This is just some ideas rolling around in my head about Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). If you actually worked for Family Court Services, and were hearing PAS allegations—how do you approach PAS while being fair and impartial???

These are my ideas…

The Allegation: Parental Alienation Sydrome “PAS”/Malicious Mom Syndrome

  • Require regular (yearly) mandatory training for Family Court Staff including topics such as ethics, domestic violence, children and trauma and state regulations. This training should be certified and all providers should be thoroughly checked to ensure it is from a credible institution (not some organization with an agenda).

      This can be done! Professions like teaching and mortgage origination have mandatory training…

  • Conduct routine audits, performance reviews and satisfaction surveys (anonymously) of Family Court Services as well as follow up on resolved cases
  • In order to be fair and impartial, I believe Family Courts should not use the term “Malicious Mom Syndrome” because it is biased, and creates an accusation that is almost irreversible
  • Family court personnel should remain independent and neutral while also working together. It should not be that one staff member is just agreeing with another staff member just because—this creates division, and unnecessary strain on the family
  • There should be a way to reprimand, punish or even terminate employment for family court staff who act inappropriately (and clear guidelines should be set for conduct, behavior, ethics and job expectations)
  • Assess who is making the allegations of PAS, assess also allegations of domestic violence and child abuse (including allegations the child may have witnessed acts of violence). BOTH parties should be held to the same standards.
  • Similarly, if PAS is indeed a real syndrome, then both fathers and mothers—as well as other caretakers should be considered for it.

      Family court staff  should also be suspect for creating alienation against one favored parent, if needed, should be investigated and reprimanded. There should be red flags for certain types of behavior—several one sided reports that seem to condemn or denigrate one parent over the other, staff giving legal advise to one parent, serious or ongoing allegations of child abuse ignored, complaints against staff (past and present) etc…

  • Consider the origin of symptoms—was PAS present before the custody proceedings were initiated? Has anyone other than the accusing party witnessed any concerns? Is there any medical or forensic documentation to support PAS OR disprove it?
  • Consider whether there is any other explanation for the suspect behavior—and investigate. Example: Parent hesitant and/or fearful but claiming domestic violence…before blindly slapping the parent with the label PAS, investigate these claims and gather more information
  • Gather collateral information: Doctor reports, Court psych evals, Visitation logs, Family studies, School reports, Parent history, etc
  • Consider behavior by parent making allegations that may be abusive, threatening, or alienating.

      Here is a good example: My abusive ex ctells the Guardian ad Litem that I am  “alienating” the children from him.  As “proof” he claims that he gave my child a birthday card and that I ripped it up & threw it away.  GAL believes these allegations without investigating the claims, and never spoke to me. She writes a       report, which is handed in to the Court, claiming I am “alienating” the children  from their father, and using this incident to support her claims. It NEVER  happened! I actually have the birthday card, and saved it for my child. I even produced the card for the GAL—but by then it was too late. The GAL report had been issued to the Court, I have been negatively portrayed and the GAL  refused to retract her remarks.

Parents should have a means to defend themselves in court, and to correct false or misleading statements with truth and fact. When a parent is silenced, threatened      and their voice is ignored that is alienation!

  • Consider factual evidence, research, data and statistics concerning PAS—is this even a valid syndrome? What are the risks to the family? Are there other theories or information available that would better explain the situation OR support credible facts?
  • Would you consider Dr. Richard Garnder a reliable witness? If you were to hold Dr. Gardner to the same standards as a parent sitting in front of you….what would your recommendation be? Seriously, think about it before adopting PAS.

 I am just getting started here….please feel free to add your thoughts and other ideas…

 Evanlee, 2009

Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Professionals Need To Know Part 1 of 2 By Erika Rivera Ragland 1 & Hope Fields 2 (American Prosecutors Research Institute,Update – Volume 16, Number 6, 2003) :

Parental Alienation Syndrome Information on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), SMART Ritual Abuse Pages: