Hon. Richard Hunter
Former chief judge of the King's County (Brooklyn) Family Court
Prominent member of the New York State Commission on Child Support
Judge Hunter on fathers:
"You have never seen a bigger pain in the ass than the father who wants to get involved; he can be repulsive. He wants to meet the kid after school at three o'clock, take the kid out to dinner during the week, have the kid on his own birthday, talk to the kid on the phone every evening, go to every open school night, take the kid away for a whole weekend so they can be alone together. This type of father is pathological."
Quoted in "The Fathers Also Rise," New York Magazine, November, 18, 1985.
8. Judge Herbert L. Stern
District Court, 2nd Judicial District
Judge Stern executed on an illegal contempt order entered by a prior, incompetent judge, and threw a father of two children in jail for an alleged credit card debt to a former wife incurred while the couple was still married. Colorado law establishes unequivocally that imprisonment for contract debt is illegal. Judge Stern yelled at the self-represented father in court, insulted him, and had him hand-cuffed in front of his wife and led away, all for a credit card debt which he had ALREADY PAID. Judge Stern represents state justice run amok.
Bad Family Law Judges Destroy Families and Children's Lives
DO ANY OF THESE COURTS OR JUDGES CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN? SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF.
* When all these Judges can go home at night after work and play ball with their sons or cuddle up with their daughters, do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t do the same with your sons and daughters because of their gross Judicial neglect and ignorance?
* When all these Judges can also go home at night to help their children with their homework and maybe watch some TV or play a game with them, do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t do any of these things with your children because of them?
* When all these Judges can go out trick or treating with their children on Halloween or go camping and fishing with them on weekends, do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t do the same with your children because of them?
* When all these Judges can go to the movies and shopping or to a ball game or a school play with their children, do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t do any of these things with your children because of them?
* When all these Judges can celebrate their children’s birthdays with them, as well as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and other important holiday times together as a family do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t celebrate any of these birthdays and holidays together with your children as a family because of them?
* When all these Judges can take their children to church or synagogue every week to help them in their spiritual education and training do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t take your children to do the same thing because of them?
* When all these Judges can involve themselves in their children’s academic education and school life to help them learn and grow do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t do the same with your children because of them?
* When all these Judges can be there for their children when they might need some fatherly or motherly advice and comfort do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t be there when your children might need the same because of them?
* When all these Judges can be there for their children when they are sick or troubled and in need of a shoulder to cry on do they give any thought or care about the fact that you can’t be there for your children like this when they need you to be because of them?
* When all these Judges can go on family outings, picnics and vacation trips with their children do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t do the same with your children because of them?
* When all these Judges can celebrate and enjoy important family occasions like school graduations, weddings, Christenings, Bar or Bas Mitzvahs or the birth of a new baby or grandchild do they give any thought or care to the fact that you can’t enjoy any of these things with your children because of them?
* When all these Judges can look forward to many happy years being close to their children as adults do they give any thought or care to the fact that you will never be able to do the same with your adult children because of them?
* When all these Judges would suffer great heartache and pain over the loss of one or more of their children, do they give any thought or care one bit about all the same heartache and pain you would suffer over the loss of any of your children because of them?
Okay.... what do you think now about what you are about to do or have done in your divorce case to let one of these Family Court Judges decide the fate of you and your children? Can you trust them to look upon their job and their decisions in the proper manner or do you have some questions and reservations about them? Questions and reservations that I wish I would have had when I walked into my Family Court room nine years ago and was presented with the two of the worst Judges in the history of the American Judicial system. I should have thought about this then, and not nine years later, after all the kidnapping and abuse of my daughter had taken place, and because of these two terrible Judges I have now lost her from my life forever?
THE BEST INTERESTS OF PAS CHILDREN
TOP TEN RULES TO COMBAT JUDICIAL ARROGANCE & IGNORANCE ABOUT PAS
You always hear Judges and psychologists say, “We only want to do what’s in the best interests of children, or as its called, BIC”. So what is this BIC anyway and how does it apply to PAS abused and affected children? Well under normal circumstances I always believed that no matter what parents do either in their married life or in their divorce and after divorce life they had one main responsibility to their children. They made sure that they were given the best possible life and upbringing they could give them. This meant that they gave them all the love and affection they could when they needed it and whatever discipline they required when they needed it. It didn’t mean that they would forego these responsibilities and engage in an all out civil war for their control and custody when they got divorced, which is what far too many divorcing parents do today.
So if this is what looking out for the best interests of your children is all about, then what do you do when all of this falls apart. By falling apart, I mean that instead of instilling love and respect in your children for each other as a parent, either before or after the divorce, one of you spends every waking moment instilling hatred and disrespect in your children toward the other. What do you do, and what does the Court do when this happens?
From my experience with the Family Court and all its practitioners they do nothing to look out for your children’s best interests under these circumstances. How can they if they know nothing about this type of PAS scourge that takes place every day in their Courtrooms? This is exactly what the problem with PAS is today for parents and children who are its victims. Nobody knows anything so nobody does anything. Let me show you what I mean.
Ten years ago one of my children was subjected to a relentless campaign of premeditated PAS brainwashing and emotional child abuse at the hands of her mother and her mother’s then convicted felon attorney. Unfortunately at the time no one, including me, had ever heard of this kind of PAS abuse before. The two Judges in my case never heard of it. The two psychologists in my case never heard about it, and of course, I never heard about it.
So what was the end result of all this ignorance about this terrible disorder in children, and more specifically in my own child back then ten years ago? I have never seen her or spoken one word to her since, and neither have any of her other family members, including her two brothers and her sister, her only paternal aunt, her now deceased paternal grandmother, or any of her now nine brand newly born nieces and nephews. Does that sound like the best interests of my daughter were served over these last ten years?
After repeated attempts by me to have all those people in the Family Court who were responsible for this tragedy say something to me in the way of an apology for all their ignorance and complicity in what happened to my daughter and to me and her entire family, all I could get from them was this. In an e-mail to me from one of the high officials of the Court several years ago he said to me, and I quote “I know that the Judge in your case regrets what happened to you and your daughter and has expressed to me that had he known then what he knows now about PAS, things would have turned out much differently”. Now isn’t that nice.
So what should I tell people now when they write me and tell me their Judge and their psychologist and their guardian ad litem, and their attorney, and their spouses attorney don’t know anything about PAS, and when they try and tell them about it all they do is shut them up? What should I tell these people?
Well here is a condensed version of what I tell them. In addition to my list of DO’s and DON’Ts that you have read previously, I also give them my TEN (10) most important rules about what to do about bad Judges, attorneys and psychologists when they are confronted with a PAS situation with their children. I call this... “My Top Ten Rules to Combat Judicial Ignorance”. Follow my rules and you have a chance of saving and protecting your children from PAS. Ignore my rules and you don’t stand a chance of protecting them and saving them. Here now then are my rules.
RULE 1. Read over and sign my Universal Parenting Agreement (UPA) and Rules of Conduct and Behavior with your children after divorce, and give you children each a copy of my Children of Divorce Bill of Rights to read if they are old enough. Copies of these are contained in the appendix at the end of the book.
RULE 2. You should then send a signed copy of this agreement to your Judge, your lawyer, your spouse and your spouse’s lawyer and any and all Court appointed psychologists or GAL’s assigned to your case. You do this as your solemn commitment to everyone as to how you intend to act and behave in your case with your children.
RULE 3. Once you have done this you then ask for a similar written statement of commitment from your spouse along with a written statement from your Judge, your attorney, your spouse’s attorney and any other person involved in your case appointed by the Court, stating that each of them has been thoroughly schooled and trained in the handling of severe PAS cases. (See my Family Court Judge Questionnaire)
RULE 4. If any one of these people refuse or are unable to give you such a written statement, then you should immediately ask for their prompt removal from your case. You simply cannot afford to have anyone even remotely involved in your case who will not make this kind of a written commitment to you that they are qualified enough to handle such a PAS case as yours.
RULE 5. If anyone disputes your right to make such a request of them, you should then make both your request and their refusal to honor your request a part of the written Court record along with the following statement..... “that as a parent you have every moral, legal and ethical right to make such a request and that based upon those rights you intend to file an immediate appeal to a higher court that any and all court orders that they may want to issue in your case be declared null and void and unconstitutional because of their refusal to honor your request.
You should know that The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld your Constitutional right as a parent to make sure your children’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, or as we call it their “best interests” are properly served and protected in all the Courts of this land. Making sure you have people in your Court who have the knowledge and the training and the experience to serve and protect those rights of your children is exactly what the Supreme Court had in mind when it made this ruling on your behalf as a parent.
RULE 6. If you do obtain these written statements of competency from everyone from the Court involved in your PAS case, then proceed to follow rules number seven (7) through ten (10) exactly as I have stated them.
RULE 7. Do not under any circumstances allow anyone from the Court or anywhere else, like your ex-spouse, to separate you and your children for any longer than two (2) weeks at the most. This rule is critical for you to follow and for the Court to follow and vigorously enforce in any PAS case.
RULE 8. Keep copious notes about any and all events and activities that you feel conform to the classic behaviors of PAS abusing parents and behaviors and symptoms of PAS abused children. You will need these notes to show to your attorney, the Court and/or your Court appointed psychologist and/or GAL that this kind of behavior is not in keeping with the Court’s or your commitment and objective, or your spouse’s commitment and objective if they have made one, of doing what is in the best interests of your children.
RULE 9. Make sure that whenever possibly you try and document your notes with some form of proof as to any of these PAS behaviors in your children and their alienating parent, if there are any. Things like police reports you have had to file showing purposeful and willful interference with you court ordered visitation, derogatory remarks made about you by your ex-spouse or children in front of others or on home or business answering machines, interference with being able to obtain your child’s school or medical records that can be documented and attested to by others. The list is virtually endless of all the things that go on in PAS cases that you can obtain some concrete proof and corroboration of to show the court what is really going on in your case.
RULE 10. Do everything in your power to fully cooperate with the Court and anyone else the Court asks or appoints to try and get to the truth about your PAS case. This is very important for you to do so as to try and bring your PAS case to a successful resolution in the shortest amount of time possible. If you truly want the best interests of your children to be served and protected then you will do everything humanly possible to bring this about as quickly as you can and with as much cooperation as you can.
PAS LEGAL CITATIONS AND ORGANIZING YOUR PAS MATERIAL AND INFORMATION FOR YOUR JUDGE AND OTHERS
Written by: Kathleen Thomas, A victimized PAS mother
One of the major problems I encountered when explaining my case to an attorney so he could explain it to the Judge was not being able to keep date, times and locations of events organized in my mind. I could tell him “when I call the kids, I get hung up on” or “One time, my ex was a full hour late dropping the kids off” but I could only tell him that it happened sometime in March or earlier this year. Specifics are what your attorney will need to give him/her an extra edge in the courtroom with your Judge. Organizing this material is not difficult but it does entail a little effort. That effort is well worth it and can make a world of difference in court. A Judge will listen (you hope) more closely to testimony that includes specific dates and times and can be supported by proof (like phone bills or cancelled checks). Organizing your own material will also save you a fortune in legal bills. The more research your attorney has to do, the more hours you will pay for.
Below is a fairly simple way to keep track of the information your attorney may need. You will need to buy a three ring binder (at least a 1” or more) and a set of dividers (get a 10 section set, just to be safe). If you are making notes on the computer, you will need a three-hole punch.
Section 1 (Summary Overview)
First, include a copy of your original divorce decree. Behind that write specific orders from the decree and explained how your ex is not living up to the agreement.
For example if the order states:
“each parent shall claim one child as a dependent for tax purposes”
On your summary sheet, write the exact phrasing from the decree (with page and paragraph numbers noted) and you may add something like:
My ex has claimed both of the children for each of the two years following our divorce.
Go through each applicable section of the decree (or any other order from the court that would apply to the situation) following the above example.
This general overview allows your attorney to quickly become familiar with the case. Remember that your attorney can only be as good as the information that you provide to him/her. This summary gives him/her the reasons to file a motion to change custody or a motion for contempt of court.
Section 2 (Telephone visitation)
In this section, keep a record of all attempted telephone visits with your children. This is a time that can often be very stressful and conversations or arguments can seldom be proved one way or the other. That is why accurate records of this time are so important.
I use the following format to record phone-time. This is for example only.
Make note of any conversation with ex or children. Note tone of voice. Use as many specific quotes as possible if there is a disagreement with ex during this time.
Make a note of the message you left. I always leave my phone number on the message (even though I know he knows it) and try to sound as polite as possible.
If a phone call to your children is long-distance, also keep a copy of your telephone bills in this section to further corroborate to your notes. You may also want to record you calls. If you are doing this, make sure to let your ex know (tell them while recording “this call is being taped” or “I am taping our conversation”). This will give you a better chance to get the tapes introduced as evidence. Talk to your attorney about specific requirements on taping conversations in your state.
Telephone points to keep in mind
1) Always be cordial. Remember, even if you are not keeping notes, your ex may be. Don’t lose your temper on the telephone and say things that you will later regret. It may come back to haunt you.
2) Never threaten. This is completely counter-productive and unnecessary. Depending on the threat, it could also be illegal.
3) DO NOT tell your ex what you are planning to say or use in court. This is a mistake I made during my divorce. This only gives your ex time to plan a counter-attack. If there is anything that needs to be said about your case, your attorney will take care of it.
Section 3 (Transitions)
In this section, make note of everything that occurs during times of transition (drop-offs or pick-ups). Note the condition of the children, the attitude of the children, articles that are sent with the children (clothes, toys or medicine), the time and location of the transition and any conversation that takes place. If an argument takes place, make careful notes and include as many specific comments as possible.
During a transition, every discussion or action is taking place in front of your children and will have an impact on their opinion of the situation, so remain as calm as possible.
March 25, 2001
McDonalds on 5th street in Anywhere
Met at McDonalds to pick the kids up. Ex started yelling at me about a medical bill that has not yet been paid. I tried to explain that I had not received a bill and he/she should just give me a copy of it so I could take care of it. He/she threatened not to let me see the kids again until the bill was paid. I asked him/her again to give me a copy of the bill. He/she said to get it from the doctor. I will take care of that this week.* The kids were crying when we left. When we got home, I noticed that “child’s” medication was not in the suitcase and there were no jackets for the kids to go outside in.
*If there is a note in your report that relates to something you will be “taking care of” later this week. Note the day you took care of it. If it is a bill to pay, include a copy of the payment check.
Section 4 (Ex Interaction and Behavior)
This section is to note anything that your ex does to specifically exclude you from your child’s activities. If there is a school event that you are not informed of or if you are informed but given the wrong date. If you find that you are not listed as the father/mother on the child’s school or medical records. If you are not provided with insurance or doctor information. Any of this would be applicable in this section.
Also, if you are not on the child’s medical or school records as a parent, get copies of these records as proof.
Other things to note in this section
1) Any medical treatment your child has received that you have not been informed of (within a reasonable time or if you were informed by the children and not the other parent).
2) Any demands your ex has placed upon you that are contrary to the divorce decree.
3) Any individual your ex has gossiped about you to (include name, address and phone number)
4) Any major change (address, phone number) your ex has made without informing you
5) Any suggestions to change your child’s last name
6) Any requests for you to sign over your parental rights
7) Any other behavior or action that is not in the “spirit” of your custody agreement
Always remember to collect as much documentation as possible. Include also how you found out the information and any possible witnesses to the behavior.
Section 5 (Expert Opinions)
Use this section to record any expert evaluation of your children or doctor visits regarding PAS. You will, of course, also want your child’s doctor to testify in court but this will give your attorney a good idea of what that testimony will contain.
Section 6 (False Abuse Allegations)
In this section, keep records of any abuse allegations made against you, any DHS investigations and determinations. If there is a hearing, keep a record for yourself of what each witness testified to and specifically what the children said (if they testified)
Section 7 (Child Comments and Behavioral Pattern)
In this section, make careful notes of negative comments about you that are coming from you child. If possible, find a witness that can verify that the child is making these comments. Save any e-mails or letters from the child that will demonstrate their altered opinion of you. If possible, compare these letters to older letters that will demonstrate the child’s change in mindset to the court. Also, get as much information as possible regarding changes in the child’s behavior in school, church, social or extra-curricular activities. Teachers, coaches or ministers are good sources of information in this case.
Keep a record of any disrespectful behavior from the child directed toward you. Note what the cause of the situation was, the child’s behavior and the manner in which it was dealt with. (example: Johnny started throwing a fit in the department store, so I refused to buy him a toy. He started screaming and hitting me. I promptly took him home and sent him to his room (alone and with no television) for an hour.)
Get as much documentation as possible and always try to note (or ask witnesses to note) exact phrases that the child uses. Keep the names, addresses and telephone numbers or anyone you have notes from, just in case your attorney decides to contact them.
Additional Section Suggestions
1) Any previous sign of PAS in your ex. (example: If your ex was separated from a parent during childhood)
2) Current or previous relationships (since your divorce) that your ex has been involved in and hidden from you (example: live-in girlfriend/boyfriend)
3) Daycare or Baby-sitters that you are not kept informed of or that do not allow you to have contact with your children.
4) Property Destruction
5) Threats made against you
Each situation is different, there may be some headings above that are applicable to your situation or you may have to come up with some of your own if your case has a unique twist.
There are a few things to remember during this process.
1) Stay calm. You are not the only person in the world this has happened to. You are not an evil person and you do have the right to visit with your children. You are fighting for what is right because your children will suffer for not being able to develop a healthy relationship with both parents.
2) Do not attempt to openly retaliate. This will only reinforce any bad opinions of you that your children are beginning to form. Allow your attorney to take care of anything that will appear negative (they don’t have to raise your kids after this is over).
3) Do not get angry with your children. They are also the victims in this ordeal. They are being taught a negative impression of you just like they are taught ABC’s or Mathematics. Children are little sponges and will absorb any available information. They have no control over the situation.
4) Keep notes of everything. Write reports as quickly as possible after an event so everything will still be fresh in your mind. Use as many direct quotes as possible.
5) Educate your attorney. They studied law, not psychology. Provide them with a brief summary of what PAS is and how it relates to your case. Give them access to your child’s therapist (if one is available) to answer any questions that you may not be able to.
6) Become familiar with your state laws relating to child custody. Some states have already addressed the issue of PAS and some have not.
7) Do not argue with your ex. This can accomplish nothing but providing your ex with more ammunition to use against you. If you must disagree, do it calmly. If you get no response from a calm, rational voicing of a concern, add it to your notes to use in court.
8) Do not expect too much. Don’t expect your ex to tell the truth in court and don’t be shocked when they don’t. Don’t expect your attorney to understand every detail of your case or to recall it instantly. Don’t expect that a judge will believe you just because you are telling the truth. You must back yourself up as much as possible.
9) Take mental health breaks. This is a very stressful time to any parent. Make sure to take time for yourself and allow for stress breaks. This will keep you healthy and mentally alert.
LEGAL CITATIONS ABOUT PAS TO SHOW YOUR JUDGE & ATTORNEY
Testimony concerning Parental Alienation and the Parental Alienation Syndrome that has been admitted in courts of law in many states and countries
· Coursey v. Superior (Coursey), 194 Cal.App.3d 147,239 Cal.Rptr. 365 (Cal.App. 3 Dist., Aug 18, 1987. The Court finds that the mother, Loretta Coursey, has induced such animosity of their daughter toward their father, Eugene Coursey, that the child now suffers with parental alienation syndrome, and refuses to visit her father. The Court, therefore, fines the mother $500 and sentences her to five (5) days in jail. The order, however, is stayed as long a the mother successfully completes scheduled visitations of their daughter with the father. The Court also orders Loretta Coursey to pay Eugene Coursey $1,000 for attorney fees. (COURSEY V. COURSEY Sutter County Superior Court (California) No. 33254 August 18,1987)
· Schultz v. Schultz, 522 So.2d 874, 13 Fla L. Weekly 387 (Fla. App. 3 Dist., Feb 09, 1988). Reference is made here to the parental alienation syndrome and the inculcation of the children's alienation by the mother. The Court threatened "the severest penalties this Court can impose, including contempt, imprisonment, loss of residential custody, or any combination thereof if the mother did not comply with this Court's order to cease and desist from her "slowly dripping poison into the minds of the children" rather than to instill love and respect for the father.On appeal the Florida Third District Appeals Court ruled that the Judge had acted properly and that there were no grounds for the mother's appeal. (SCHUTZ V. SCHUTZ, 467 So. 2nd 407 Fla. 4th DCA 1985)
· In interest of T.M.W., 553 So.2d 260, 14 Fla. L. Weekly 2733, (Fla.App. I Dist., Nov 28, 1989).
