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Parental alienation syndrome is most common after a divorce primarily in the context of child custody disputes. A great deal of confusion and controversy surrounds the issue of parental alienation syndrome: what it is, how to detect it, and how it should be medically and legally managed. Studies have found that the majority of highly conflicted divorce cases have some characteristics of parental alienation syndrome. If parental alienation syndrome is part of your divorce case, it is extremely important to seek the professional services of a family law attorney who is familiar with this serious condition.
The term “parental alienation syndrome” was coined by a forensic psychiatrist in the 1980s. Parental alienation syndrome is the brainwashing or programming of a child by one parent to denigrate and alienate the other parent. In order to be considered parental alienation syndrome, the child must actively participate in shunning the other parent. Parental alienation syndrome is the combination of parental programming and the child's contribution to vilifying the other parent. The campaign of alienation must also be unjustified in order to be considered parental alienation syndrome. For example, if verbal, physical, or sexual abuse is causing the child to alienate the parent it is not considered parental alienation syndrome.
The level and severity of parental alienation syndrome must be such that the parent operates from an aberrant and delusional obsession to destroy the relationship between the child and the alienated parent. Some degree of alienation may be common when parents first separate, though it normally dies down as parents and children deal with the changes brought on by separation and divorce and learn to carry on with their lives. With parental alienation syndrome this anxiety and anger increase rather than decrease. The alienating parent becomes preoccupied with destroying the relationship between the child and the other parent.
Parental alienation syndrome can be an extremely complicated issue to deal with in divorce and child custody situations. Situations involving parental alienation syndrome can be difficult to demonstrate in court and arduous to manage. To many people it may seem as if the alienating parent and the child are justified in their feelings and behaviors. The accusing parent may even make false accusations of abuse or mistreatment to further their vendetta. There are a set of parent and child characteristics that are often presented in cases of parental alienation syndrome. A qualified mental health professional can diagnose parental alienation syndrome and testify in court as an expert witness.
Cases involving parental alienation syndrome are often extremely difficult and complex. Judges are often conservative in their judgments or may underestimate the magnitude of the problem. If you are being unjustifiably alienated by your child following a divorce or separation, you may wish to speak with a qualified family law attorney who is familiar with parental alienation syndrome. This legal expert can identify your rights and legal options and ensure that your interests are protected.
More information on custody:
Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.