Experts across the country, not just in Ohio, are worried that abusers are using claims of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and Parental Alienation (PA) to refute allegations of abuse and regain the custody of their children in courts. A large portion of divorce cases are settled out of court. The small number that actually reach court usually do so because of abuse allegations.
The author of a study on PAS from George Washington University said the following: “Assess the abuse first. Put alienation completely to one side. If it happened or if it may have happened, you have no business going on about alienation…You can talk about it, but don’t talk about it as a way of denying abuse.”
There is no official position by the American Psychological Association (APA) on PAS, but the organization does note a lack of supportive data. A worldwide guide for disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, does not recognize PAS either. There have been many campaigns for the guide to recognize PAS as a mental disorder, but it has yet to make a move.
The founder of the National Parents Organization said that the debate over a definition for PAS is just a distraction from the condition. “Is there a precise definition of reckless driving? But it’s still dealt with by the courts. There is certainly plenty of alienating behavior, and it is tortuous to distract with whether it’s a syndrome.”
Critics of PAS claim that when it comes to contested cases, courts are highly critical against women, even though they seem to be favored in most child custody disputes over men.
Another issue that crops up with PAS in child custody cases is that unlike criminal cases, lawyers are not provided for the parties because their freedom is not at stake.
An experienced child custody attorney in Columbus, Ohio, can answer all of your questions about Parental Alienation Syndrome and how it can affect your child custody case.
Source: HuffPost, “How Parental Alienation Syndrome Is Changing Custody Cases Across The U.S.,” Marisa Endicott, June 09, 2017