· Rosen v. Edwards (1990) Tolbert, J. (1990), AR v. SE. New York Law Journal, December 11:27-28.(The December 11, 1990 issue of The New York Law Journal [pages 27-28] reprinted, in toto, the ruling of Hon. J. Tolbert of the Westchester Family Court in Westchester Co.)
· In re Violetta 210 III.App.3d 521, 568 N.E2d 1345, 154 III.Dec. 896(Ill.App. I Dist Mar 07, 1991).
· Karen B v. Clyde M., Family Court of New York, Fulton County, 151 Misc. 2d 794; 574 N.Y. 2d 267, 1991.
· Stuart-Mills, P. v. Cher, A.J.., Sup. Ct. Quebec, Dist. of Montreal, No. 500-12-184613-895 (1991).
· Sims v. Hornsby, 1992 WL 193682 (Ohio App. 12 Dist., Butler County, Aug 10 1992).
· Toto v. Toto, No. 62149, Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, Cuyahoga County, 1992.
· Krebsbach v. Gallagher, Supreme Court, App. Div., 181 A.D.2d 363; 587 N.Y.S. 2d 346, (1992). “Interference with the relationship between a child and a noncustodial parent by the custodial parent is an act so inconsistent with the best interests of the child as to per se raise a strong probability that the offending party is unfit to act as a custodial parent” (Leistner v Leistner, 137 A.D.2d 499, 524 N.Y.S.2d 243; see also, Matter of Krebsbach v Gallagher, 181 A.D.2d 363, 366, 587 N.Y.S.2d 346)
· In re Marriage of Rosenfeld, 524 N.W. 2d 212 (Iowa App., Aug 25 1994) McCoy v. State 886 P.2d 252 (Wyo.,Nov 30, 1994).
· McCoy v State of Wyoming, 886 P.2d 252, 1994.
· Sidman v. Zager, Family Court, Tompkins County, NY: V-1467-8-9-94.
· Truax v. Truax, 110 Nev. 437, 874 P. 2d 10 (Nev., May 19, 1994).
· Blackshear v. Blackshear, Hillsborough County, FL 13th Jud. Circuit: 95-08436.
· Conner v. Renz, 1995 WL 23365 (Ohio App. 4 Dist., Athens County, Jan 19, 1995).
· State v. Koelling, 1995 WL 125933 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., Franklin County, Mar 21, 1995).
· Lubkin v. Lubkin, 92-M-46LD Hillsborough County, NH. (Southern District, Sept. 5, 1996).
· Blosser v. Blosser, 707 So. 2d 778; 1998 Fla. App. Case No. 96-03534.
· Case v. Richardson, 1996 WL 434281 (Conn. Super.,Jul 16, 1996).
· In re John W., 41 Cal.App.4th 961, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 899; 1996.
· Tucker v. Greenberg, 674 So. 2d 807 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996).
· In re Marriage of Janelle S. v. J.R.S., Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District 4. 1997 Wisc. App. LEXIS 1124 (1997).
· Johnson v. Johnson, 4806-11508A. Queen's Bench of Alberta (Canada), Judicial District of Letheridge/Macleod, Oct. 8, 1997.
· Johnson v.Johnson, Appeal No. SA1 of 1997 No.AD6182 of 1993, 7 July 1997 (Australian case).
· Ange, Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1998 Va. App. Lexis 59 (1998).
· Metza v. Metza, Sup. Court of Connecticut, Jud. Dist. of Fairfield, at Bridgeport, 1998 Conn. Super. Lexis 2727 (1998).
· Pisani v. Pisani, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 8th App. Dist. Cuyahoga Cty. 1998 Ohio App. Lexis 4421 (1998).
· Pathan v. Pathan, Case No. 96-OS-1. Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County, OH, Div. of Dom Rel.
· In re Marriage of Valerie Edlund v. Gregory Hales, 66 Cal. App 4th 1454; 78 Cal. Rptr. 2d 671.
· Popovice v. Popovice, Court of Common Pleas, Northampton Cty, PA. Aug 11, 1999, No. 1996-C-2009.
· Waldrop v. Waldrop, in Chancery No. 138517. Fairfax County Circuit Court,(Va., April 26, 1999).
· Oosterhaus v. Short, District Court, County of Boulder (CO), Case No. 85DR1737-Div III.
· White v. White, 655 N.E.2d 523 (Ind.App., Aug 31, 1995).
· Zigmont v. Toto, 1992 WL 6034 (Ohio App. 8 Dist Cuyahoga County, Jan 16, 1992).
· Berg-Perlow v. Perlow, 15th Circuit Court, Palm Beach County, Fl.,Case no. CD98-1285-FC. Mar 15, 2000.
(An exceptionally strong family court decision in which five experts testified to the diagnosis of PAS.)
· Tetzlaff v. Tetzlaff, Civil Court of Cook County, Il., Domestic Relations Division, Cause No. 970 2127, Mar 20, 2000.
· CASE OF ELSHOLZ v. GERMANY European Court of Human Rights, July 13, 2000
(an important decision, click on link http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/legal/internat/elsholz.htm to view the decision in its entirety.)
Other Important Legal Citations
having to do with Parental Alienation and PAS
In SCHWARTZ V. SCHWARTZ, (1 Dept 1965) 23 A.D. 2d 204, 259 N.Y.S. 2d 751, the Court states: “Procedures in Family Court should as consistently as possible conform to the spirit of the CPLR without necessarily importing the punctiliousness or complexities and technical requirements thereof; the procedure is to be used as a working tool and not impediment to the function of Family Court.”
“Best interests of child lie in his being nurtured and guided by both natural parents. TWERSKY V. TWERSKY, (2 Dept 1984) 103 A.D. 2d 775, 477 N.Y.S. 2d 409
“Visitation is not only a joint right of a parent and child, but it is also in the best interests of child to have a meaningful relationship with his or her father. LYNG V. LYNG, (4 Dept 1985) 112 A.D. 2d 29, 490 N.Y.S. 2d 940
“A trial judge abuses his or her discretion if he or she renders a decision that is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the court or the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom.” PRENATT V. STEVENS (1992) 4th Dist. Ind.App., 598 N.E.2d 616, 619; WALKER V. WALKER (1989) 4th Dist. Ind.App., 539 N.E 2d 509, 510
“Custodial parent has an affirmative duty to assure that visitation occurs.” SPENSER V. SPENSER, 1985, 128 Misc 2d 298, 488 N.Y.S. 2d 565 (emphasis added).
“Change of child custody is appropriate if the custodial parent’s conduct deliberately frustrates, denies, or interferes with the other parents visitation rights.” VICTOR L. V. DARLENE L. (1 Dept 1998) ___ A.D. 2d ___, 674 N.Y.S. 2d 371 (emphasis added).
“The law, at a minimum, requires custodian of illegitimate child to do something to encourage and foster relationship between child and non-custodial parent to aid in gaining visitations; custodian may not simple remain mute and passive and in so doing impede visitation.” JOYE V. SCHECHTER, 1983, 118 Misc 2d 403, 460 N.Y.S. 2d 992 (emphasis added)
“Mother of illegitimate child, who had done nothing to encourage visitation or to foster a relationship between child and her father, failed to take any steps to cure hate that was instilled in child, and, due to her admitted strong persistent anti-visitation attitude, would not voluntarily encourage visitation, could be found in violation of visitation order despite her contention that no proof of negative action on her part was established.” JOYE V. SCHECHTER, 1983, 118 Misc 2d 403, 460 N.Y.S. 2d 992 (emphasis added)
“Termination of biological parents’ visitation rights with child, on ground that visitation caused child anxiety and emotional distress, was not supported by record..” MCCAULIFFE V. PEACE, (3 Dept 1991) 176 A.D. 2d 382, 574 N.Y.S. 2d 528
“In child custody case, where future of child is at stake, the determination of which parent ought to be awarded custody ought not to rest upon failure of proof or even solely upon proof adduced if proof is in any way unsatisfactory or deemed unreliable.” CORNELL V. HARTLEY, 1967, 54 Misc. 2d 732, 283 N.Y.S. 2d 318
“Critical question of child custody should not be decided upon limited evidence such as testimony of parties and child when independent evidence could be obtained in near future through reasonable efforts of the parties and auxiliary services of court system.” GIRALDO V. GIRALDO, (1 Dept 1982) 85 A.D. 2d 164, 417 N.Y.S. 2d 785
“A parent, even if divorced, has a natural right of access to child in other parties custody, and such right should be denied only under exceptional circumstances in recognition of paramount consideration of child’s welfare.” HORNER V. HORNER, 1944, 184 Misc. 2d 989, 49 N.Y.S. 2d 720
“Objection of minor children to visitation did not warrant completely depriving father of visitation.” BENJAMIN V. BENJAMIN (2 Dept 1985) 114 A.D. 2d 395, 494 N.Y.S. 2d 38.
“A child’s expressed desire to live with one parent is not exclusively determinative of long-term best interest of the child.” JONES V. PAYNE (3 Dept. 1985) 113 A.D. 2d 968, 493 N.Y.S. 2d 650
“While the Court may consider the wishes of a child, the child's desires are not controlling.” OBEY V. DEGLING, 37 NY2d 768, 375 NYS2d 91 (1975); EBERT V. EBERT, 38 NY2d 700, 382 NYS2d 474 (1976).
“In determining the issue of custody or residency of a child, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to: ... The willingness and ability of each parent to respect and appreciate the bond between the child and the other parent and to allow for a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.” (excerpt State of Kansas Family Law)
“The Sincerity of Each Parent's Request This factor requires the court to be attentive to the possibility of punitive or other improper motives. A parent who desires a particular custody arrangement for the purpose of excluding or reducing the other parent's involvement in the child's life is to be noted.” (Excerpt Washington D.C. Family Law)
“It is generally in the best interests of child for rapport to be established with non-custodial parent.” SCHACK V. SCHACK (2 Dept. 1983) 98 A.D. 2d 802, 469 N.Y.S. 2d 813.
“Although wishes of child of age of child in case at bar, 12 years or more, should be given considerable weight, it was an error for Family Court to make father’s rights conditional upon wishes of daughter without showing visitation would be detrimental to child’s welfare, in view of father’s diligence in attempting to establish a relationship with his daughter, his want of opportunity to do so outside the presence of custodial grandparents and in view of much hostility between father and grandmother.” (Emphasis added) STRUM V. LYDING (4 Dept 1983) A.D. 2d 731, 465 N.Y.S. 2d 347
“A child’s best interests are plainly furthered by nurturing child’s relationship with both parents, and sustained course of conduct by one parent designed to interfere in the child’s relationship with the other casts serious doubts upon the fitness of the offending party to be the custodial parent.” RENAUD V. RENAUD, (No. 97-334), slip op. At 4 VT 9.11.98
Change of custody was compelled where mother had “engaged in ongoing conduct intended and designed to impede, obstruct, and interfere with the development of a healthy father-daughter relationship.” LEWIN V. LEWIN, 231 Cal. Rptr 433, 437 (Ca. Ct. App. 1986)
“Court abused discretion in awarding custody to mother where evidence disclosed that she sought to denigrate and deny emotional relationship between child and father.” IN RE LEYDA, 355 NW 2d 862, 866 (Iowa 1984)
“[A] parent who willfully alienates a child from the other parent may not be awarded custody based on that alienation.” MCADAMS V. MCADAMS, 530 NW 2d 647, 650 (ND 1995)
“Father was entitled to full custody of minor child and mother was to have no visitation privileges or contact with her daughter, in view of mother’s programming of minor child to accuse father of sexually abusing child so that she could obtain sole custody and control and preclude any contact that father might have with child.” KAREN B. V. CLYDE M, 1991, 151 Misc. 2d 794, 574 N.Y.S. 2d 267
“Order directing father’s visitation rights to be held in abeyance until child wished to see him was improper absent evidence that father’s continued visitation would be detrimental to child’s well-being; while child’s feelings and attitudes were relevant, they were not determinative.” VANDERHOFF V. VANDERHOFF (2 Dept. 1994) 207 A.D. 2d 494, 615 N.Y.S. 2d 919
“Visitation with the father should not have been conditioned on the wishes of his children; it tended unnecessarily to defeat right of visitation.” MAHLER V. MAHLER (2 Dept. 1979) 72 A.D. 2d 739, 421 N.Y.S. 2d 248
“Critical question of child custody should not be decided upon limited evidence such as testimony of parties and child when independent evidence could be obtained in near future through reasonable efforts of parties and auxiliary services of court system.” GIRALDO V. GIRALDO, (1 Dept 1982) 85 A.D. 2d 164, 447 N.Y.S. 2d 466 (emphasis added)
“Judges’ refusal to consider evidence and psychological reports denies due process right to ‘meaningful hearing.” ARMSTRONG V. MANGO, 380 U.S. 545, 552; 85 S. Ct. 187 (1965)
“Before terminating parent’s rights, state must first attempt to reunite parent with child.” MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF STAR LESLIE W., 1984 63 NY 2d 136, 481 N.Y.S. 2d 26, 470 NE 2d 824
“Efforts state must exercise to strengthen parental relationship before terminating parental rights include counseling, making suitable arrangements for visitation, providing assistance to parents to resolve or ameliorate problems preventing discharge of child to their care.” MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF STAR LESLIE W., 1984 63 NY 2d 136, 481 N.Y.S. 2d 26, 470 NE 2d 824
LAWYERS OF THE FAMILY COURT:
ATTORNEY ASSISTED PAS CHILD ABUSE..... MY OWN CASE EXAMPLE
NOT ALL ATTORNEYS WEAR WHITE HATS
All of the information contained in the last section about how to properly organize and present your PAS information to your Judge and attorney is good sound advice, providing you have a good Judge and are dealing with a good attorney for you and your ex-spouse who are honest, decent and have a great deal of experience with PAS cases. You should know, however, that not all attorneys involved in the Family Court wear white hats. Far too many, I am sad to say, wear very dark black hats of PAS abuse and other kinds of abuse of children that anyone dealing with the court and a severely affected PAS child needs to know about. In almost all severe PAS cases you can point the finger of giving birth to one of these cases to a Family Court divorce attorney who represents the alienating parent. Let me give you a case example to show you what I mean.
Pretend for a moment it is the day after your wedding and someone in your wedding party says half jokingly “Wow that was sure a great wedding. I hope you guys never get a divorce”, to which you both as a new bride and groom look at each other and one of you says to the other.. “Gee I don’t know what I would do I love you so much”, while the other says “Well I know what I would do. I would crucify you and if we had any children I would make sure they hated you for the rest of their lives and that you would never see them again”.
Preposterous, you say. No one on the day after they just got married would ever say something like that. Well maybe not, but you can bet your last dollar on the fact that this is exactly how many spouses feel when the bloom comes off the rose of their marriage and they find themselves going at each other in divorce court.
Typically one spouse, who will become the “target” parent in a PAS case, is the one who wants to merely get on with the divorce and spare their children from any more pain and heartache than they already feel over the breakup of the family. The alienating spouse on the other hand, like the one in the hypothetical example above who would destroy and crucify their spouse if they ever got divorced by using their children for revenge, does exactly that. To do that, however, they need one thing. They need the help and assistance of their friendly divorce lawyer to bring about this birth of a full-blown severe PAS case.
In order to fully understand why and how these friendly divorce attorneys do what they do so many times to try and destroy families and family relationships and contribute to the inculcation of PAS in their client’s children, you first have to know what their motivation is. Simply put their motivation is money and greed, along with a lot of ego gratification. These people, on the whole, are not pillars of the community dedicated to truth and justice in their profession of the law. They are people who have a license in the Family Courts of our nation to kill and destroy everything they touch while getting paid huge amounts of money for doing so. Yes, there are some good and decent divorce lawyers out there but, unfortunately, they are too few and far between. Let me give you a clear case example of what I mean...
For the “target” parent of a PAS child, who only wants to get on with his or her divorce and not involve their children in any way, their first warning of bad things to come with their soon to become former spouse and their divorce attorney is usually the receipt of either a letter from this divorce attorney or some legal papers saying something like... “before they get to see their children again, they will be asking the court that they undergo a complete psychological exam to determine their fitness to be a parent to their child or children”.
This will also, in many cases, be accompanied by some sort of a written statement by the child or children involved that... “They are mad at this “target” parent and that they really don’t like the way they have acted and behaved toward them lately”. To give you a clear picture of this here is an actual letter plus many more you will see, from one of these divorce lawyers to the “target” parent, and others in one of these lawyer assisted PAS cases I’m taking about. A child who up until this point had enjoyed nothing but a wonderful close and loving relationship with this “target” parent, her father, for more than 12 years. The case example you are about to see I know very well, because it happened to me and my child back in 1991, and as a result of what this lawyer did I haven’t seen her since.
LAWYER’S ADVICE TO HIS CLIENT.....LET’S GET RID OF THE FATHER COMPLETELY ANYWAY WE CAN.
Letter to father’s attorney:
I enclose for your information and review a two (2) page report given by your client’s daughter memorializing her wonderful weekend with “Daddy”.
His behavior would appear to be rather compulsive and not designed to win the love and affection of your daughter.
Additionally, I understand that your client bragged to his daughter on the telephone that he had bought a race horse. She took a rather dim view of his extravagance in this regard.
Please counsel your client to clean up his act and his house and restock his refrigerator for the next visit of his daughter.
I will be responding this weekend to your Show Cause Order on the matter of joint physical custody of his daughter. I believe that it will be appropriate for your client to be examined by a mental health care professional before he even gets any visitation rights with his daughter.
Spouse’s Divorce Lawyer
I should point out that what this lawyer was referring to in this so-called “two page report” written by this man’s daughter about him having to do with... “cleaning up his act and his house and restocking his refrigerator”, is this. During the previous weekend visit she had with her father she bemoaned the fact that her father’s beds weren’t made to her satisfaction and there was not enough food to eat in the house so they had to go out to eat all the time. As for the “race horse”, this was something the father did with several business partners of his to make money, which he thought his daughter would enjoy being a part of.
Anyway you can see how this PAS case was now being born and nurtured by this friendly divorce attorney at the behest of this father’s former wife and his now partially inculcated PAS child. Let’s now take a look at this case as it began to progress with this attorney and his client during the after birth process.
This letter and accompanying “report” I just showed you was written only a week or so after this man’s divorce had started. From there things got progressively worse and a few months later after this child was now almost completely brainwashed against her father by this lawyer and his client, this next event took place.
Because his daughter was now not paying any attention to anything he said, the father felt he had to write a letter to her private school he was paying for to ask them to honor his wishes about certain of his daughter’s activities...and one of those wishes about her activities was that she was not to be allowed under any circumstances to be picked up after school by her mother’s new live in boyfriend because he had learned that he had a number of traffic arrest warrants out for him in another state for DUI and a half dozen unanswered citations for driving at high speeds, some exceeding 100 miles per hour. In addition he had also been convicted in this state of allowing minors to drive his car. He also suggested to the school that they not allow anyone else’s children to be picked up or driven around in this man’s car either.
As this was a very important matter of his child’s safety the father wanted his former wife to know exactly how he felt about this so he faxed over a copy of his letter to her attorney hoping that both he and his client would see the seriousness and gravity of this matter and forbid their daughter from ever driving in a car with this man. If this was so, the letter would not have been necessary to send. Instead of agreeing with his wishes, however, this is the letter he received back from his former wife’s attorney on this matter.
I have in hand your fax communication under cover of March 30th.
First, as your daughter’s father, you should be aware that she is 13 years of age and not 12. It would help if you would pay attention to such details.
Second, if you send the proposed letter to her school you only make a fool of yourself as well you will hurt your daughter’s relationship with the other students and you will continue to perpetuate the growing abyss as between you two. I gave your letter to your daughter to read, and after she stopped her tears, she asked me to contact you and tell you that she does not want you to send the letter to the school.
The future of a relationship as between you and your daughter is in your control. Your lack of control as of late has confirmed at least to me that you are in dire need of counseling. Perhaps when you resolve all your problems through therapy, you will be able to establish a reapprochement under conditions of normalcy.
