Abusers Getting Custody
Abusers Use Claims of “Parental Alienation” to Gain Child Custody From Their Victims
2009: A Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Family Violence Department
C. [§3.3] A Word of Caution about Parental Alienation
Under relevant evidentiary standards, the court should not accept testimony regarding parental alienation syndrome, or “PAS.” The theory positing the existence of PAS has been discredited by the scientific community. In Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999), the Supreme Court ruled that even expert testimony based in the “soft sciences” must meet the standard set in the Daubert case. Daubert, in which the court re-examined the standard it had earlier articulated in the Frye case, requires application of a multi-factor test, including peer review, publication, testability, rate of error, and general acceptance. PAS does not pass this test. Any testimony that a party to a custody case suffers from the syndrome or “parental alienation” should therefore be ruled inadmissible and stricken from the evaluation report under both the standard established in Daubert and the earlier Frye standard.
The discredited “diagnosis” of PAS (or an allegation of “parental alienation”), quite apart from its scientific invalidity, inappropriately asks the court to assume that the child’s behaviors and attitudes toward the parent who claims to be “alienated” have no grounding in reality. It also diverts attention away from the behaviors of the abusive parent, who may have directly influenced the child’s responses by acting in violent, disrespectful, intimidating, humiliating, or discrediting ways toward the child or the other parent. The task for the court is to distinguish between situations in which the child is critical of one parent because they have been inappropriately manipulated by the other (taking care not to rely solely on subtle indications) , and situations in which the child has his or her own legitimate grounds for criticism or fear of a parent, which will likely be the case when that parent has perpetrated domestic violence. Those grounds do not become less legitimate because the abused parent shares them, and seeks to advocate for the child by voicing his or her concerns.
AnonymousJanuary 7, 2011 at 10:20 AM
(I defend the interests of our children)
I have a sondage in may blog, to now how many moms have been accused of “parental alienation”.
AnonymousFebruary 17, 2011 at 7:50 PM
My ex has coustody of my two younger children. He cut the phone lines in an abuse shelter. got away with it. kids have been in foster care twice. i have fought for 7 years to overturn judgement. he decides when i talk to kids on phone i live in indiana. he has history of beating me and my son which is 16 now. the judge would not talk to kids. what else can i do.
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