Since the 1980s, a debate has spun around the topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS, which is used to describe what occurs when one parent pits the children against the other parent. The controversy continues today because PAS seems to lack a criterion that determines a syndrome diagnosis. Further studies are being conducted, but at this time, PAS is typically an argument used in cases where allegations of abuse are also present. The American Psychological Association has not yet taken a stance on the subject of PAS.
A mother who moved to Ohio with her children following an easy California divorce is now embroiled in a child custody battle in which PAS is alleged against her. The woman’s ex-husband had originally agreed to give her sole custody of their two small children during divorce proceedings that never went to court. She accused him of domestic violence but had never filed charges against her ex. After the woman and her children moved away, he hired an attorney and built a case around a notion that the mother had alienated the daughter from her father.
In this case, full legal custody was awarded to the father, and the mother is allowed two hours per week for supervised visits with her children. The woman’s case is under appeal, and she is back in California to be near her children.
Child custody cases can become chaotic, and the woman who lost her children to her ex-husband might have had an easier time in the beginning if she had an experienced attorney on her side. Family law is complex, especially if seemingly unsubstantiated claims are alleged. Parents who anticipate child custody issues might want to seek the advice of an attorney who understands the laws.