We will see you in Court on Thursday.
Very truly yours,
Spouse’s Divorce Attorney
Of course, neither the former wife nor her attorney ever responded to this father’s urgent plea about this man in the way he hoped they would, so the letter he drafted was sent and immediately thereafter he got this letter of response written to the school from the wife’s attorney.
Dear Mr. Headmaster:
I enclose a copy of a letter that I have addressed to the court concerning the defamatory comments made by the father of one of your students by letter of April 13th.
It is unfortunate that this father refuses to seek the help and assistance of a mental health professional that he so desperately needs to deal with his virtually uncontrollable anger issues. This man is a very controlling person who loses it when he does not get his way and spreads his toxicity to anyone and everyone who might possibly be kind and helpful to his daughter that is beyond his sphere of influence.
I trust that in the future that you will continue to ignore this kind of virulent rhetoric from this toxic father so that you will not suffer blindly at the hands of fools.
Spouse’s Divorce Attorney
Okay, so now we see this father’s concern for his daughter’s safety being described by this divorce attorney of his former wife as being “toxic”, “defamatory” and a clear indication that this man is in dire need of immediate therapy to overcome his “virtually uncontrollable anger issues”. The fact that neither his former wife nor his daughter have any of these same concerns about his daughter’s safety, or that his daughter completely ignores anything he says, and won’t even talk to him or visit with him, is completely irrelevant and should not be of concern to anyone.
Well this incident with the school was only the beginning with this attorney and his client. A few weeks later this father, because his daughter refused to speak with him, wrote a letter to his daughter, that somehow found its way into this attorney’s hands. A letter which addressed some very serious, unacceptable behaviors of his daughter toward her aunt, her very ill grandmother and her own sister. This was the response the father’s attorney received back from the former wife’s attorney regarding this letter.
I enclose a copy of a letter authored by your client with enclosure, addressed to his daughter which she delivered to me on April 30th, with the request that I ask her father to stop sending such letters. She made particular reference to the term in the second paragraph which reads in pertinent part as follows:
It would be very easy for you to call your aunt, apologize for hanging up the phone on her and make a date this week to visit your grandmother. You know that she is very sick and may not have long to live.
You should know Sir that his daughter has expressed the opinion that she is not interested (1) in attending the wedding of her step-sister who has largely ignored her in the past; (2) calling her Aunt who is as manipulative and nasty as her father; or (3) visiting with her semi-senile grandmother. As the court suggested at the time of our last hearing, teenagers have a mind of their own.
My client has also given me a card dated Palm Sunday but postmarked April 28th ( a copy of which is attached for your convenience) with a lot of philosophical nonsense written by the aunt that presumes that all problems in communication originate with my client by stating in pertinent
.....Am I to feel your vitriolic acid cover my heart, too? The pain that you have just caused me is deep. How, in the name of God, have you wrought such despair in the heart of a child? May I ask what I have done to cause you to sew these seeds of malice into the very fabric of teenage girl?
In response to this my client is not interested in the Aunt’s misguided opinions about the true source of the problem in communicating with her niece. She has only uni-dimensional information about the sequela of events that have caused the problems between the father and the family with his daughter.
If you would rather, I can communicate directly with the Aunt and ask her to stop addressing her snotty cards to my client.
Very truly yours,
Spouse’s Divorce Attorney
From here this case finally wound up in court a few months later where the Judge in the case stated quite clearly that this man’s daughter “had indeed been alienated against her father and his family”, however, because he, the Judge, could not seem to be able to figure out who was doing the alienating, he ordered a “status quo” arrangement (which meant the former wife and her attorney were still free to continue on with their PAS abuse, while at the same time the daughter would continue to refuse to see or communicate with the father at all). The Judge further ordered that all the parties be evaluated by a court appointed psychologist, with no time limit, however, being set to complete this so-called “evaluation”.
NOW LET’S BRING ON THE PSYCHOLOGISTS TO HELP GET RID OF THE FATHER
As was clearly predictable with this arrangement and orders by the Judge, things went completely down hill from here to the point where when a psychologist did finally see the father and daughter some six months later, this was the result. In two letters, one to the Court and one to the father, this court appointed psychologists wrote the following.
In her letter to the Judge, she wrote:
I have met with the daughter who will be 14 years old in February. She remains solid in her decision to completely cut off her ties with her father. She insists she wishes to have nothing further to do with him presently or in the future. She further expresses radical means by which she will thwart any attempt made toward visitation even if that visitation is supervised by me in my office, which would take place after working with and preparing her father for such visitation. Thus while I feel that this is an unfortunate situation I do not feel I can accomplish the task of reconciliation at this time. I would suggest a review of this situation in a year. If you need any further clarification, please let me know. I will be happy to confer with you.
Court Appointed Psychologist.
And this is the letter she wrote to the father on the same date:
After working with your daughter in therapy on December 18th, I find that there appears to be no hope for reconciliation between you and her in the near future. Your daughter is very definite and adamant that she has no desire to attempt reconciliation, nor would she consider supervised visits with you in my office. We discussed the ramifications of this decision and how she might be sorry in the future, but it did not impact her decision. Therefore I am writing a letter to the Court stating that I cannot accomplish this task.
Court Appointed Psychologist
I will go into how these court appointed psychologists assist in the PAS process, like was done here, later on in the next chapter.
For the next five months after these two letters were written, and as had been the case for the preceding year before, this father and his daughter had absolutely no communication with each other at all. It had now been over a year and a half since they either saw each other or spoke with each other, except for one night at a high school football game when the father went to try and find his daughter and all she did was curse at him to leave her alone. Other than that all his daughter’s communication with him had been through her mother’s attorney as you have seen.
Now, at this point, the father had learned that his daughter had been transferred to a new school without his knowledge or permission and when he asked for and received her latest report cards he saw that they were not even close to the good grades she had always gotten before. Not only were her scholastic grades poor, but she also received poor grades for citizenship and work habits. To try and deal with this under the severe PAS conditions that were now in full bloom with his daughter, this father tried to communicate his concerns over the poor grades to his daughter directly by letter to her sent to her by way of the school principal. He even promised her he would buy her a new car for graduation if she would work harder to bring her grades and good citizenship back up to where they belonged, and come see and visit with him as she was supposed to do under the current court order that was in place for over a year and a half.
The response to this very kind and “fatherly” letter to his child came not from her, but from her mother’s attorney again, as had always been the case in the past. This letter to the father said in part.
I have received your latest communiqué pointedly referencing the report card of your daughter from her new School dated April 4th.
As always you rail against the system that you claim has kept you from your daughter for a year and a half and the reader is left with the distinct impression that you blame the poor report card on that period of deprivation of you as the father.
There is indeed another credible theory about the so-called poor report card. It has something to do with the father sending a letters to his daughter at her public school, which requires that she be called out of class, trundled off to the Principal’s office where she is given her father’s letter and then goes back to class to experience the jeers, humiliation and embarrassment of her classmates.
When one looks at the point of time when father begins his campaign of communicating with his daughter through the public school authorities, remarkably, one would note and thereupon conclude that the rationale behind the poor report card originates not from the year and a half separation from father, but father’s inappropriate conduct in this regard.
Spouse's Divorce Attorney
When this father received this he was livid and fired off another letter to the school’ principal letting her know that he was not about to put up with this with his daughter and her mother’s attorney any longer. In fact he wanted her help in trying to stop all this PAS abuse of his daughter, which he told her in no uncertain terms was the reason for his daughter’s poor grades and her disrespectful behavior toward her father over the last year and a half. Not to be one to let this letter of this father to the principal go unchallenged, this attorney wrote the father back and made sure he showed this father that a carbon copy of his letter was being sent to the daughter. This response letter said the following to the father:
I am in receipt of a copy of your letter of May 24th addressed to your daughter’s school principal.
You have misread my previous letter to you regarding the matter of your daughter. I have never, directly or indirectly criticized the school principal or the school for responding to your requests to pass on communications from you and your family to your daughter.
Your letter assumes that the principal is aware of and in agreement with your concept that the real tragedy here as you always state....“that of a sweet, young and innocent child who for a year and a half now has been severely brainwashed and emotionally tortured and abused by myself and my client. . . . I would assume that the principal has not conducted her own independent factual investigation to confirm or deny the truth or falsity of the quoted allegation from your letter.
I wonder, for example, if you have told the principal that you are seeking to remove the Judge in your case from the bench for failing to give you exactly what you want? Or have you sent the principal a copy of the newspaper advertisement that you have placed in the local paper regarding your attempt to initiate a grand jury probe into the Family Law Court? And finally have you told the principal that you are going after the psychologist licenses of one of the psychologists in your case because she failed to agree with you on the matter of reunification and visitation with your daughter? On top of this, you have embarrassed your daughter with her classmates when you were running for the local City Council.
The problem with the deteriorating relationship as between you and your daughter, quite simply put, is YOU-YOU-YOU.
To address another part of your letter in which you aim your personal barbs at me, I beg to briefly advise as follows:
I have only been married four (4) times not five (5)
The contempt citations as against me brought by your attorney were all dismissed by the Court.
I never had any financial interest in the adult press materials industry save an except for occasionally receiving fees from clients who were being victimized by local law enforcement officials for exercise of their First Amendment rights.
I don’t have children plural. I have one child, a daughter and her husband and their two (2) children, with whom I have a great personal loving relationship
Now, you seek to enlist your daughter’s school principal in your crazy campaign of vilification and your absurd notion that your daughter suffers from some unknown emotional disorder called PAS. I trust that the principal, as a dedicated public professional, will decline to get further involved with the likes of someone like you.
FATHER, may I suggest that we leave the principal out of the loop on our legal rhetoric and spare her any further correspondence. I am sure that she is too busy pursuing her chosen profession than to deal with the virulent, vindictive, vituperative and inflammatory prose that you choose to spread throughout the legal, business and professional community.
Incidentally for your information your daughter has told me that she loves the man she knew as her father, and not the raging tyrant that her father has now become. She would like to have a rapport with the reasonable, loving, caring father she once knew, not the dictatorial psychopath he appears to have become. Why don’t you make it possible?
Very truly yours,
Spouse’s Divorce Attorney
Now there are a few important things about this latest letter from this attorney to this father that need to be addressed. First of all you will note that he refers to some comments the father had said about his being involved in the “adult” press industry. There were suspicions all over town about this attorney being in the porn business, but no one could come up with the goods on him. What this father didn’t know and what the people in the town didn’t know was that at the time he was writing all of these letters to this father and to others for the past year, he had already been convicted of selling and distributing child and adult pornography and was out on bail awaiting sentencing. He had also been convicted of lying and perjury as well.
Secondly, this man never reported his conviction to the State Bar, which he was legally required to do, so no one knew that he was a convicted felon. Therefore, he just went along his merry way illegally practicing law as if nothing happened, and abusing and brainwashing this man’s daughter against him for over a year and a half under the watchful eye and close supervision of the local Family Court. This gives you some real good insight on just what kind of a person this man was and how right this father had been about him all along, as well as how bad the court and all the psychologists had been in handling this severe PAS case during this time.
Anyway because no one knew anything about this man’s pornography and perjury convictions until he was finally sent to prison about nine months later, the PAS abuse of this father’s daughter continued on unabated by this attorney and his client without missing a beat. This abuse and the letter writing finally culminated right before he was hauled off to jail about seven months later when his last and final letter was sent to this father. This was his swan-song letter having to do with a request the father had made to his daughter that she visit with her very ill and dying grandmother before she passed away. It also made mention of the father’s upcoming TV show he was invited to appear on about what he had learned about PAS. This rather cruel, vulgar and disgusting letter said the following:
Your communication under cover of March 8th addressed to those who are in a position to advise and counsel your daughter has been referred to this writer for review and reply. I have communicated with your daughter concerning your request for her to contact and see your mother WHO YOU CLAIM ONLY HAS A FEW MORE WEEKS TO LIVE.
There are two (2) additional negating factors engendered by you which your 15 year old daughter mightily resents and is accordingly resistant to any suggestion made by you for her to visit your mother.
First your daughter resents your erroneous assumption which finds it’s way into every communication emanating from you in which you state “. . . most of you know the circumstances of my daughter’s severe emotional parental abuse . . . her behavior toward her grandmother is not in her best long term interests . . . this kind of emotional parental child abuse can have severe and long lasting psychological effects upon a child and this is but just one example of those many things in life where this abuse will greatly contribute to her dysfunctional psychopathology in years to come.”
My client wishes me to reiterate that the only “emotional parental abuse” that her daughter has sustained comes from you and your conduct and not from any brainwashing by her. Your daughter had hoped that over the past several years you would have gotten some insight into the severe emotional problems that you have and are experiencing and that she could again have the rapport that once existed as between you.
Your daughter also wanted me to convey to you her extreme displeasure and embarrassment at the fact that you will soon be on national T.V. I would suspect that if the T.V. program runs next week as expected, that she will probably refuse to see you or your mother even if you do seek remedial psychotherapy for your emotional problems.
In just three (3) short years your daughter will be 18 years of age and as such will no longer be subject to anything you have to say regarding child custody and visitation. In her opinion you are foolishly squandering your parental rights and relationship with her by your imprudent and obsessive crusade for the promulgation of the gospel of something entitled the “Parental Alienation Syndrome.”
If your daughter chooses to visit your mother, it will be in spite of you and not because of you. She will await the airing of the T.V. show and your performance thereon before making any decision regarding visitation with your mother.
Thank you for the opportunity to convey to you your daughter’s response to your communication of March 8th.
Spouse’s Divorce Attorney
Well there you have it. A complete case example of a PAS “parentectomy” as one prominent and well-known PAS experienced psychologist calls it. First you saw the birth of this father’s child’s PAS starting with this convicted felon attorney’s first letter to the father to clean up his house and restock his refrigerator, while asking that he never see his daughter again until he gets psychological help.....And then you saw all the rest of his PAS brainwashing and abuse letters culminating with the last letter speaking on behalf of his daughter that she will most probably not visit with her dying grandmother before she dies.....which, incidentally, she did pass away just six days later.... and true to her PAS induced words and behavior this 15 year old child, who once adored her grandmother more than anything in this world, never did see her, and never once since then has ever even acknowledged her grandmother’s passing, or that she ever even existed on this earth. The cancer that this attorney and his client infected her with was just too great for her to overcome.
One final thing about all this. For all his efforts in emotionally abusing and torturing this young child for almost three years, and driving her away from a father that loved and adored her, this convicted felon divorce attorney collected over $50,000 in attorney fees from his client and had asked the court for the father to pay him another $35,000, which the father never did saying to the court that he would rather die in the gas chamber then pay this criminal child abuser one red cent.
And what was the final outcome of this case? Well this case started out in the summer of 1991 in what should have been a simple and uncontentious divorce case with a child and a father who had loved and adored each other for all of the previous 12 years since she was born in 1979. Now it is almost the summer of 2001, ten years later, and because of this convicted perjurer and child pornographer, posing an attorney and trusted officer of the court, and his vindictive and abusing client, the child’s mother, this once loving and adoring father and his daughter have not seen or spoken one word to each other in all these ten years.
And people, believe it or not, after seeing a case like this want to tell me that our Family Court system is not corrupt, evil, immoral and incompetent to the point that it allows criminal child abusing convicted felons, like the one I have just shown you, to practice law in their courts and abuse and exploit innocent young children whenever they feel like it so that these children have no further relationship with one of their once loved and adored parents, as was done in this case.... and that PAS is something that simply doesn’t exist, and therefore should never be given any credence to it by the Courts whatsoever.
To all those who would say this to me, I would say back to them that they must also think that the world is flat and if you stray too far offshore you will fall off the planet into a bottomless hole of delusional darkness, where, I am sad to say, you are living right now.
PSYCHOLOGISTS OF THE FAMILY COURT
COURT APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGISTS
AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEM IN PAS CASES
A LIST OF PERILS TO WATCH OUT FOR WHEN DEALING WITH COURT APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGISTS IN PAS CASES
You can be sure that when you have a severe PAS case with your child or children on your hands in a contested divorce and child custody situation in Family Court, you will always have to face the perils of a Court appointed psychologist. I say perils because that is exactly what these people bring to the table in these instances. As a general rule, most of them know absolutely nothing about Parental Alienation or PAS and so you must deal with these people at your own peril and your children’s peril. I’m sorry to say this but it is absolutely true, and in most cases very unfortunate for you and your children. Here are some of the things you have to watch out for with these people and then I will tell you what you have to do to avoid all these perils.
PERILS OF USING COURT APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGISTS
1. Their lack of knowledge and experience with Parental Alienation and PAS.
If you yourself have discovered information about PAS on your own, then when you encounter one of these Court appointed psychologists, you will know 100 times more about PAS than they do. That’s right, almost none of these people will have the slightest clue about what you are talking about when you try and describe to them all the symptoms you have discovered in your children that match perfectly those symptoms found in PAS infected children.
2. Their built in biases and prejudices against strong and authoritative people.
If you are a no nonsense person, and a parent who feels that raising and educating your children is your job and responsibility, and not anyone else’s, and you get angry when someone tries to stick their nose in your family business where it doesn’t belong, then you will be personally attacked and crucified by these people....and if you dare to criticize them at any point along the way of their so-called “evaluation of you as a parent, then you can all but kiss your kids good-bye for good.
3. Their avarice and greed.
You must understand that these people are in business to make money, and with only a few exceptions money is the name of the game with them. First you will have to cough up usually a minimum of $1,000 before you even get to see one of these people, and from there the bills can go as high as $10,000 or $20,000 or more depending on where you finally draw the line as to just how much you want to pay them for doing virtually nothing to help either you or your children in your PAS case. Couple this refusing to pay them any more money with getting angry at them for their prejudices and incompetence and you will really incur their hostility and wrath.
4. Their complete immunity from any civil litigation or criminal prosecution for medical malpractice or negligence.
You should know that every one of these Court appointed psychologists are completely immune from any civil medical malpractice or professional negligence claims or any criminal prosecution you may want to bring against them, as they are 100% protected against such claims and actions by the very Court that assigned them to you in the first place. In short they have a license to do as much harm and damage to you and your children they can, and if such damage destroys you life and your children’s lives, that’s just too bad, as they are not held liable or accountable for anything.
5. Their absolute power over you, your family and your children and their inability to help you with any reconciliation or reunification with your PAS infected children.
One of the most important things you need to know and watch out for with these people is that they are the one’s that will determine your children’s future and not you or the Court. They are the people who have all the power in our Family Courts today and not, as so many people wrongly believe, the Judge who presides over your case. This becomes extremely important for you to know if you have a PAS case on your hands because now not only do you have a blind Judge you will have to deal with, you also have one or more of these blind psychologists leading all the blind judges, or as they say “the blind leading the blind”.
This, of course is a formula for complete and utter disaster and the permanent loss of your children to PAS forever, which I can assure you from personal experience will occur if you don’t heed this warning. Furthermore you can also be assured that these people have no real interest in or ability to help you effect any kind of a reconciliation with your PAS abused children. If you don’t believe me then read what one of these so-called Ph.D Psychologist “evaluator experts” did in my case ten years ago. In two separate letters, one to me and one to the Judge on my case, this woman said the following having to do with my 14 year old severely infected PAS child and what was supposed to be her Court ordered duty and responsibility to effect a reconciliation between my daughter and I as soon as possible....
January 4, 1993
Dear Judge Taylor:
I have met with Lee-Ann Kirkendale who will be 14 years old on February 12, 1993. Lee-Ann remains solid in her decision to completely cut off her ties with her father. She insists she wishes to have nothing further to do with him presently or in the future. *See note (1) She further expresses radical means by which she will thwart any attempt made toward visitation, *See note (2), even if that visitation is supervised by me in my office, which would take place after working with and preparing her father for such visitation. Thus while I feel that this is an unfortunate situation I do not feel I can accomplish the task of reconciliation at this time. I would suggest a review of this situation in a year. *See note (3) If you need any further clarification, please let me know. I will be happy to confer with you.
Patricia Marizacola, Ph.D.
(1) You will notice that there is no mention at all as to "WHY" my 14 year old daughter remained solid in her decision to cut off her ties with her father and wanted nothing further to do with him now or in the future. Did that mean never again in her entire life?
(2) You will also notice that there are no specific details as to "WHAT" radical means my daughter would use to thwart any visitation with her father. Why was that not mentioned or explored?
