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Parental Alienation

How to Handle Parental Alienation

Parental alienation arises almost exclusively in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. It is extremely damaging to the child on a psychological level. 

 

When arguing parental alienation, its best to avoid labels. There is a difference between parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome (PAS), but that difference may not always be recognized by a trial judge.

 

In the 2014 case of M.A. v. A.I., the Appellate Division found that "at the time of trial, PAS was not a recognized syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), and it is not a recognized syndrome in the new fifth edition. The Supreme Court and this court have not yet determined that PAS is a scientifically reliable or generally accepted theory". The court further noted that "the theory is still the subject of considerable controversy within the medical and legal communities". With this being noted, I would suggest focus be more on the conduct than the label.


New Jersey Court's look to maximize time with both parents. Court orders must be followed. Failure to follow a parenting order could be the basis for a change in custody. Although you may not want this to occur, and it would be met with much fight, it is something to consider as to mention to the court that the previous orders need to be followed, and your continual compromise has put you in this position. You can go further to explain that, for the best interest of your child, there must be enforcement enacted to prvent any further deterioration of the relationship, and the possibility, with immediate reunification evaluation and therapy, perhaps the opposite may occur.

 

Also, it is worth noting that Court Rule 1:10-3 also provides for a variety of sanctions for failure to follow a court order. If you hire a lawyer, you can also ask for counsel fees.  This is a long shot, but can be asked for. The best way to lose is to give up. You need to keep fighting. It may mean that you may have to file numerous motions before something really clicks. 

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