(3) In light of the fact that this psychologist felt she could do nothing currently to accomplish the task of any reconciliation between the child and her father, what made her think she could be more successful in a year? A year in which the child would become even more abused and brainwashed by her mother without any contact with her father, than she was then.
Now here is the letter she wrote to me dated the same date.
January 4, 1993
Dear Mr. Kirkendale:
After working with Lee-Ann in therapy on December 18, 1992, I find that there appears to be no hope for reconciliation between you and her in the near future. Lee-Ann is very definite and adamant that she has no desire to attempt reconciliation, nor would she consider supervised visits with you in my office. We discussed the ramifications of this decision and how she might be sorry in the future, but it did not impact her decision. (See note (1) Therefore I am writing a letter to the Court stating that I cannot accomplish this task.
Patricia Marizacola Ph.D.
(1) Who is in charge here? A supposedly well qualified Ph.D. trained and experienced psychologist... OR.... a severely brainwashed, abused and emotionally tortured 14 year old child, who gives absolutely no reasons for her obviously mentally disturbed behavior and her supposed "hatred" of her own father? Does anyone see any medical negligence and malpractice here?
I should point out that it is now some TEN YEARS later and there has yet to be any reconciliation or contact between myself and my daughter because of all her severe PAS abuse she endured ten years ago.
6 Their steadfast refusal to give you any written documentation about their professional education background, experience, training or knowledge about PAS.
You will find that only in rare instances will any of these people be willing to give you any kind of written documentation, or resume if you will, of their professional credentials to perform the task they were assigned by the Court to do, which is to “evaluate” you as a parent. When they refuse to do this it should be a red flag warning to you not to proceed with their so-called “evaluation” under any circumstances. This is especially true when they refuse to give you any information about their knowledge, training and experience with PAS cases.
7. Their cavalier indifference to PAS delaying tactics by abusing parents.
One of the most common problems with these people and their lack of knowledge and experience with PAS, is their complete indifference and cavalier attitude about all the delaying tactics employed by PAS abusing parents. This is a tactic that is widely used by these parents for the simple reason it helps them keep their PAS abused children isolated and away from the “target” parent for as long as possible so that they can freely go about alienating their children from them without any interference or meaningful challenge to what they’re doing. The longer they can delay meeting with one of these so-called Court appointed “evaluators”, the longer they believe they can fill up their children’s minds with poison about the “target” parent to cement the PAS process. The problem is that because these so-called “evaluators” don’t know anything about PAS they go along with these delaying tactics and play right into the hands of these abusing parents and make any kind of reconciliation with the “target” parent virtually impossible.
8. Their keeping their so-called “evaluation” reports secret from you.
What happens when one of these so-called “evaluation” reports are completed by these people is that they are never shown to you before they are given to the Court and entered into the record, and then acted upon by the Judge. Not only that but when you get to court these people are not there so you have no chance at all of challenging what they say about you or cross examining them about their report. What usually happens in PAS cases is that you first find out what’s in these reports after the Judge removes your children from you because the report says “they hate you and never want to see you again”....or even worse that until you “straighten yourself out” your children have the right to veto any visitation with you.
9. Their insufferable arrogance they have toward you once you criticize and attack them for their incompetence and the harm they have brought to you and your children.
Believe me once you and your children have been had by these people, and you go on the offensive against them, they will accuse you of everything from being a lunatic to a dangerous threat to society. These are people who do not take criticism very well at all. The only way they feel they can defend themselves is by calling you names and casting dispersions on your sanity and character. They will call you everything in the book and especially an angry and abusive person, which to them is their way of justifying all the bad things they said about you in their report. In my case ten years ago one of these quacks said after he wrote his report which gave my 14 year old daughter veto power over any visitation with me, that I needed immediate therapy for all my anger management problems. Of course, he forgot to mention that at the time he said this I was suing him for medical malpractice and gross negligence...a suit that I soon learned I would lose because his lawyer very successfully argued that he had complete immunity from any civil litigation for liability claims and damages. As I said before these people have license to destroy everything they touch without any fear of punishment, liability or accountability. What do they say about this kind of absolute power? Something like it corrupts absolutely I believe, and nowhere is that more the case than with these so-called Court appointed “evaluators”.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO AVOID THESE PERILS
Okay now that you’ve told me what all these perils are with these Court appointed psychologists what can a parent faced with these perils do when a Court appoints one of these people to look into and evaluate my PAS case? What say do I have in any of this?
Well to answer that I’d like to first remind you of my Three Blind Mice story. Just as your lawyer and the Judge in your case both need to be 100% up to speed on PAS, so too does any Court appointed psychologist assigned to your case. Remember blindness by anyone about PAS will all but destroy your relationship with your PAS infected child forever, so you have to do everything in your power to see that this PAS blindness is kept at an absolute minimum in your case....and I don't care who is telling you that you have to settle for this kind of blindness.
I have already pointed out to you that you have a choice in the Judge who hears and decides on your case if you find out about them and challenge them at the beginning. If you don’t do this in the beginning, then you may lose this right to demand a new Judge who has a better attitude about your case and knows as much as you and other experienced PAS professionals do about PAS.
With Court appointed psychologists, however, you always have this right, whether you make up your mind about them in the beginning or at anytime along the way. The best way to handle this, of course, is in the very beginning of your case when the Judge wants to appoint one of them to evaluate your case. This is the time, just like with your Judge when you gave he or she your Family Court Questionnaire to complete for you, when you stand up and say... “Whoa Judge, slow down a little bit here. This is the future of my child we’re talking about and the future of our relationship together, so I want to know a lot more about who it is you’re appointing here than I do now. Therefore I want whoever you’re appointing, or the list of people you feel comfortable appointing, to complete my own COURT APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGIST QUESTIONNAIRE, before I agree to let them handle my case.
Now if your Judge is one who completed your Family Court Judge Questionnaire to your satisfaction, then he or she should have no problem with this request. If, on the other hand, you are at the beginning of your case and your Judge either refused to complete your questionnaire or you weren’t 100% satisfied with his or her answers, or you are too far along with your case to change your Judge, then you most assuredly will have a problem with this request.
The way you handle this problem will be strictly up to you, however, I must give you this strong warning. If you handle it like most of the parents I talk to when they did nothing, you will regret it for the rest of your life. You simply cannot combat and overcome a severe PAS case by doing nothing with these people. You must, at the very least, insist that any psychologist who is asked by the Court or you or anyone else to look into and evaluate your PAS case must fully complete the following COURT APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGIST QUESTIONNAIRE. If not you will forever be at their mercy, and from my experience with them they have no mercy.
Remember what I said. You do not have to accept one of these people the Court will try and shove down your throat. You have the absolute right as a parent to choose someone you want and that you have confidence in to help you and your children with your PAS problem. Additionally, you should use all the information contained in this book to educate yourself and others about PAS and document all your child’s PAS behavior and your alienating ex-spouse’s behavior to show to the psychologist you choose to handle your case after he or she has completed this questionnaire to your satisfaction.
COURT APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGIST QUESTIONNAIRE YOU NEED TO USE IN PAS CASES
1. Will you provide me with a complete resume and/or curriculum vitae of all your past education, training and experience in handling severe PAS cases? Yes____No____
NOTE: At this point if the psychologist will not provide you with this information, then you should get up and politely leave explaining that you will not be needing his or her services any longer. If they say they will gladly give you this information right away, then you should have them proceed with answering the next few questions.
2. Do you recognize severe PAS as a form of parental child abuse that has to be dealt with quickly? Yes____No____
3. Have you read any of Dr. Richard A. Gardner’s books on PAS, or any other well-known PAS expert psychologist’s books, writings or studies on PAS? Yes____No____
4. If not will you read all of this material I have gathered for you on PAS, some of which includes the writings and studies of many of these PAS experts? Yes____No____
5. Additionally will you read over and study carefully all of my own notes and information I have put together on my specific PAS case? Yes____No____
6. If you believe that PAS is a serious form of child abuse that needs to be dealt with quickly, will you be able to complete your evaluation and recommendations to the Court on my case within 30 days from now? Yes___No___ If not then how many days do you think it will take you?____
7. When you finish your evaluation will you provide me a copy of your report and recommendations for me to read before you send it in to the Court? Yes___No___
8. If my ex-spouse does not fully cooperate and keep appointments with you will you place strong emphasis and weight on that in your report to the Court? Yes___No____
9. What will you do if my ex-spouse skips appointments, tries to delay your report and doesn’t cooperate with you as the Court ordered? Will you allow him or her to get away with this? Yes____No____
THE TYPES OF EVALUATIONS THESE PSYCHOLOGISTS SHOULD BE DOING IN SEVERE PAS CASES
FROM THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY, Volume 16, Number 4, 1998, p. 5-14
MMPI-2 VALIDITY SCALES AND SUSPECTED PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME
Dr. Jeffrey C. Siegel, Ph.D. and Dr. Joseph S. Langford, Ph.D.
Jeffrey C. Siegel, Ph.D. is a forensic and clinical psychologist in private practice in Dallas, Texas. He is a Fellow of the American College of Forensic Psychology.
Joseph S. Langford, Ph.D. is a forensic and clinical psychologist in private practice in Dallas, Texas.
MMPI-2 validity scales of two groups of parents going through child custody evaluations, parents who engage in parental alienation syndrome (PAS) behaviors and parents who do not, were compared. It was hypothesized that PAS parents would have significantly higher L and K scales and a significantly lower F scale than parents who do not engage in these behaviors. The hypothesis was confirmed for K and F scales, indicating that PAS parents are more likely to complete MMPI-2 questions in a defensive manner, striving to appear as flawless as possible. It was concluded that parents who engage in alienating behaviors are more likely than other parents to use the psychological defenses of denial and projection, which are associated with this validity scale pattern. Implications of this finding regarding possible personality disorders in PAS parents are discussed.
Parental alienation syndrome is a term coined by Gardner (1, 2) for the phenomenon in which a child from a broken marriage becomes alienated from one parent due to the active efforts of the other parent to sever their relationship. Rand (3) recently provided an extensive review of the literature relevant to this phenomenon, broadening the scope to include writing which described the same or similar Concepts without using Gardner's term.
Gardner and others (4, 5) have described numerous behaviors the alienating parent may engage in to harm the child's relationship with the other parent, many of which have been described as "programming" or "brainwashing." For example, the alienating parent is likely to make accusations about the other parent in front of the child, describe the other parent as dangerous or harmful, tell the child that the other parent does not love him or her, and greatly exaggerate the other parent's faults (whether real or imagined). More extreme alienating behaviors include making false accusations of sexual or physical abuse and programming the child to believe that the abuse occurred. According to Gardner, the child becomes aware that the alienating parent wants him or her to hate the other parent and, out of the need to please the alienating parent and to avoid abandonment or rejection, the child joins in the denigration of the other parent.
Such dynamics are very familiar to clinicians who work with broken families and who perform custody evaluations. As Rand's review (3) makes clear, an increasing number of theoretical writings, case studies, and anecdotal accounts related to this phenomenon have begun to appear in the literature, some of which use the term PAS (6-8) and others which use different terminology (4, 5, 9, 10). However, little empirical research has yet been reported. A number of questions need to be addressed through research.
`For example, how prevalent is this phenomenon? Is it correlated with certain personality traits or psychological disorders? What are the short-term and long-term effects on children who are subjected to it? How does a clinician recognize it? Can psychological testing help the clinician discern when it may be present? Opinions have been expressed about many of these questions by Gardner and others, but they have not yet been subjected to hypothesis testing. Since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (11), testimony about PAS is not likely to be found widely admissible in court without a solid research base.
The present study is an attempt to gain understanding of parents who engage in alienating tactics through a statistical examination of their MMPI-2 validity scales. It was reasoned that if any patterns emerge in the test results of alienating parents, a better understanding of their behaviors might be gained, as well as a psychometric tool to help in the identification of the phenomenon.
In this study, the MMPI-2 profiles of divorcing parents exhibiting characteristics of parental alienation syndrome were compared with the standard MMPI-2 normative sample and with the profile of divorcing parents who do not exhibit characteristics of the syndrome. The specific hypothesis tested was that parents who engage in parental alienation would have significantly higher elevations on the L and K scales and lower elevations on the F scale than both the standard MMPI-2 normative sample and a sample of divorcing parents who do not engage in parental alienation. It was reasoned that persons who try to alienate their children from the other parent are likely to have a higher degree of the behaviors associated with high L and K scores and a low F score, including a wish to be seen as near flawless, a heavy use of denial defenses (12), a tendency to be rigid and moralistic, and a low degree of awareness of the consequences of their own behavior to other people (13).
Siegel (14) has previously found that males and females undergoing child custody evaluation tend to produce significantly elevated L and K scores and males produce F scores significantly below the MMPI-2 normative sample. If the hypothesis of this study is correct, parental alienators in custody disputes would be expected to follow that pattern to a greater degree than parents in custody disputes who do not use alienating tactics.
The subjects for the study were 34 females who completed the MMPI-2 in the course of child custody evaluations. Thirty of the subjects were evaluated in the authors' practice, while four were contributed by another psychologist who frequently serves as an expert witness for the family courts of Dallas, Texas. All of the subjects were involved in child custody litigation and were referred by their attorneys or by the court for psychological evaluation to assist the court in determining the best interest of the children.
Classification Into Groups
The MMPI-2 results of all the clients involved in child custody evaluations in the authors' practice over the last three years were first removed from the files so that classifications would be made as "blind" as possible The records of the evaluations were then reviewed and subjects classified into a parental alienation syndrome (PAS) group and a non-parental alienation (non-PAS) group, according to criteria developed from Gardner's (2) and Turkat's (4) descriptions of alienating tactics commonly used by parents.
The psychologist who contributed four additional PAS subjects' records picked them out of her case files using the same criteria. She did not know the study's hypothesis.
The PAS criteria were as follows:
Personally involved in, or involving others in, malicious acts against the other parent
Engages in excessive litigation for the purpose of limiting the other parent's access to their children
Attempts to obstruct regular visitation with the other parent
Obstructs the other parent's participation in the children's school life and extracurricular activities by lack of notification or untimely notification
Lying to the children
Lying to others (including, but not limited to, child welfare and child abuse workers, school personnel, medical and psychological professionals)
Violations of law (court orders, enforceable agreed orders regarding access, etc.)
False allegations of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse (falsehood determined by collateral information from child protective service agencies, physicians, psychologists, or other reputable sources)
Sixteen subjects met the criteria for classification as PAS parents (age range: 30 years old to 45 years old, mean = 38.1 years), while 18 subjects did not and were placed in the non-PAS subject pool (age range: 27 years old to 44 years old, mean = 36.9 years).
The MMPI-2 was administered as part of the standard battery given to each parent in a custody evaluation. Standard MMPI-2 conditions and instructions were employed. Only female subjects were used in the data analysis due to a limited number of male subjects available for the statistical comparison. This limitation is consistent with the previously referenced work of Gardner (2) and Turkat (4), who report that the majority of persons exhibiting alienation behaviors are female.
Two tailed t-tests were used to compare parental alienators' mean scores on the MMPI-2 validity scales to the MMPI-2 normative sample and the sample of divorcing parents who do not exhibit alienating behaviors.
The study's hypothesis was confirmed for two of the three validity scales. Results of the t-tests indicate that mothers exhibiting PAS behaviors had significantly higher scores on the K scale and significantly lower scores on the F scale than both the standard MMPI-2 normative sample and the sample of divorcing mothers who do not engage in parental alienation. There was no significant difference in L scale scores between the alienating and nonalienating groups, although both were higher than the published normative sample.
This study shows that females who exhibit parental alienation syndrome behaviors are likely to produce extremely defensive MMPI-2 profiles. They appear to respond to the MMPI-2 items in such a way as to appear highly virtuous and without emotional problems or difficulties.
Research has shown that most parents being evaluated in the context of custody dispute produce defensive MMPI-2 profiles (14). The finding that parental alienators answer the test items even more defensively than other parents in custody suits may shed light on their personality tendencies and may be diagnostically useful.
Gardner (2) has written that parents who make false allegations of child abuse, perhaps the most extreme expression of parental alienation, are likely to exhibit characteristics of histrionic, borderline, or paranoid personality disorders. Although they did not use the term parental alienation, Wakefield and Underwager (16) found, in a comparison of parents making false allegations in custody disputes with parents not making such allegations, that those making false allegations were more likely to have a diagnosis of a personality disorder, consistent with Gardner's (2) assertions.
The findings of this study lend further empirical support to Gardner's belief that PAS may be associated with certain personality disorders and their associated patterns of psychological defense. A highly defensive MMPI-2 validity scale pattern, as was found among PAS parents, suggests psychological defenses which are typically used by people with the externalizing personality disorders (histrionic, borderline, narcissistic, and paranoid).
The tendency to see oneself as "all good" (expressed on the MMPI-2 through high L and K scales and a low F scale) suggests the use of splitting, projection, and denial. People with K scales as high as those produced by the parental alienators in this study are generally described as psychologically unsophisticated, as using denial heavily, and employing defensive distortions (12, 13).
In the context of a divorce and custody dispute, a person who produces a profile like those in this study would appear to be denying any personal responsibility for the divorce or family problems, seeing themselves as flawless, presumably a victim of the ex-spouse. A person with a more mature defensive structure would be likely to see the matter in more reasonable terms, having less need to deny any responsibility, and be better able to modulate their emotions and give less extreme, more honest answers to the MMPI-2 questions.
Ehrenberg et al. (17) have found that parents with narcissistic personality disturbances were less likely than other parents to cooperate with the ex-spouse after the divorce and to be able to focus on their children's needs. It may be that parents who exhibit parental alienation syndrome are unable to cope with their personal hurt and disappointment about the dissolution of the marriage through a more mature grieving process and finding new ego supports.
It is likely that they cope with their hurt and anger by villainizing the ex-spouse and, perhaps unwittingly, by enlisting their children to help repair their damaged sense of self by having the children join in the splitting and projection of responsibility onto the other parent. Johnston (18) has written that parents who are narcissistically vulnerable are more likely to use the more immature defenses of denial and externalization. The results of this study suggest that these defensive operations are likely to be evidenced in the MMPI-2 validity scales.
In child custody related psychological evaluations, the clinician should use multiple sources of data to arrive at conclusions (19). When parental alienation syndrome is a diagnostic possibility in mothers, a highly elevated K scale with a depressed F scale may be evidence of the defensive distortions, which are associated with the syndrome. This MMPI-2 pattern may alert the clinician to the possible presence of the syndrome, which should be further evaluated through interviews, observations, examination of collateral sources, and other test data. An examination of the MMPI-2 profiles of fathers who exhibit parental alienation tendencies is needed to determine whether they show the same pattern.
1. Gardner RA: The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sexual Abuse. Creskill, NJ, Creative Therapeutics, 1987
2. Gardner RA: The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Creskill, NJ, Creative Therapeutics, 1992
3. Rand DC: The spectrum of parental alienation syndrome (part 1). American Journal of Forensic Psychology 1997; 15:3:3-52
4. Turkat D: Child visitation interference in divorce. Clinical Psychology Review 1994; 14:8:737-742
5. Clavar SS, Rivlin BV: Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago, American Bar Association, 1991
6. Cartwright GF: Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome. American Journal of Family Therapy 1993; 21:3:205-215
7. Dunne J, Hedrick M: The parental alienation syndrome: an analysis of sixteen selected cases. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 1994; 21:3-4:21-38
8. Lund M: A therapist's view of parental alienation syndrome. Family and Conciliation Courts Review 1995; 33:3:308-316
9. Blush GJ, Ross KL: Investigation and case management issues and strategies. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:3:152-160
10. Johnston JR, Campbell LE: Impasses of Divorce: The Dynamics and Resolution of Family Conflict. New York, The Free Press, 1988
11. Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993)
12. Greene RL: The MMPI-2/MMPI: An Interpretive Manual. Boston, Allyn and Bacon, 1991
13. Graham JR: MMPI-2: Assessing Personality and Psychopathology. New York, Oxford University Press, 1993
14. Siegel JC: Traditional MMPI-2 validity indicators and initial presentation in custody evaluations. American Journal of Forensic Psychology 1996; 14:3:55-63
15. Butcher J, Dahlstrom G, Graham J, Tellegen A, Kaemmer B: MMPI-2: Manual for Administration and Scoring. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1989; 105-106
16. Wakefield H, Underwager R: Personality characteristics of parents making false accusations of sexual abuse in custody disputes. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 1990; 2:3:121-136
17. Ehrenberg ME, Hunter MA, Elterman ME: Shared parenting agreements after marital separation: the roles of empathy and narcissism. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1996; 62:4:808-818
18. Johnston JR: Children of divorce who refuse visitation, in Nonresidential Parenting: New Vistas in Family Living. Edited by Depner CE, Bray JH. London, Sage Publications, 1993
19. Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings. American Psychologist 1994; 49:7:677-680
KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE
PAS E-MAILS FROM PARENTS JUST LIKE YOU
THE KATHY SANDERSON STORY
This is a tribute to the memory of Kathy Sanderson, a wonderful mother from Helena, Montana, who died tragically as the result of an automobile accident on October 3, 2000. She left two young sons behind with whom she has been struggling to overcome their PAS. One week before their mother died, the boys told her that they hated her and never wanted to see her again. Sadly, they got their wish.
I never met Kathy Sanderson in person. She contacted me and we corresponded by e-mail in early 2000. In February of 2001, I received a telephone call from her mother informing me of her death. I was truly shocked and saddened by this news, especially under the sad and tragic circumstances involving her two young children at the time of her death.
Through our correspondence, I came to know this wonderful, young mother and share her concerns and fears for her children. I am including it in this book to demonstrate how truly tragic PAS can be. Sadly, these children will never know how much their mother loved them or how she struggled to build a relationship with them. Her time is past and her hopes are gone. For the rest of their lives, her children will only remember the bad times because there is no more time to create new, happy memories.
The following is a collection of our correspondence. You will be able to see the thoughts of A mother in deep pain. She had suffered at the hands of her former husband who actively turned her children against her and a family court system that stood by silently and allowed it to happen.
Please pay particular attention to Kathy’s last e-mail. Six months after this, she was dead.
From: Kathy Sanderson
To: Bill Kirkendale
I am unsure whom I am writing to, but would like to tell my story and perhaps obtain some information about parental alienation.
Subj: Re: PAS
From: Bill Kirkendale
To: Kathy Sanderson
Here is who you are writing to and I would very much like to hear your story.
Here is some brief Information about me.
William Kirkendale is a highly successful California Insurance executive who has spent the last eight years trying to reform our present Family Court system. He is the founder and president of The Family Court reform Council of America (FCRC) and The Parental Alienation Syndrome Foundation of America (PASFA)
From: Kathy Sanderson
To: Bill Kirkendale
Dear Mr. Kirkendale:
Thank you for your response. This is a difficult letter to write only because of the intense emotions involved. I will attempt to make this brief.
I was a stay at home mother for 12 years. I was divorced 3 years ago, and my children remained fairly stable. My ex remarried a year ago, and then life as I knew it fell apart. My son's, 13 and 9, began to slowly pull away from me. I couldn't comprehend what was happening. I will merely summarize the current situation:
Two children, who once adored me, are now claiming false physical child abuse charges against me. They will not speak to me, nor will they speak to their grandparents, uncles, cousins, or ANYONE who is connected with me. They seem to have "lost" their memory of the closeness we have always shared. They speak to me as if they were strangers, with dialogues and phrases I've never heard from them before. They are ungrateful of anything I do for them. They throw out the presents I give them, speak to me disrespectfully, and defy any attempt I make to discipline them. They always threaten to "call dad" if I don't do what they want. Their father will never speak to me, nor will he abide by any court orders. He feels as if he is above the law.
I need information. The attorneys, evaluators, and guardians are more of a hindrance than they are a help. As much as I am devastated, my children's loss will be multiplied and irreparable. Currently, I am meeting with my attorney and the guardian to discuss this. I don't know what to do next. I would appreciate any input available.
Subj: Re: "PAS"-Reply
From: Bill Kirkendale
To: Kathy Sanderson
Yours is a classic PAS case and must be dealt with IMMEDIATELY!!
Have both your attorney and the guardian (by the way why do the children have a guardian) call me to discuss your case. If you rely on them to know what's going on you might just as well kiss your kids goodbye. I am the expert here. They are not. They can call me during the week at area code 949-766-0700 (California). If they say they won't do this then fire them both immediately
and find an attorney or a guardian who will call on an expert to help you and your children get rid of this PAS abuse once and for all.
Subj: reply to PAS
From: Kathy Sanderson
To: Bill Kirkendale
Thank you so much for responding. My children have a guardian who was appointed by the court because of the custody dispute. I will give them your phone number. I will try to explain this situation to them...AGAIN! Instinctively, I knew what was going on and I know that my ex will never admit to it...perhaps he just is incapable of understanding...or rather of "getting it". Again, thank you so much for responding. This is a very high profile case, and I will present them with your information. If you have any more advice, please pass it on to me. Thank you, Kathy
Subj: Re: "PAS"-Reply #2
From: Bill Kirkendale
To: Kathy Sanderson
ALL of what you tell me is CLASSIC PAS in your children and a CLASSIC ATTITUDE of an alienating parent. The only thing that troubles me with your case are the false physical child abuse charges against you. Are these charges also being made against other members of your family who the children want nothing to do with either? If so then there is much more I need to know about the nature of these charges. If not then I still would like to know more about these charges so I can fit them in somewhere as to what they are doing to you and why they hate and resent and disrespect you so much.
All these things are interrelated in one way or another. Perhaps these abuse charges are the key to what's going on and perhaps not. You have to look at the big picture to really get the answer on this. Once you figure out that PAS is involved (which it seems as if it definitely is in your case), you then have to find out what the main issues are that no one ever bothers to find out. Normally you have in a PAS inculcated child someone who will say they hate their mother or father and all their relatives BUT can never provide a good reason why, or if they do have a reason it is always either frivolous or completely absurd.
This then is why I want to try to get to the bottom of all these so-called "physical abuse" charges being leveled at you and where they may have come from. If I am to give you good advice and help on this PAS problem please let me hear back from you on this as soon as you can.
Subj: RE: "PAS" #2
From: Kathy Sanderson
To: Bill Kirkendale
Dear Mr. Kirkendale,
Obviously I can see why the physical abuse charges are disturbing to you.
They are disturbing to me. However, this is what my son has claimed twice in the past year. Once, he didn't want to go in time out...then called his dad and said I smacked him on the face. I did not. The second time was similar. I told him to go to his room. He said he didn't have to obey me, "only dad" and wanted to call him. I told him I would call his dad. He grabbed the phone out of my hand, called his dad...his dad then called the police...and later I discovered my son said I kicked him. Again, I did not.
I do understand when there are cases of legitimate physical abuse, the child may react fearful or they may be protective of the abuser. Maybe you need to know that my ex left us twice and moved to other states for jobs he wanted. He arranged this without my knowledge or input. Hence, the divorce. When he came back, my eldest son seemed to want to please him at all costs. It seems that he is fearful of his father's rejection...not fearful of me. I am the one that was always there. I am the one my son KNEW would always be there in every way a person could be for another.
I am getting off track now, but there is a lot of information to process. The only way for my ex to legally have custody of my children was to make some very bizarre accusations. In other words, he NEEDED to prove I was unfit. This is how he did it. I cannot tell you I have never made a parenting mistake. That would not be true. I can say with complete honesty that I have never physically or emotionally abused my children or anyone. I am a very nonviolent person. It's not in my nature. I do the cowardly thing and cry when things hurt. I rarely feel anger, but I do feel hurt. I have been told that is anger directed toward myself. My son was angry at my parents for some reasons I do not understand. They called him as usual to say "hi." They are old and ill. My son verbally attacked them on the phone.
Later, in therapy, my son said he hated his once beloved grandmother because she told him to honor his father and his mother. I was put in the position of defending my mother for a statement that was positive and correct.
Overall, my son has been claiming he is afraid of me. The last time I saw him I did bring my fiancé on the advice of my ex. I personally wanted him there to protect me against any further false charges. Basically, the evening went well...hockey game, dinner, etc. My son wanted us to buy him those Pokemon cards. I told him no. I explained that the game, the dinner, and the time spent together was what was important. Two days later, I get another call from my ex's therapist saying my son was again afraid of me that night. This is so ridiculous that I am having difficulty explaining this. I will just end this by saying that I have never hit my children. I am certain
I have made some mistakes. I allowed this to go too far. Now I am in a box that I cannot seem to get out of...and the kids are suffering the most. They are no longer happy. They pretend to be...but it is only a facade.
Subj: Re: "PAS" #2..#3
From: Bill Kirkendale
To: Kathy Sanderson
This is good information I need to know. I want to respond to each of these things individually so you can collectively see the classic nature of your children's severe PAS condition and what you need to do to stop it cold in its tracks immediately. You can then take this with you when you see your attorney or the guardian or who you and your children really need to see, a qualified PAS therapist. Okay here goes. I will be marking my comments with a #### at the beginning and at the end.
Obviously I can see why the physical abuse charges are disturbing to you. They are disturbing to me. However, this is what my son has claimed twice in the past year. Once, he didn't want to go in time out...then called his dad and said I smacked him on the face. I did not. The second time was similar. I told him to go to his room. He said he didn't have to obey me, "only dad" and wanted to call him. I told him I would call his dad. He grabbed the phone out of my hand, called his dad...his dad then called the police...and later I discovered my son said I kicked him. Again, I did not.
#### First of all these charges are not disturbing to me because I never thought they were true in the first place...they are disturbing to me only because I now know that they fall into the very easily identifiable category of the worst kind of PAS abuse by an alienating parent there is. In the most sick, offensive and damaging case scenario for a child these manufactured charges are usually false "sex abuse charges", and in the less offensive case scenario's they are exactly what you describe. In both case scenarios, however, they are extremely important signs of a child's PAS emotional abuse at the hands of the alienating and abusive parent when in fact these charges are patently false.
What your former husband is now doing to both your children is having its desired effect on them. It is causing them to completely disrespect you as a parent and out of fear of their father (not you) they are acting out what they believe their father wants them to do and act out towards you. This is where the PAS child starts to take on what Dr. Gardner calls, "their self contributions" to this PAS type behavior of hatred and denigration of the alienated parent. In other words the child has now gotten onto complete lockstep with the alienating parent and joins in with them in what can only be described as an unjustified "Puppet like" display of hatred and disrespect towards the alienated parent.
THIS IS CLASSIC PAS BEHAVIOR...and don't let anyone try and tell you different. The focus here should NEVER be on false charges that cannot be proven or have no concrete evidence to support....the focus MUST ALWAYS be on WHY the PAS inculcated child has chosen to act and behave this way when there is absolutely no concrete evidence or proof of all their false abuse charges.
This is a classic trap that the alienating parent wants you and the Court and everyone else to fall into. Focus on the charges and not on the reason they are being levied or that the charges have no evidence or proof to support them. When this begins to happen to you, you MUST never allow it to continue along this path, EVER. This is very IMPORTANT for you to remember in dealing with this problem. To show you just how IMPORTANT this is, the words, behavior and disrespect for you as a parent that you described to me above by your son are IDENTICAL to the words, behavior and disrespect of my 12 year old daughter towards me eight years ago. IDENTICAL...NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER ####
I do understand when there are cases of legitimate physical abuse, the child may react fearful or they may be protective of the abuser. Maybe you need to know that my ex left us twice and moved to other states for jobs he wanted.
#### In these cases of legitimate abuse there are entirely different forces at work. First there is some good evidence and proof in these kinds of legitimate abuse cases. Second a child under these circumstances always manifests their fear of the abuser in ways that are unmistakable. Then, as for your comments about your parenting skills and your attempts to convince me and I guess others that you are not an abusive person and that you are basically only a coward who cries out when you are in pain and that you are non-violent by nature let me say this to you. On the parenting skills comment, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Show me a parent who says they have not made some minor mistakes as a parent in life and I'll show you a person who can't seem to tell the truth about anything (otherwise known as a pathological liar).
Now on all your other comments about yourself and what I see as another trap you have fallen into over this PAS matter. First you are attacked as a bad parent, then a violent person, then an abuser, and then an angry person directing anger toward yourself. Boy what a load to carry wouldn't you say.
So what is your first instinct and reaction when you are attacked this way unjustly? To defend yourself, right? Well this is exactly what all those who are attacking you want and expect you to do. They want to be on the offensive and put you on the defensive. A classic trick that works all the time....UNLESS you are wise to their tricks and don't fall into their trap.
So I'll give you a piece of advice. From now on in don't even dignify their attacks on you by a response. Instead ignore them completely and begin to attack them back so as to put them on the defensive. Tell them that they are the bad parents in all this; that they are the bullies and abusers who have caused all these problems with you and your children; that they are the violent one's in causing your children to fear and disrespect their mother; that they are the one's who have stolen and kidnapped your children in the past against your will and without your knowledge; that they are the one's who should be directing all their anger toward themselves because of all the pain they have caused to so many people and your children; and finally that they are the one's and not you who have chosen to use your children for their own selfish purposes and who have lied continuously to achieve all their selfish goals. And when you say "they" in all this you mean your ex husband, the Court, the lawyers, the shrinks, the guardians and anyone else who has not come forth immediately to your defense and the defense of your innocent abused children in all this PAS child abuse they have encountered and
My son was angry at my parents for some reasons I do not understand. They called him as usual to say "hi." They are old and ill. My son verbally attacked them on the phone. Later, in therapy, my son said he hated his once beloved grandmother because she told him to honor his father and his mother. I was put in the position of defending my mother for a statement that was positive and correct.
#### See what I wrote above on all this and take this one little story into account about your son's attitude toward his once beloved and adored and now ill grandmother. My daughter's paternal grandmother who she also once loved and adored lay sick and dying only a few blocks from where my daughter lived with advanced Alzheimer's disease for two years without her once ever going over to see her. Finally when she died my daughter didn't even send a card or attend her funeral and to this day some six years later has never even acknowledged her death or the fact that she even lived here on this earth. Now what does that tell you about how disgustingly evil and reprehensible PAS child abuse is on children?####
Overall, my son has been claiming he is afraid of me. The last time I saw him I did bring my fiancé on the advice of my ex. I personally wanted him there to protect me against any further false charges. Basically, the evening went well...hockey game, dinner, etc. My son wanted us to buy him those Pokemon cards. I told him no. I explained that the game, the dinner, and the time spent together was what was important.
Two days later, I get another call from my ex's therapist saying my son was again afraid of me that night. This is so ridiculous that I am having difficulty explaining this. I will just end this by saying that I have never hit my children. I am certain I have made some mistakes. I allowed this to go too far. Now I am in a box that I cannot seem to get out of...and the kids are suffering the most. They are no longer happy. They pretend to be...but it is only a facade.
#### Once again you are trying to defend yourself when you don't have to. You also should have no difficulty explaining all this anymore after getting in touch with me so let's now get on with how you can get out of this box and save your children. I think I have given you enough initial ammunition to get the ball rolling here. What I want you to do now is start using this ammunition and changing your way of always trying to defend yourself when you should be going after and attacking those who have done all these terrible things to harm your children. You are not the culprit here. "They" are, and you know who "they" include...so let's get busy to save your kids, what do you say?####
Subj: An interesting and compelling recent Appeals Court opinion on PAS
From: Bill Kirkendale
To: Kathy Sanderson
I’m sending an interesting ruling and comment from a recent appeals court custody/false sex abuse case in Utah.... I find no difference in these false child sex abuse charge cases than other type of false child abuse charge cases, except that false sex abuse charges are usually more effective in PAS cases than other type false charges are in permanently destroying a child's former loving relationship with the target parent..Either way any of these kinds of false charges levied against an innocent parent are without a doubt what these Judges call..."a form of severe child abuse"..... Period...end of story....undebatable...without question....indefensible...and unconscionable for any parent to ever do to an innocent child. Here is what the Utah Appeals
Court said about this....
“The court found that a parent willing to subject his minor child to repeated physical examinations for child sexual abuse and repeated ‘therapy’ sessions for sex abuse which never occurred is practicing a form of severe child abuse. The court also found that Mr. Peterson, by repeatedly coaching his daughter to make false reports of sexual abuse and repeatedly coaching her to denounce her mother, is abusing a child psychologically by causing her to have ill feelings about her mother.”
Subj: Re: PAS" #2..#3
From: Kathy Sanderson
To: Bill Kirkendale
Dear Mr. Kirkendale:
My family and I have read your previous e-mail. We were all SPEECHLESS. You have so accurately and definitively described my situation. More importantly, you have given me the information needed to begin the attempt to change this tragedy.
I want you to know that I have hired a new attorney. My previous attorney settled this out of court, leaving me with nothing. The previous evaluator, who never saw the PAS, has been eliminated. I do have a new therapist involved who will be working with the bias therapist my former husband is taking my children to see. There are two therapists involved because my former husband would not agree to any therapist other than the one his attorney recommended. This way, at least my therapist and his will confer, and my input will be of more significance. The GAL remains the same. I do see a problem here. She has inaccurately based her decisions on my former husband's and my children's testimony. She has continually met with them in person throughout the past few years, while only meeting with me briefly once.
Because of your information, I have contacted her and she FINALLY is agreeing to meet with me and my new attorney. I will be presenting all of the information you have provided, and will go from there.
Personally, I can't thank you enough. I will no longer be on the defensive. You were so RIGHT. I fell into that trap completely and without knowing it. I will be contacting you as things evolve. This "mess" is making sense to me now. You have given me the information needed to actively pursue this with CONFIDENCE. I will never give up. Thank you again.
From: Kathy Sanderson
To: Bill Kirkendale
Dear Mr. Kirkendale:
I am sorry to bombard you with e-mails, but I do have a few more questions.
Since my children will not willingly even speak to me on the phone, should I cease contact with them completely until some professional help is involved? Also, should I allow my former husband's attorney to be aware of the
PAS...rather, should I allow her to know I am aware of the PAS? Please give me your advice on this. Thank you so much.
Subj: Re: -Reply
From: Bill Kirkendale
To: Kathy Sanderson
You are not bombarding me and I am always glad to try and answer your questions if I can.
On your first question about whether or not you should press any communication with your children who refuses to speak to you I will tell you this was always a highly debatable question with me that I'm still not sure to this day that I did the right thing about. On the one hand I wanted to speak to my daughter to try and drum some sense into her head, while on the other hand I really didn't know quite how to go about it.
So what I did was to try and take a middle ground approach that in hindsight I probably should have done something different. I attempted to speak to her through letters I sent to her via the various principals of her schools. This proved to be completely ineffective and I suppose from her point if view nothing more than pressing for some contact that she had absolutely no interest in having with me.
What I should have done is now at the very heart of your question to me and here is what my 20/20 hindsight advice would be that I should have done. What I forgot was one simple thing which was that she and your two sons were and still are our children that we have a responsibility to. Therefore, if we as their parents want to speak with them we should merely make whatever arrangements we can to do just that...speak to them whether they want to speak with us or not.
What happened to me and what is happening to you is that because we are in the position we are in as target parents of a severely PAS inculcated child we seem to think that we can't speak to our own children...and so we don't. That is just flat out wrong and frankly we don't need some shrink to assist us to speak to our children as we can do that very nicely without their help, or as we see in most cases with these shrinks, their ignorance and incompetent interference which, of course, is no help at all.
Having said all this then my advice to you is to demand that you have an opportunity to speak to your boys as soon as possible and if necessary use your visitation court order to do so, if you have one. If you don't have one then I would advise you to get one immediately using the obvious PAS inculcation in them as your basis for getting one pronto.
This then leads me to your next question about your husband's attorney and whether you should make her aware of what you know about PAS and that it is your firm belief that your boys are now victims of severe PAS abuse by her client. Again with the benefit of hindsight by all means I would make her aware of this (everything you can find on PAS with a minimum of 100 pages) and at the same time tell her that you are not about to stand for this abuse of your sons for one more minute....and that you demand that her client turn your children over to you to have some time with to show them how much you love them and to counter all this PAS abuse they have been subjected to by her client.
Now if this attorney runs true to form she will fight you on this tooth and nail which will then tell you that if you don't already have a visitation order in place that you need to get one in a hurry. If you do have a visitation order in place then you must demand of her and her client that he adhere to this order and if he doesn't you will be filing contempt charges against him immediately as well as asking the Court to make a change in physical custody of your children to you. That will get their juices flowing I can assure you.
While nothing I can tell you in the way of advice is guaranteed to work in these PAS cases, I do know from my own experience what doesn't work...and what doesn't work is to keep silent about what is going on here with your boys. The more noise you make and the more you press to see and speak with them the better chance you have of turning this whole mess around. Remember what I say on my web site about my DO's & DON'Ts. Do get aggressive and don't sit by and let the tail (your kids) wag the dog (you) because if you do then all will be lost.
I hope I've helped you here and if you have any more questions please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm never too busy to help out a parent who is facing the same PAS horror story as I went through.
From: Kathy Sanderson
To: Bill Kirkendale
Dear Mr. Kirkendale:
You're not only "a man who cares," but you are a man who makes a difference. I have faxed your e-mails to my attorney. That information stirred him up quite a bit. That's a good thing. I am continuing to call my sons, but that situation will take time to change. I look back at how close we were, and now they are such strangers to me. I will never understand how a parent can do that to their children. Do these abusers KNOW what they are doing, or are they so obsessed with foolish revenge and EGO that they start believing their own lies? I would like to ask you a personal question...if that's okay. How did you deal with the emotional devastation of losing contact with your daughter? My pain is so intense and overwhelming. Does it ever get easier?
This is effecting every aspect of my life. Mr. Kirkendale, why don't any of these so-called professionals "see" any of this PAS abuse? It's not like trying to find a needle in a haystack...it is so very obvious.
I am afraid we will never know how Kathy's case would have turned out or if her children could have been saved. I do, however, want the world to remember that this woman went to the grave fighting for her children and they will never know or understand that fight because their father has brainwashed them to the extent that they no longer care to find out.
A LOOK AT SOME E-MAILS FROM OTHER PAS AFFECTED PARENTS
Every year I get about 4,000 letters and e-mails from people all over the country, and even the world, about their PAS problems. These are usually all very similar and all have a lot of pain and urgency about them. So that you can see in your own struggles with PAS with your children that you are not alone I wanted to share a few of these with you. I have deleted names to protect the privacy of those who have written me.
What you see here is a sad commentary on our Society and our Family Court system in America today having to do with children of divorce. You will notice that about half of these e-mails are from fathers and half from mothers, which is the norm with all PAS cases today. You will also see an e-mail from a now adult child of PAS who tells a story every PAS parent should take note of.
And finally what would the world be without a PAS story from Russia, which I have included. I really want people who have a PAS problem on their hands to see that they are not alone by any means. When this happened to me ten years ago I thought I was the only person in the world who had the problem I was having with my daughter, and even worse I didn’t know what it was or that it even had a name. So please see for yourself that you are indeed not alone in your pain.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ('email@example.com')
My husband's ex is alienating his children from him and me their new stepmother. The children are even afraid to hug us or say hi at a basketball game or other activity where "she" is watching.
the children said they are afraid of what she is saying about us.
She returns letters we send to the kids and the children told us they are afraid to call my husband for fear of getting in trouble.
My husband has done nothing illegal not to see the kids, nor do the divorce papers site any limits to visitation. --they list visitation is to be encouraged and mutual love and sharing of children is also encouraged. Thus the problems began. We do not have a mid week listed but we were getting one for two years and then they stopped. Kids are too busy, have a party to go to, have to get a hair cut etc etc.
The children are afraid to express any overt signs of love or affection with me or my husband near his ex.
My stepson says he is afraid of what his mother says about us. My stepson told us he was told his mother might get into a car wreck and she would miss him soo bad just before the kids came for a week of vacation with us. My stepson cried for two days that his mother might get killed and he would never see her again.
Both children are afraid to call during the week. both have said they would get in trouble if they picked up the phone to call us.
Last sunday the ex put flowers on the altar and listed in the bulletin credits from Mary, John, Sue doe and used the stepfathers last name for my stepson's last name.
She returned valentines cards sent to the children.
A stepmom of a 14yr old and a 10yr old.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ('email@example.com')
Mr. William Kirkendale:
Thank God I found your web site! When I read "Why do PAS Parent Alienation Parents Act Like They Do?" I was reading about my ex as if I wrote it myself. I realized later that my ex fits the description of a sociopath. I have been telling the Family Court System for years that he is a liar,
manipulative, and an abuser. They have done nothing. My ex is brainwashing our 5 year old son to hate me, to call me by my first name (he is not allowed to call me mommy at his house or my son fears punishment), he has to call his new wife mommy or else. I have to have the assistance of the police to see my son, as his father does not follow the court order for holidays or any other day. My son has also been brainwashed not to tell me anything about how he feels or what happens to him at his dad's home. I am also concerned because my ex was sexually abused by his brother for years. I am afraid for my son. Please, Mr. Kirkendale, I need your help before it is too
late. What can I do to protect my son? Family Court is not the answer!
Please contact me by phone or e-mail.
This is SH in Louisville, KY. It has been awhile since we have communicated. The situation has continued to get worse. First my ex-husband and his wife started with my 11 year old son and now they are infecting my 9 year old daughter. I need help. I would like to find a child therapist in Louisville who is well read on PAS. Can you help? I know you said you were close friends with the M’s. Thank you.
Subj: PAS, another case!
I received your name from DS. She & her husband have been very grateful for the help you have given them. It is so encouraging to know that there is actually a group of people who are aware of what some parents do to keep their children away from the other parent.
My son, "L" has not seen his children age 3 and 5 for 13 months. (Neither have I nor anyone else in our family been allowed to see them.)
Yesterday he met with the GAL and the judge and his Xwife to work out a visitation plan. Can you believe that they said he shouldn't see the children at all because they are concerned that he might tell the children it is their fault that they haven't been able to see Daddy and that could damage them emotionally.
This mess is not the children's fault. It never occurred to us that it was. This is just another stalling, controlling plot. Anyway, this whole thing is full of outrageous garbage. It is to go to trial on Feb. 13.
My question is: Do you know if it is possible to get an attorney that is interested in PAS who will help someone who has already spent everything on lawyers and gotten no where?
We have some good stuff to present in court. To me, (not being an attorney!) It seems like it would be easy to prove that this is a case that is so beyond belief that people think we are telling lies when we try to explain. I will give you one example:
"L" was arrested for supposed violation of a restraining order. The X's lawyer submitted a statement stating that the preschool teacher said "L" had come to the preschool and talked to his son. She didn't say that. "L" didn't go to the school and didn't talk to his son. Yet, he was arrested on that and we spent thousands of dollars on this before the case was dropped.
We are in desperate need of a lawyer that isn't bought off and will just present the info we have.
God bless you for the work you do.
Subj: IN NEED OF HELP
Dear Mr. Kirkendale,
I'm writing this letter on behalf of my Boyfriend. His soon to be ex is severely brainwashing and alienating his 3 daughters against him. their ages are 11 yr and twins that are 3yrs. we have been reading everything on PAS that we can find, and it fits this woman to a Tee!!!!!! One would swear the study was done on her!!! The problem is, we can't seem to get his attorney, the courts, or even children services to do anything about it!!! is there any assistance you can give us to help these children or him in his court case. Where we can site cases where fathers have gotten custody of the children. please respond ASAP. we are in desperate need of help for these kids!
Subj: HELP !!!!
I am in the same situation with my daughter as Mr. Kirkendale is with his daughter. It is hard for me to believe what my daughter’s mother has done to all of us, but I'll be damned if I can find ANYONE from within the system to acknowledge it and deal with it.
Normally, I would agree that it is probably not a good idea, but I am representing myself in a parental alienation case. I have come to realize that I am not going to win on these issues, whether I hire an attorney or not. Essentially, the case has been so protracted, and has become so complicated, that it would be impossible to bring a new attorney up to speed.
I am, therefore, looking to find a source to answer some legal questions as they come up. I’ve been unable to find someone in Rochester as they are, apparently, either prejudiced by the circumstances, or intimidated by the internal pressures of the profession.
I fully expect to pay for the information I need, I just need to be sure that the source is reliable. Please let me know if someone comes to mind.
Subj: Help - In Dire Need of Assistance
I am a mother of two beautiful children and the divorce from their father was final May 1, 2000 although the entire process began in September 1999. Since my separation from my ex-husband, he has taken the children and has turned them against me completely. Children who once loved me dearly, hugged and kissed me regularly, now will have nothing to do with me. My ex-husband was convicted of drug trafficking and cultivation of marijuana back in 1991 or 1992 and yet was still able to gain custody of my children (I have no criminal record).
I have taken him back to court over the denial of visitation and the magistrate stated to my ex and the children that there is a court order and that the children do not have a choice but to visit. I have seen my children only one time in over a year. I took my ex back to court on December 8 in hopes that the judge would find him in contempt of a court order and even though I gave her volumes of information on PAS and how he has defied the court order...she stated that I did not show the burden of proof for contempt of court. I am at a loss as to what to do in this case. I gave the magistrate and the children's counselors the information I obtained from the websites and yet no one will pay any attention to my situation. I am afraid if my ex is allowed to continue in the manner he has chosen, my children will be lost to me forever. I love them very much and only want what is best for them. Please help me.
Subj: Major PAS!!
Dear Mr. Kirkendale,
I've just been briefly reading over the material on PAS (which I was not aware my situation had an established name) and I could not believe what I was seeing!! This is my situation exactly!!! My ex-husband and I have been divorced for over 5 years now. He adopted my daughter, who is now almost 13, about a year or so after we were married. He is not her biological father. We also have a son together who is 9. I have custody of both children and the father has full visitation as ordered by the court. We never really had any problems to speak of up until about 8 months ago. At this time my ex got involved with a woman who has nine children of her own.
I'm told they plan to get married early next year. He has had girlfriends in the past and there were never any problems between us as far as being able to communicate about the children. Since his involvement with his new girlfriend it just seems like all hell has broke loose. To make it brief, everything that I'm reading about PAS is happening to me and my children since then. My daughter is completely turned against all of us here. She is very mean and abusive to her brother. None of us can talk to her about anything!!! She is so cold and hateful!!!
My ex has been constantly harassing me during this time, trying to accuse me of child abuse, he even has my daughter going along with it all!!! I'm am at the end of my rope!!! I finally decided to start taking the children to counseling.
I would appreciate your help and advice in this matter.
I am very interested in your project. I did not realize that there is a name for what my daughter has, and boy does she ever have PAS. You describe her perfectly. It's eight years now since I, or anyone else in my family, have seen her. She is 21 years old today, and graduating Yale with straight A's. Naturally the problem is all mine and she refuses to see a counselor.
Her brother, now 18, visits me faithfully and we are on very good terms even though he had exactly the same upbringing.
Any ideas what to do? I think maybe I should talk to a counselor who specializes in this sort of thing.
Thanks very much.
New York, NY 10013
tel Subj: William Kirkendale(please read)
I am looking for Mr.Kirkendale, If you or if someone may know how to reach or contact Mr.Kirkendale I would appreciate it. I just read his letter in regard to his daughter that is missing. Hopefully he has found her since 1997. I would like to contact him to find out a little more on the topic of PAS. Because I am a child who had to deal with PAS from my mother and I also have
a step daughter who is dealing with PAS by her mother. As Mr.Kirkendale stated, "it is real, and it happens, and it hurts, not only the fathers, but the children as well." I am living proof that it does hurt and time doesn't always heal.
Thank you and please if you know or know someone that can forward this to Mr.kirkendale I would appreciate a return response from him and or someone who knows of this PAS.
Thank you for your time and patience
Subj: my feelings
From: CM (In reply to my request to tell me her story)
I am not sure if this is what you want but this is my true feelings and private feelings no one knows these things on how I felt and how I still to this day feel in regards as to PAS. Maybe I was a child of PAS and maybe I wasn't but either way what happened to me is what is happening to millions of kids today.
I am one child who lost their childhood in the hands of adults that I so dearly loved. I had no control over my life and had no way to express my feelings without being in trouble. I was cheated while others won. I was made to believe things that were untrue, however now as an adult how will I ever know what is true. I should have been able to be a little princess in my fathers' eyes waiting to go and have ice cream.
That never happened all I got was feelings of betrayal while watching other little girls devour the love of their father. I hoped and prayed that he would come rescue me but he never did he stayed away like I was told he wanted to do. I would be in plays, cheerleading in hopes that when I looked into the crowd I would see someone who looked like me, but I never saw. From the time I was two till thirteen I kept on having faith that he would come despite my hateful words that I was forced to say. I thought that he would know I didn't mean what was being said or done but he didn't. I then became angry because he should have known I loved him no matter what but he proved them all correct by not appearing and giving me what I as a child deserved.
My made up feelings as a child became real ones as an adult. I learned how to hate at the drop of a hat. I learned how to not love because it can be done. I learned how to make people say and do things I want them to by twisting words or things they would say around. I learned how to make people believe a lie. I made him believe I hated him that wasn't fair to me. I made him believe I didn't want to see him and that wasn't fair to me. I as an adult believed for a long time that I caused him to stay away but I also as an adult became very angry at him because he should have kept searching for me. I tried for several years to locate to find just so I could slap him and tell him how much I hated him for not being there on those occasions when a father should have been there.
I wanted to humiliate him and hurt him and make him pay for all the suffering I had to suffer as a child. I wanted to see tears in his eyes for me and at my expense because I had shed so many all through my life. I wanted an apology from him for not calling sending a letter and ect... but when I turned 29 and we finally found him I couldn't call. it took me 3 weeks to get the nerve up to even dial the number. When I only had one thing to say and one word and that was "WHY" he tried to talk but all I could say was why. After a few phone calls, we had finally met after 20 (and in between age two and nine I only saw him once) years of not ever seeing his face or hearing his voice I had to meet the man who I thought left me and didn't love me. Who I thought hated me as much as I hated him. My thought of seeing him only brought joy to me because now was my chance to slap him in the face and see tears of pain streak down his face as they had streaked down my for 27 years night after night.
When my plane landed I couldn't get off the plane, they had to force me off and as soon as I saw a man standing there knowing he had open arms and wanting a hug I only shook his hand and told him " you don't deserve a hug I don't know you and until I know you all you get is a handshake" he still never shed a tear. he tried to explain his actions but I wouldn't listen, it only escalated into a argument of he should have been with me. He then wanted my children to call him grampa and I let him know that he had to earn that right it just doesn't come natural anymore. I was so full of hate towards him I wanted to literally hurt him I tried to think of ways with my brother but nothing seemed to pan. Every word that came out of my father's mouth to me was a lie no matter if it were the truth or not. My mother again became upset and even as an adult reminded me of every event that he wasn't there for and everything he should have done but didn't do. She even went as far as to make up situations that were untrue just to put doubt in my mind about him again not that I didn't have enough. The sad part is it worked. When I turned 30 and after knowing him approx 1 year I decided to move from my mother and try with my father.
My mother became very upset with me and even quit speaking to me for quite sometime but with her not speaking I was able to talk and to work out problems with my father it took me 4 years before I could even call him dad. He has proven now that he is here and if he says he will do something he makes sure he does it. It was a long hard road for both of us but we hurled it but we had to get certain people out of the picture until we were able to make amends. I however will still never be that princess
I should have been but I can honestly say I am now DADDIES GIRL. I have been able to forgive and so has he we have put all this behind us and go towards the future. Although my father has admitted to me that he feels like he is walking on thin ice, afraid I will hate him again but I can honestly say the hate that I had for him for so many years was a program that I have gotten rid of and I love him now with all my heart and I now cherish each and every moment we have together.
I am sending you this so you will have some idea as to what my feelings are. And just for an update to all this I have spoken with my mother and told her of this PAS thing and believe it or not I received an apology from her with her telling me she was sorry and that she made bad choices. She told me she knew what she had done has been wrong and she can't take them back but she can apologize for them in which she has done. I want to keep in contact with you because I intend on trying to help others from this happening. I also think you might have misunderstood my last email. I don't think you will belittle anyone at all. What I was saying was what is in my diary is very belittling to me. Anyway keep me in touch and let me know what I can do to help keep this from happening to other children. It doesn't make a person feel good when they hurt so much..
Subj: Contempt of Court Order
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ('email@example.com')
I have just served my ex-husband a contempt of court order in violation of our legal joint custody agreement in the state of NJ. He has physical custody of our two children, ages 18 and 14 and he has successfully alienated them from me. Within the last 7 years of our children being in
his custody I have not once seen them for Christmas, never received a gift, card or phone call from them on holidays.
Even though I have visitation rights, last year my son and daughter decided that they didn't want to see me any more.
This Monday, I have the court date to fight my ex on this topic and to prove that he and his wife are to blame for my children's indifference towards me.
What will be the outcome if he is proven negligent since my daughter turned 19 November 26, I presume that I have no rights over her. What can I achieve from this hearing?
Subj: RE: Contempt of Court Order-REPLY
From: RS (again)
Thank you very much for responding to my request and story.
Unfortunately, as you stated and from the story you sent me, my daughter M is very bright also, attends an affluent Prep school in New Jersey and to everyone but me, she is cordial, respectful and a delight to be around. I've gotten notes from her teachers that say she is one of the best
students they've encountered and a wonderful child.
Unbeknownst to them, she does not want to know her mother. She has also professed to me that her stepmother is now regarded by her has her real mother.
As counselors have tried to convince me, I guess I need to wait this lifetime out and maybe with some ray of hope, she as well as my son will return to me someday.
I am seeking any current/recent litigation regarding parental alienation of affection. Regarding attorney negligence (failing to submit ANY motion for visitation), also regarding any remedies that do not include custody transfer. Writing this to obtain information for a friend, his
children are now 19, 17, and 15. They have been so "brainwashed", they only curse him when he attempts to contact them. The judge did state in the divorce decree, that the mother had intentionally interfered in the father's relationship with his children. Can you help? Thank you for your time.
Subj: Family Court: The discriminating reason for so many disturbed children in today's society.
To whom it may concern,
I am sure you have heard plenty of cases about abuse of discretion. My case is one of such happening. In short I was divorced in May of 1996 and was in agreement to having the children 60% of the time on paper. I am the father. The mother decided not to have anything to do with the children so through court and with a court appointed guardian ad litem I retained custody
of the children for 3 1/2 years.
I remarried and had 2 more children. One day out of the blue my ex-wife filed for full custody. In a hearing that lasted only 1 hour and 45 minutes. I was stripped of my two children I raised for 3 1/2 years without her based on the decision and statement by the judge "she is the mother".
Along the way her attorney has filed many, many false statements that I have had to take to court to ask that they be stricken from the record. The Judge has done so, but will not do anything to stop the attorney. The attorney himself has admitted he lied to the judge. Along with his
overstated and false child support worksheet he filed. This took 8 months to correct and put my family in a tremendous finical bind. Not to mention the mother was $3000 behind in child support. The judge laughed and said "this is typical of a recently divorced mother". However we had been divorced for almost 4 years at the time of the hearing.
I have requested many times to take the opposing attorney to court to ask for my legal fees to be paid, for the slander and malpractice he has done. However I can not find any one who is willing to get another attorney in trouble. The Judge himself in the ruling against me didn't even use any
of the facts in the hearing to make his ruling. He hides behind his statement of " she is the mother". I have the transcript to prove this. It is to my understanding there is a Supreme Court disciplinary Council that will review matters such as mine. However I can not get any assistance in this matter.
It is very apparent of the discriminating nature of the courts in the matter of children from divorced parents. This has caused a great deal of stress and frustration to myself and my children.
I would like some references on these matters. I am trying to obtain equal visitations for my children. I have been reduced to being an every other weekend dad after raising them for 3 1/2 years with out their mother. They are very disturbed over what the court system has done to them. They had to move out on a Sunday night without any notice with only 4 weeks of
school left and never even got to say goodbye to the friends they grew up with.
I live in Anytown, Ohio. I am requesting some information as to where I can go with this. Will someone please help me! I read the introductory to this web site and feel that there is someone out there that might actually care. Is there?
Subj: Happy Holidays
Happy Holidays...I hope this finds you well. I am sure that the weather there is better than it is here. We have gotten some snow and are expecting more this week. I tried to visit with my kids on Friday but to no avail. They were hostile and nasty and practically threw me out of the house. I was hoping that the Christmas spirit would be present, but I was wrong. They told me that they had no intentions of visiting with me this Christmas or ever again and told me to leave. My ex told them that the only reason that I wanted them was for the money. I told them that their father was the one with custody and that I was the one paying support so how is it that I am the one that wants money?
This is now the second Christmas that I have spent away from my kids and it is very painful. I wish that there was something that I could do to change it, but there isn't. The court appointed the guardian ad litem again, but going to him I'm afraid will be a waste of time and I don't even know why he is involved....all I want is to see my kids without interference. But at least I am not alone this Christmas...I have my mom here and I am involved with a wonderful man and he has 2 girls. It was fun watching kids open presents again.
Again, I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and I truly appreciate your assistance.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this morning. The fact that there is someone else out there that understands what I am going through is comforting and a great source of hope. I am desperately concerned about my two sons, ages 5 and 9, and the effects their father's behavior will have on them as they mature. Their father is completely self centered, a convicted batterer and stalker. He currently has joint legal custody AND visitation. He encourages the boys to spy, to keep secrets, to disobey my rules for them, to ignore teachers, lie to counselors, misbehave, destroy my property, and make my life miserable. His relentless brainwashing, lack of concern for their emotional and psychological well-being, lack of self-control, and disregard for rules, the judge or authority is terrifying. I need some help.
I will be returning to court in late January, early February, to ask for full custody and need as much information as possible, and as many resources to deal with the aftermath, as are available to me. I need direction, counseling and experts regarding this syndrome. I refuse to believe that the boys are a lost cause. I know they can be loved and helped to a "normal" future, but not without help for all of us.
Thank you for your time.
Dear Mr. Kirkendale:
I just wanted to let you know that my husband experienced the X's attempts at parental alienation at the beginning of their divorce and a few years thereafter.
My husband and I would not let up and we refused to have any contact with the X whatsoever when we realized what she was doing. Instead, we had direct contact with teachers, coaches and day care workers.
I think non-custodial parents forget that teachers and day care workers can't prohibit a non-custodial parent from visiting or participating in school/day care functions (unless they are a threat to society, etc.)
Most dads would give up. They need to be persistent without annoying the teachers and staff. They need to be persistent so their children see how much they want to stay involved.
After 8 years, some court appearances (all initiated by the X, but backfired on her),it has been successful for us and we have a nice blended family. My stepchild has lived with his mother this entire time with 30-40 percent visitation for us) and he has formed his own opinion of her while remaining close to us.
Just felt like writing an e-mail to you. You seem like such a nice person and have given such wonderful supportive advice in regards to the PA situation we are dealing with my husband's boys.
I am having an extremely difficult day. I have been trying to stay strong, not let things get to me, etc. and live my life to the fullest. It is very hard though sometimes. As for today, I just found out some extremely hurtful and mean things that my stepson is saying about me......and the lies!!!! I don't want to sound like some princess or something but I have always surrounded myself with people who have class. The people that my husband knows (ex-wife, etc.), do not have any whatsoever. No wonder his boys are such a mess!!! Anyway, I am learning to keep things in perspective better but I am in no way used to this type of behavior or bashing, so to speak of another human being. Your wife and yourself must be very strong people to have gone through all of this parent alienation stuff. As I said earlier, this evening I found out that my stepson is saying he down right hates me and he used some choice terms which I do not wish to repeat to describe me.
The thing that hurts and is so frustrating is that all of these lies that are going about, I have never done to these children. I have been extremely good and caring to these children. This woman has their head so extremely messed up. The ex-wife has acted up on and off through out our relationship but as soon as we got married, "all heck broke loose". In this past year the boys have done more than a 100 degree turn. Right now I just feel so broken but I know I will bounce back. I usually do. The hard thing that I am having difficulty dealing with right now is that I have been trying not to loose a place in my heart for his kids. I have been fighting through all this to not let that happen and after tonight I can honestly that there is no room anymore.
I have always been a forgiving person but now I really could care less if I ever see them again. And if I do, I won't care or have the energy for a relationship with them. I will have a hard enough time being mature and civil when they are in my presence. I feel guilty, in a way, for feeling this way as these are my husband's children but I am just plain burnt out. The thing I have trouble understanding is that these are children who were not very young children we when began dating. They have the knowledge, foundation and memory of the things we have done for them. I would think they could try to maintain some balance between their mom's home and ours. I did when I was a child going through mild PA.
Maybe, though, the brainwashing has been so severe that they have completely forgotten about the good things. I told my husband that I am somewhat concerned about my safety since his ex-wife and children a so angry and bitter and blame everything on me for being in my husband's life. The sheer ignorance is amazing. I hardly ever open my mouth and I am catching all kinds of stuff. These are children who used to once follow me around talking my ear off, wanting to go places with me, wanting me to take them places, etc. I felt we have a great bond growing. Now it is so bad....I sometimes wonder how much more I can deal with. My husband has been feeling the same way. My husband is close the getting the kids into counseling. I feel this deprogramming could take years.
At any rate, we have not been able to get the article you wrote in front of the children as every effort my husband makes to see them is shot down. He has been a little successful, lately, as he was able to set a date for tomorrow for dinner with the boys.....we will see if they will stand him up AGAIN! The children are saying stuff like he cares more for me than them and that he took their mother to court to raise the child support and now he wants to see them more. Pretty ridiculous, huh. I don't know too many fathers who will take the bio mom to court to raise the child support that they pay to her...do you??
Well, thanks for listening. I am just feeling horrible right now.
From: A Mom
I have seen several articles on this and the alienating parent always seems to be mom. I am currently going through a custody battle and he is the one displaying all the criteria for the alienating parent, this includes calling our child by a different name when she is with him, making comments like;'I will save you from the bad mommy' and various other alienating tactics. I have not refused him visits nor does he miss visits. Why is a PAS perpetrator always assumed to be the mom?
My little girl is becoming very confused by his constant put-downs and it will eventually affect her terribly. What can I do? Believe it or not I am a mom who wants her daughter to have a relationship with her dad, I grew up without one and I did not like it.
Subj: info on PAS
As I read you article on PAS it made chills go down my spine! The symptoms described my ex-wife to the T! My sons and I have been going to counseling (not anymore though) for 3 years with no headway being made. When I brought up alienation by their mother it was quickly dismissed and it became a taboo subject. I still to this day don't know why. You article described my situation as if I wrote it. Is this syndrome new? Does the psych community not know of it? As I deal with counselors and lawyers its like they are the experts and I know nothing. I've been through 2 lawyers (saving monies to change lawyers AGAIN) and one counselor. I'm in California are there any organizations out this way that may help?
Subj: Your web site
Just visited your web site. All four of my children have been alienated from me, and now we are seeing the results of it all. I haven't seen my daughter for six years now, all due to alienation. I hope you will keep in mind all of the people who have lost their children in the past, and who have fought against a system that just doesn't care. I do not expect to see my daughter, or have a normal relationship with her for the rest of my life. Thank you for getting this out for all to see, as it is without a doubt, one of the most devastating things to happen to the family in this country.
Subj: Thank you
Thank you for giving what I have been going through a name. I am sorry for everyone who has to go through this. I am a mother of an only son, who divorced after 17 years. My son left with me but ended up back with his dad; I wanted him to have his creature comforts that he was used to having. After sneaking around behind my ex's back to see my son, the truth surfaced that my son had been seeing me and he was thrown out of the house by his father--senior year high school, age 17.2 years old then.
The long and short of it is that I have neither seen nor spoken to my son in over 3 years. I am not told about him. I could fill 10 pages with evidence that he suffers from PAS. My ex and I had one meeting with Family Services before the divorce, and the ex was allowed to get away with "I don't want to talk about it." The Family Services "counselor" was anxious to get home--4:30 on a Friday afternoon. No one cared and no one helped, and my son turned 18--"an adult." And now it appears too late. Visitation and child support no longer applies. I have been forced to give up...I tried calling just two weeks ago only to have the phone slammed in my ear by my son. The anger has lasted too long. When he was in high school, his school said he needed help--my ex would not allow it. My son has since been cut off from my family and any mutual friends we once had. It is like he has fallen off the face of the earth.
I die a thousand deaths daily...this needs to be stopped!
Thanks for listening and thanks for your site!
Subj: Re: PAS
From: LN (again months later)
Dear Mr. Kirkendale:
I had written you last November and was re-visiting your website today in hopes that maybe you had gotten to see or speak to your daughter since I last checked. I guess I go there periodically to see if you have made any progress on that front because (selfishly) I might get some hope if she were to talk to you. Three years seems like a long time for me--nine years--I don't know how you have done it. Last time I tried to communicate with my son he slammed the phone in my ear. He will be 20 in July, and I have kind of lost hope. I know you are supposed to keep trying--keep in touch--but I can't. The wall of the ex and his family is too tall, my son is an "adult," and it is too late for any court to help me now. I have tried every means to break through to the point of jeopardizing my own health, and I can no longer subject myself to the hatred that now emanates from my son. We were so close once--I cannot believe that this is the same kid. I don't know himanymore.
The courts should have done something when there was the opportunity--before he turned 18!! The school was willing to come and testify about his needing help--no one cared or listened. Will they ever??
Mother's Day was horrid this year--worse than Christmas or Thanksgiving or any other holiday. Will anyone ever care about our broken hearts?? Is society just going to continue allowing the creation of kids with no values and tons of animosity?
Thanks for continuing to try!
Subj: Mr. William Kirkendale
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ('email@example.com')
Dear Mr. Kirkendale,
While doing a research project for my employer, I ran across your letter to John Doe, and the information on PAS provided in the Family Court website. I was very interested, and wanted to write you, as I have never heard of this syndrome before.
The first piece I came to was the description of how PAS affects a child. The picture you describe so accurately fits my stepson. I then picked up the description of the parent responsible, and again, was shocked to see it so accurately matching my husband's ex-wife.
Their son is 16 years old, and hates his father to an extreme. I have four grown children of my own, one son, so I am aware of the tension that often exists between a father and son, even in a good relationship. As the son grows toward manhood, the expectations of both father and son are put to the test. But this boy's hatred of his father, who is such a kind and charitable person, is so extreme and dramatic - we both have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why he feels the way he does.
At one time, when we were able to actually pin him down, he began reciting incidents of neglect and meanness. My husband remembered these incidences well, but not because he had done them - because it was the boy's mother who had done them, and no mater what he said, his son simply would not believe that his mother had tried to hurt him that badly. He insisted it was his father who would never come to school functions, left him home alone all the time, was mean and hateful. We were shocked, and terribly upset.
His son lives in another state with his mother. He is a very, very troubled boy who says he is gay. He is defensive and angry. Is there anything we can do for him? We both love him so much, but he has refused to come and see us. Do you think there is any hope for a child of this age, or is his relationship with his father really over?
Thank you for your time in reading this, Mr. Kirkendale. I would appreciate hearing from you.
Subj: Request from Russia
Dear Mr. Kirkendale,
Not going into much details I would like to tell you that I too am a victim of PAS, as a father who hasn't seen his child for a year now due to PAS. While the story is ugly and could well be branded a horror one I am trying to concentrate on the positive side of it. For me it is the perfect
understanding of what is happening to my child and me.
In the early days of my saga I desperately searched all sources of information available. To my surprise the problem is a world wide phenomenon. Yet here in Russia even Internet has no reference to it AT ALL !!!!
While I am discussing with Douglas Darnell chances of his book published here (which will definitely take time) I have decided to invest my personal time and some money into the creation of a web page in Russian to spread the awareness about PAS here in this country where my manipulated and actually deceived son so far leaves (his mother married a German national and to eliminate me out of the boy's life went as far as trying to prove in the court that I am not even the biological father of my 9 year-old son....)
I too want to devote this effort to my son that eventually may help others in this country to at least be aware of what may happen and why it happens. While PAS counters under our children's photos will show different numbers the detrimental effects on their and our lives are the same.
Do you think I could have your permission to use the general layout and the introductory article of your homepage as a base for my page ?
Irrespective of how my projects goes I wish you personally and your members a fulfillment of your hopes and best things in life.
SUMMING IT ALL UP ABOUT PAS ......A MEDIATION AND INTERVENTION PLAN
A MEDIATION AND INTERVENTION PLAN FOR PAS VICTIMS
Note: The following article was selected as the winning entry in the 1998 Student Essay Contest of the American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution. The author appreciates the review and comments made by the following practitioners: Sean Byrne, John Lande, Ramona Buck, Marcia Abbo, Loree Cook-Daniels, and Susan H. Shearouse.
The author, Anita Vestal, at the time she wrote this study on PAS was a doctoral student in dispute resolution at Nova Southeastern University. She has been recognized by the American Bar Association and the Association of Broward County Mediators for essays on the topic of parental alienation and mediation. She is the principal investigator of the PEACE Project, a research study on conflict resolution strategies for preschool children that is funded by the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families.
FAMILY AND CONCILIATION COURTS REVIEW, Vol. 37, No. 4, October, 1999, p. 487-503
MEDIATION AND PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME
Considerations for an Intervention Model
by Anita Vestal
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a term that originated in the mid-1980s, refers to a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with viewing one parent as all good and the other parent as all bad. Conscious or unconscious words and actions of custodial parents cause the child(ren) to align with them in rejection of noncustodial parents during divorce or custody disputes. Issues of concern for mediators include detection of PAS and an understanding of appropriate remedial plans that will allow the child to restore his or her relationship with the noncustodial parent.
An area of growing demand and concern for family mediators is in the minefields of child custody litigation. With no-fault divorce, and a standard for determining custody in light of the child's best interests, judges are besieged with a backlog of disputed custody cases without clear and concrete guidelines to follow in deciding whether to favor the mother or the father. Many experts in family law--from both the legal and mental health arenas-have observed an increase in deceptive and manipulative tactics used by divorcing couples. This article looks at parental alienation syndrome (PAS), which is a complex manifestation of mental and emotional abuse resulting from conflicted parents fighting for custody. Recommendations are given for a model that could be employed by family mediators to ensure that families suffering from PAS receive prompt and effective intervention.
MEDIATION IN CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTES—
The surge in divorce rates during the past two decades, along with major judicial reforms since the 1970s, has led to several significant changes in the ways that courts handle family law cases. Divorce and custody laws have been widely revised by states, and alternatives to litigation have emerged and gained prominence. Mediation has become a popular option, and in many states, mediation is mandatory for divorcing couples. Judicial systems in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin were early experimenters with the concept of conciliation courts, where parents were encouraged to work out divorce and custody conflicts. In the past two decades, many states have introduced mandatory mediation of contested child custody.
There has been research that supports mediation as a positive intervention in custody disputes. Studies of custody cases in several large cities report that over one half (between 50% and 90%) of the cases are settled through mediation (Atkinson 1996). A large empirical evaluation of mediation services in three court-based programs showed generally high levels of user satisfaction according to the researchers (Pearson and Thoennes 1986). Both the Denver Mediation Project of the early 1980s and a study conducted in Toronto found mediation to be successful in keeping divorcing families out of court. The Toronto study compared couples that mediated custody with those that litigated without mediation; only 10% of mediated couples returned to the courtroom after 2 years with problems related to custody or visitation, whereas 26% of the non-mediated couples were back in court within 2 years (Herman 1990). These studies of divorcing couples did not focus exclusively on "highconflict" divorce situations.
Herman (1990) challenges the suitability of mediation in some custody disputes. He asserts that the assumption that mediation will deter the bitterness, disappointment, and anger of divorcing couples and lead them toward cooperation, understanding, and tolerance has not been documented. "Even a highly skilled mediator cannot compensate for the sharp differences in sophistication and power that often exist between divorcing spouses" (p. 56). The issue of mandatory mediation of child custody cases has some outspoken critics. Carol Bruch, professor of family law at the University of California at Davis, publicly testified before the New York state legislature about her concerns that children are not best represented in mediation and women are often at a distinct disadvantage. She observes that there is no research evidence to support a claim that children whose parents mediate custody settlements do better than children of litigating parents. Furthermore, she points to her own experience with family law attorneys and mediators to support her assertion that the husband and his views are accorded more respect than the wife and her views (Herman 1990).
These conflicting viewpoints with regard to the pros and cons of mediation in child custody disputes indicate a need for additional research.
PAS AND CUSTODY DISPUTES
he foregoing section reviewed the historical context of mediation in child custody disputes and some of the research findings, both pro and con, relative to the suitability of mediation in custody cases. There are concerns that mediation may not work to the advantage of everyone concerned in all cases of contested custody. "In most divorce cases where there is animosity and conflict between the parents, there is some degree of brainwashing and programming (of children)" (Clawar and Rivlin 1991, 9). This brainwashing and programming may be relatively mild or it may be quite severe. It may be conscious or unconscious on the part of the parent(s). The parent's conscious or unconscious disparaging of the separated spouse often leads to the phenomenon of PAS.
PAS refers to a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with viewing one parent as all good and the other parent as all bad. The bad parent is hated and verbally maligned, whereas the good parent is loved and idealized. Another hallmark of PAS is the false charging of child abuse, which comes about when one parent is intent upon driving away the other parent (Carper, et al. 1995). Cases in which PAS is suspected require a diagnosis from a mental health expert prior to being referred for mediation.
Forensic psychologist Dr. Richard Gardner originated the term PAS in the mid-1980s; however, the phenomenon was described in an earlier work by Wallerstein and Kelly (1980). They characterize an "alignment with one parent" that is a "divorce-specific relationship that occurs when a parent and one or more children join in a vigourous attack on the other parent" (p. 77). In parental alienation, one parent who has previously had a good relationship with the child becomes the object of hate and degradation by the child due to conscious or unconscious brainwashing by the other parent. Gardner (1992) claims that between 80% and 90% of all custody cases exhibit some form of PAS from mild to moderate to severe symptoms. This claim has not been supported by research, and many experts in the field feel it is an exaggeration of the proportions of the problem. Gardner, however, includes cases that he feels are relatively mild; these very mild cases will improve as soon as the custody decision has been made, according to Gardner. The issue of concern for mediators and court officials is that they may have difficulty recognizing PAS and could easily assume the "rejected" parent is indeed a poor parent and merits the child's rejection when in fact researchers have shown the opposite is true.
Manifestations of PAS in children consist of eight elements described by Gardner (1992) Walsh and Bone (1997) refer to parents as the "alienating parent" and the "target parent." Another terminology, used by Johnston and Roseby (1997), is "aligned parent" and "rejected parent." Typically, the aligned parent has an agenda for turning the child against the other parent. The motive may include revenge, guilt, fear of loss of the child or loss of the role of primary parent, or the desire to have control or ownership over the child. The aligned parent may be jealous of the other parent, or desire to obtain leverage in the divorce settlement relative to property distribution, child support, or alimony. It may be that the aligned parent suffers from a past history of abandonment, alienation, physical or sexual abuse, or even loss of identity (Walsh and Bone 1997). These motives lead him or her to program the child to deny love for, or even deny the existence of, the target parent.
Johnston and Roseby (1997) offer a more sympathetic portrayal, describing the aligned parent as one who feels rejected, sad, and afraid of being alone as a result of an unwanted divorce. "Consequently these vulnerable people can become acutely or chronically distressed . . . and turn to their children for nurturance and companionship, as allies against the world and salve for their wounded self-esteem" (p. 198). He or she may project all the blame onto the divorcing spouse and view him or her as an incompetent parent. These parents feel self-righteous and compelled to protect their children from the other parent.
The rejected parent becomes the victim of false allegations and may feel frustrated and bewildered over the changes in the childs's behavior. Although the allegations are grossly distorted, perhaps to the point of being obviously fabricated, nevertheless the child and the aligned parent appear to deeply believe them (Walsh and Bone 1997). Most PAS researchers have described the rejected parents as passive victims of the other parents' vengeful rage; Johnston and Roseby (1997) depart from this view and characterize rejected parents as "often rather inept and unempathic with their youngsters" (p. 199). Based on their observations, the rejected parent may contribute to the continued alienation by a combination of counter-hostility and dogged pursuit of the child with telephone calls, letters, and appearances at the child's activities. The argument that a rejected parent should not pursue the relationship may be in contradiction to conclusions made by Clawar and Rivlin (1991) in their 12-year study of 700 PAS cases. They concluded that it may prolong the alienation if a rejected parent loses contact. The longer there is little or no contact between a parent and a child, the more difficult the impact will be to overcome.
In their study of 16 PAS cases, Dunne and Hedrick (1994) found that PAS does not necessarily signify dysfunction in either the rejected parent or in the relationship between the child and rejected parent. Instead, they argue that PAS appears to be attributable to the pathology of the aligned parent and the unhealthy relationship between the aligned parent and the child. All of the aligned parents in their study experienced intense feelings of dysphoria, which were blamed on the former spouse; in addition, the aligned parents predominantly experienced intense narcissistic injuries. Clawar and Rivlin (1991) determined that brainwashing and programming are intensified the more the rejected parent succeeds in life after the separation (financial success, new and happy relationships, etc.).
The child is the most seriously affected victim of PAS. In her study of self-concept of children of divorce, Stoner-Moskowitz (1998) concluded that when the relationship with the rejected parent is abruptly halted, the child's emotional development is stunted. The aligned parent's programming creates confusion in the child as a result of internalizing distorted beliefs and perceptions. In an extensive longitudinal study, 40% of the children developed self-hatred and guilt because they were used as an ally in the war against the rejected parent (Clawar and Rivlin 1991). Often, the family has been torn by extremely divergent parenting styles and perhaps a history of parental conflict. Beneath their anger and challenging behavior is a pathetic longing for the rejected parent. "The children want to be rescued from their intolerable dilemma" (Johnston and Roseby 1997, 199).
ISSUES IN MEDIATOR QUALIFICATIONS FOR PAS CASES
When these types of cases are referred to mandatory court mediation, the scenarios can be quite difficult for a mediator to sort out. The child and aligned parent will appear to have a very close and loving bond, whereas the other parent (unknowingly) is accused of a long list of horrifying behaviors, which often includes quite credible, although fabricated and false, accusations of child abuse (Gardner 1992).
There are several issues of mediator competence that need to be examined. First, the question of detection of PAS presents itself as a dilemma for mediators who are not trained in mental health diagnostic procedures. Second, once PAS is suspected, detected, or diagnosed, should mediation proceed and, if so, under what circumstances? The education, training, and skills of the mediator obviously come into play when dealing with the highly deceptive and manipulative tactics of parents who have succeeded in programming their children. Mediators need training to understand and recognize the underlying motives for a parent's refusal to promote accessibility between the child and the other parent. Some motives could be an avenging spouse who wants to punish or get even with the spouse who left him or her; the narcissist who regards custody as a way to prove his or her self-worth to the world after a failed marriage; or a lonely parent who seeks to control the children for fear of losing them, or from a need for emotional support from the children (Warshack 1992).
When divorcing couples voluntarily participate in mediation, there may be an assumption of their willingness to cooperate on a settlement for everyone's best interests. It may be that PAS families come to mediation not voluntarily but rather as part of a court-ordered or mandatory mediation process. Unfortunately, if one of the parents is unreasonable or uncooperative, the mediation effort can easily be sabotaged (Turkat 1994).
There is a need for training to teach mediators how to detect and deal with PAS families; again, there is no research to date indicating that family mediators are trained in PAS. A thorough literature review for this article showed no such training procedures reported at the time of this writing, although there are several researchers who call for training to help all family intervenors deal effectively with brainwashing, programming, and alienation tactics by separated parents (Cartwright 1993; Clawar and Rivlin 1991; Dunne and Hedrick 1994; Gardner 1992; Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin 1994; Lund 1995; Turkat 1994; Walsh and Bone 1997). In their 1994 review of methods for child custody evaluation used in litigation and alternate dispute resolution, Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin (1994, 485) concluded that models for training competent evaluators or for educating attorneys and the judiciary about custody evaluation issues are lacking.
ETHICAL ISSUES FOR MEDIATORS DEALING WITH PAS
It is well documented in the literature on mediation that many perceive a successful mediation as one that produces an agreement (Umbreit 1995). Couple this success indicator with a growing trend for courts to encourage joint legal custody, and a mediator who is not aware of PAS could inadvertently cause negative consequences by attempting an agreement for joint custody. Joint or shared custody normally requires a very high degree of parental cooperation. When an inflexible parent encourages the child to have nothing to do with the other parent, he or she may not be capable of such cooperation. Research has shown that the best predictor that children will adjust well to their parents' divorce is a low level of parental conflict (Regehr 1994). Unfortunately, joint custody in cases of parental alienation may enhance parent conflict, making the situation worse for the children. There are varying degrees of severity of PAS, and in severe cases the PAS dynamic may be so toxic that a relationship with both parents may not be possible, nor will it be in the child's best interests (Dunne and Hedrick 1994).
Mediators and other professionals who work with the divorcing population need to be aware of the symptoms of PAS and the difficulties that these cases present. A failure to properly identify and intervene in the early stages of PAS cases may result in the aligned parent being given professional support, thus reinforcing the child's need to maintain or expand complaints about the rejected parent (Dunne and Hedrick 1994). Saposnek (1998) recommends that mediators in these cases first determine the extent of alienation, putting the child on a continuum of (1) equal attachment, (2) affinity with one parent, (3) alignment with one parent, and (4) alienated from one parent. The continuum was obtained from training materials for seminars on parental alienation developed by Joan B. Kelly (Figure 1). For children who are pathologically alienated, an intensive therapeutic approach is necessary; without it, efforts at mediation are likely to fail (Saposnek 1998). Gardner (1992) suggests that professionals need to understand the therapeutic interventions necessary to treat and alleviate symptoms of PAS before any custody or visitation arrangement can succeed. PAS should be assessed from the perspective of how much the programming process is influencing the child, not on the basis of the aligned parent's attempts to program (Gardner 1998).
Another major ethical dilemma for a neutral mediator is how to deal with the dishonesty, deception, and unwillingness to cooperate on the part of an aligned parent. These parents can be very skillful at convincing the mediator of their sincerity and create a bias that could be harmful for the rejected parent and the child. Any agreement produced without mental health intervention for the family may only serve to prolong the PAS. In their study of over 700 cases of children who were brainwashed and/or programmed by one parent to hate the other parent, Clawar and Rivlin (1991) conclude that most parents who brainwashed or programmed their children extensively were "poor candidates for re-education and counseling. They were largely 'other-blamers' and took no responsibility for their damaging influence on their child" (p. 153).
Thus, mediators have several ethical dilemmas to resolve. Although we know that mediators strive to maintain impartiality and neutrality, many practitioners believe that it is impossible to attain complete impartiality, neutrality, or lack of bias when working with people (Taylor 1997). Regehr (1994) points out that the bias of mediators appears to have a large impact on the decisions reached by parents. Therefore, mediators need to face some tough questions: Who do they believe--the skillful and apparently sincere parent who has the love of the children or the parent who has been rejected by the children for a number of very convincing reasons? What should be done about the obvious power imbalance favoring the aligned parent? After all, the aligned parent has the children, they are well bonded and close to one another, so the court may favor leaving the children in that home when an understanding of PAS is lacking, which is often the case.
How does the mediator build trust with a party who is intent on deception and manipulation? Walsh and Bone (1997) warn: "Make no mistake about it; individuals with PAS will and do lie. They leave out . . . pertinent details or they maneuver the facts in such a manner to create an entirely false impression" (p. 94). A study of the characteristics of children who refuse postdivorce visits revealed that the custodial parents of the refusers often exhibited psychopathology (Racusin 1994). Turkat's (1994) study on visitation interference highlights the cooperation issue. "A parent who has continually interfered with visitation may state . . . that he or she will comply with the nonresidential parent's visitation request. Immediately following the hearing, the custodial parent returns to the visitation interference pattern, knowing that months may go by before a return to court" (p. 741).
WHEN IS MEDIATION NOT APPROPRIATE IN CUSTODY CASES?
Mediation is an informal, but structured process in which one or more impartial third parties assist disputants in talking about the conflict and in negotiating a resolution to it that addresses the needs and interests of the parties. Mediators do not impose a settlement and participation in the process is usually voluntary. (Umbreit 1995, 24)
By definition, mediation is a voluntary process in which no one is compelled to participate or to reach an agreement. A notable exception to voluntary participation is mediation that is mandatory in many states' judicial systems. The question is raised whether it is incongruent to require unwilling parties to participate in a process that is designed to be cooperative, interactive, and participatory. In a review of existing literature on mediation, it was concluded that there is a need for empirically sound methods for discriminating between couples who are ready for mediation and those who are not (Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin 1994).
Mediation should perhaps be bypassed in cases with severe PAS symptoms. Cartwright (1993) states that whereas negotiation is often a good solution in other forms of litigation, it tends not to be effective in cases of PAS. He asserts that the lack of a swift, clear, forceful judgement is often perceived by the alienator as denoting approval of the alienating behavior. This tends to reinforce the behavior and renders a great disservice to both the child and the petitioning parent. . . . Courts must not fall victim to the alienator's scheme of stalling for time in order to continue the program of vilification. (p. 211)
Palmer (1988) also recognizes the duty of judges to take a stronger stand with regard to aligned parents who try to alienate their children from the other parent.
Issues of abuse and violence are prevalent in custody disputes. It has been argued that mediation may not be appropriate for couples who have experienced domestic violence because it may place women and children at risk for ongoing intimidation (Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin 1994). The mediation process can and has allowed an abusive spouse to maintain control and domination with the sanction of the courts (Geffner and Pagelow 1990). A number of states now recognize the paradox of mediating in abusive relationships, and mediation is waived where parties allege domestic violence or child abuse (Bruch 1988 and Sun and Thomas 1987 [cited in Geffner and Pagelow 1990]). Although PAS has not been formally linked with domestic violence or spouse abuse cases, the issues of control, domination, and emotional abuse are present in both types of cases. PAS and child brainwashing are forms of child abuse (Clawar and Rivlin 1991; Gardner 1992; Herman 1990; Walsh and Bone 1997) and, as such, could fall under the same mediation precautions as other types of cases that exhibit violence and abuse.
One of the major strategies for protecting domestic violence cases from the limitations of mediation is to use a premediation screening process. Premediation screening is highly recommended by many practitioners in the field to determine which cases can be mediated and which cases are not suitable for mediation (Girdner 1990; Perry 1994; Chance and Gerencser 1996; Pearson 1997; Salem and Milne 1995; Thoennes, Salem, and Pearson 1994). Such a model could be adapted for PAS cases. Those cases that are severe may need the attention of the court immediately rather than delay the case waiting for a mediation process that is not likely to resolve the issue.
A MEDIATION MODEL FOR SUSPECTED PAS FAMILIES
The question remains about whether mediation is an appropriate form of intervention in cases of PAS. Pearson and Thoennes (1986) contend that mediation will not transform hostile couples into cooperative ones and will not eliminate future conflict, but it is perceived to be a less damaging intervention than court. Murray (1999) agrees that "children of high-conflict divorce may benefit from the potentially harmful effects of the adversarial approach" (p. 94). Lund (1995, 315) believes that it is important to lower the overt conflict in PAS cases so that the children are not drawn into the parents' conflicts. A mediator may be successful in helping inflexible custodial parents respond to changes in visitation schedules and other situations that require cooperative interaction between the parents.
Incorporating the issues raised in this article, a mediation model designed to intervene in custody disputes where PAS is suspected must address four areas of concern (Figure 2). The first area is the need for mental health expertise both to diagnose the underlying motives and extent of alienation and to prescribe appropriate therapeutic interventions prior to any agreement or decision on custody and visitation. Second, the mediation process would need the assurance that the court will take swift, clear judicial action when necessary to discourage tactics of stalling and deception by the aligned parent. The third component needs to balance the power discrepancy felt particularly by the rejected parent who has been isolated from the child's life and love. The last and very critical element of a mediation model is a mechanism to manage the manipulative and deceptive behavior exhibited by the aligned parent, as well as an ongoing process to monitor cooperation with court orders or agreed-upon steps in the mediation process.
An additional critical element, which needs to precede the actual mediation process, is the determination of which PAS families are "ripe" for mediation. It is very possible that in mild to moderate cases of PAS, mediation could be effective for achieving a number of goals to help conflicted parents. However, in severe cases, the research cited herein indicates that negotiating with an aligned parent who exhibits serious psychopathology would be futile. Premediation screening could be used to determine which cases are suitable for mediation, which is also a recommendation for mediation of domestic violence cases advanced by a number of practitioners (Girdner 1990; Perry 1994; Chance and Gerencser 1996; Pearson 1997; Salem and Milne 1995; Thoennes, Salem, and Pearson 1994).
Intervention models that may be useful for PAS cases have been developed and proposed by various researchers. Four such models are referenced in this review, and selected elements from these models support the major areas of concern outlined above. The mediation models are (1) the American Association for Mediated Divorce (AAMD) (Herman 1990), (2) the Stepwise Mediation Process for Psychiatric Family Mediation and Evaluation Clinic at the University of Kentucky Medical Center (Miller and Veltkamp 1987), (3) a three-phase system of child custody dispute resolution proposed by Gardner (1992), and (4) the Remedial Plan described by Michael Walsh, a certified family lawyer, mediator, and arbitrator, and J. Michael Bone, a psychotherapist and certified family law mediator (Walsh and Bone 1997).
In the AAMD process, couples are first screened to determine their suitability for mediation, and their motivation and ability to negotiate with each other are assessed. Couples that seem appropriate and are willing to enter into the process sign a premediation agreement and begin sessions. Co-mediators are suggested by the AAMD (Herman 1990, 48). The concept of comediators representing each gender, and complementing one another's expertise in mental health, legal background, and mediation skills, fits very well with the criteria established in this article for a useful mediation model.
NEED FOR EXPERTISE IN MENTAL HEALTH
The attachment/alienation continuum model (Figure 1) would be an excellent tool to determine the extensiveness of the child's alienation from the noncustodial parent. After that determination is made, Gardner's (1992, 313) concept of mediation could be initiated. He recommends that training programs be set up to ensure that only qualified mediators will be used. He envisions court-designated mental health clinics that would provide mediation services at a fee commensurate with the parents' financial situation. Implicit in the stepwise mediation process is the fact that the process is conducted by professionals trained in psychiatry at the Child Psychiatry Clinic of the University of Kentucky Medical Center. In the stepwise model, it is first determined if reconciliation or mediation is possible. When mediation proves unsuccessful, there is a shift toward (psychiatric) evaluation (Miller and Veltkamp 1987). Warshack (1992, 221) also recommends that a professional with a background in child psychology would be preferable to an attorney-mediator in disputes involving children because such a mediator could better evaluate the children's needs. Johnston and Roseby (1997) caution that children who have witnessed family violence may need to be treated for posttraumatic stress syndrome before relationship rebuilding can be expected to succeed. A well-developed premediation screening process to identify which cases require interventions prior to mediation could reduce the need for mediators to be highly skilled in child evaluative procedures.
NEED FOR SWIFT, CLEAR JUDICIAL ACTION
Palmer (1988) and Walsh and Bone (1997) argue that successful intervention of PAS requires coordination by the court and all members of the legal and mental health community. The court-appointed psychologist initially identifies the causation factors and determines (1) the motives of all family members, (2) the defense functions of PAS in the family, and (3) the specific techniques and patterns involved. When the psychological evaluation is completed, it is forwarded to the court. At that point, the parents can attempt to negotiate a plan. If the conflict continues, the court must quickly intervene and use its authority (Walsh and Bone 1997).
Gardner (1992, 315) also recognizes the need for court intervention if mediation breaks down. Step two of his three-phase system proposes an arbitration panel consisting of two mental health professionals and one attorney who are empowered to subpoena evidence and interview witnesses. The arbitration panel would work within the court structure. Ideally, the decision of the arbitrators would be timely and clear and have the quality of a binding legal decision. It is certainly likely that arbitration would result in a more expedient decision than court litigation. Gardner's recommended process, however, could be very expensive for either parents or taxpayers.
POWER IMBALANCE FAVORING ALIGNED PARENT
In PAS, the aligned parents seem to have power tipped in their favor. The children profess love for them and a desire to live with them. The court and legal and mental health professionals may initially be swayed by the child's stated preference, particularly if he or she is an older and articulate child. After all, PAS is not widely recognized; there are relatively few individuals with sufficient expertise to diagnose PAS in the early stages. As Walsh and Bone (1997) point out, many therapists shy away from making a PAS diagnosis for fear of being wrong. Clawar and Rivlin (1991) agree, stating that many professionals know it exists but are frustrated with detecting it, objectifying it, and deciding what is best to do for the parents and children.
In its purest form, mediation is expected to be a neutral, impartial, and non-biased process; however, scholars and practitioners alike recognize that the mediator will have subjectivity and that subjectivity can influence the decision of the parents (Regehr 1994; Taylor 1997). To compensate for a natural tendency to favor the aligned parent, mediators must be well trained in detection, causation, underlying motives, and common patterns of deception that may be employed by the family members (including the children). Gardner (1992, 322) recommends that the mediators be trained in mental health, family law, and mediation skills. He believes training in intensive custody evaluations is also necessary. In addition, the natural gender difference can be addressed by using co-mediators of each gender.
DEALING WITH MANIPULATION, DECEPTION, AND UNCOOPERATIVENESS
The co-mediation team process advocated by the AAMD would consist of an impartial lawyer and an impartial mental health professional meeting with the divorcing couple. The model also uses a process to screen couples prior to mediation, as well as the premediation agreement mentioned earlier. The couple understand that they are working toward a three-part agreement: (1) part one reaffirms the need for both parents to be actively involved with their children after the divorce and the need for mutual cooperation toward this goal, (2) in part two, both parents agree how to share the duties of parenting and how to cooperate when decisions are made, (3) part three includes a foundation for agreement about financial issues and provides for future mediation should problems arise (Herman 1990, 48). Parties who cannot agree to this type of openness and cooperation would be screened out to bypass the option of mediating an agreement.
Additional provisions or ground rules could be addressed up front that specify unacceptable behaviors such as deceptions, fabrication, accusations, allegations, and the like. If the court is already in possession of a psychological evaluation that identifies PAS, the aligned parent may recognize that he or she needs to try to negotiate rather than stall. If the aligned parent is unwilling or incapable of cooperating, he or she may lose custody until he or she is emotionally fit to cooperate with the other parent. Although switching custody may seem like an unwise decision, it is the only recourse proven by various researchers to reverse the damaged relationship between the child and target parent in severe cases of parental alienation (Gardner 1992; Clawar and Rivlin 1991; Dunne and Hedrick 1994). The court must take the swift and forceful action necessary.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PAS MEDIATORS
Some of the implicit assumptions of this article may lead the reader to assume that mediators are expected to be highly directive in leading parents to a custody decision. The role of the mediator is to honor self-determination, but it is common for parents in protracted disputes to be emotionally and financially drained and ready to settle for almost any reasonable suggestion made. For this and the reasons outlined in this article, mediating cases in which there is severe parental alienation is usually inappropriate. Unsuccessful mediation may prolong emotional damage to the family by delaying the kinds of intervention and treatment necessary to alleviate brainwashing and programming of the children. If PAS symptoms are present in even one half of Gardner's (1992) estimate of 80% of custody cases, all family mediators dealing with custody cases need a thorough understanding of the challenges prevalent in PAS families.
In their 12-year research study of 700 to 1,000 cases of programmed and brainwashed children, which is published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, Clawar and Rivlin (1991, 163-72) conclude that the legal system in most states is not currently adequate to protect children from this form of abuse. They also determined that 80% of the children wanted the brainwashing detected and terminated, and that there was often a substantial difference between a child's expressed opinion and his or her real desires, needs, and behaviors.
An intervention model is needed that is appropriate to the capacity of the aligned parent to recognize and abstain from his or her programming tactics, which may be unconscious. A screening process could be used to determine which families are suitable for mediation and which cases require mental health intervention before parties can negotiate. Co-mediators need knowledge and skills that include mental health expertise, an understanding of child custody evaluation techniques, familiarity with the legal system, and communication/facilitation skills that promote building trust and cooperation between disputing parties. Additional skill development techniques are recommended to help professionals (1) detect PAS and methods to objectify it, (2) determine the extent of the psychological and emotional damage done, and (3) determine how to develop an appropriate remedial plan.
With regard to the question of whether PAS cases can be mediated, Ramona Buck, director of mediation services for the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Maryland, advises:
Mediating cases in which parental alienation syndrome is present is usually inappropriate. For one thing, mediating such cases may provide a platform for the accusing parent to continue to espouse his/her hurtful views which causes more pain to the other parent. Secondly, since one parent is framing the other parent as a villain, it is most unlikely that any agreement can be reached. Thirdly, since one parent is, in a sense, psychologically imbalanced, such a psychological problem in one parent is usually an indicator that a case is not appropriate for mediation.
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