Parental Alienation Syndrome

I cut my ex out of our daughter’s life: Now I’m glad he fought tooth and nail to see her

Posted on November 23, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , |

Last night I cuddled up on the sofa with my five-year-old daughter Ruby as we enjoyed one of her favourite TV shows.

It was The Story Of Tracy Beaker — who, I should explain to any non- parents, is a wonderful character created by the children’s author Jacqueline Wilson.

Tracy is a young girl growing up in a children’s home — she’s feisty and funny, but constantly fantastises about a better life. One with parents.

Whenever she goes into one of her reveries, claiming to have ‘hay fever’ when she wants to shed a tear, Ruby gets sad.

So last night, when hay fever struck Tracy, Ruby, too, became misty-eyed.

‘I’m so lucky to have a mummy and daddy,’ she said, hugging me. As I cuddled her back, I felt a terrible stab of guilt in my stomach.

For Ruby nearly didn’t have a daddy. For the first two-and-a-half years of her life, I did everything I could to scupper her relationship with her father.

In a fit of selfish pique, I attempted to come between them and deny them the right to love each other.

It was the most spiteful thing I’ve ever done.

Thank God her father, James, fought me all the way and dragged us through the hell of solicitors, legal bills and finally to the Family Court, where he won access to his little girl — access that was his by right.

He never gave up. Such is the testament of his love for Ruby. And for that, I will never be able to thank him enough.

I remember all too well that wretched day in the Family Court in March 2009 as we sat in front of the judge, with a solicitor between us. James, whom I’d once loved so dearly, looked grey and hollow.

I listened with a growing sense of shame as my legal team reeled off the acidic statement I’d made, littered with stupid accusations I’d dramatised to hurt him.

Even then I knew it was unfair, but I wanted to punish him. I blamed him for the break-up of our relationship and what better way to hurt him, I reasoned, than to take his daughter away?

The terrible struggle some fathers have to maintain contact with their children was highlighted last week when the Daily Mail told the story of an exemplary father who’d battled for 12 years to see his daughter after his former wife falsely accused him of sexually abusing her.

‘It’s like a bereavement,’ he said. ‘My anguish never stops. I wake up every morning with a knot of anxiety in my stomach. I don’t know where my daughter is. I don’t know how she is. I don’t even know if she is with her mother.’

To my eternal regret, it’s a torment I tried to inflict on the father of my child.

How could I do such a terrible thing? In my defence, I should explain I didn’t know any better.

My mother, Brenda, 73, and father, Bob, 78, though married, have never lived in the same house — they split up before I was born.

Throughout my childhood, I only ever saw my father at sporadic intervals. I still harbour resentments at all the years I spent as the ‘mediator’ in their fractured relationship.

Somehow, I thought misguidedly I would be doing my daughter a favour in sparing her this disruption if I severed all ties with her father. Ruby, I concluded, didn’t need James. She had me: I was all she needed.

How terribly wrong I was.

I’d met James, a 42-year-old newspaper reporter, when we worked together in Bristol in 2003. We were just friends until a Christmas fling in 2006 changed everything. We weren’t even a proper couple when I discovered I was pregnant in April 2007.

James was shocked, but nevertheless said he would support me no matter what. So we decided to give parenthood, and our relationship, our best shot.

We moved to the South Coast, rented a family home and determined to make it work. But our path was not to be a smooth one.

After a traumatic birth, in which Ruby and I almost died due to pre-eclampsia — a condition caused by high blood pressure, which affects 5 per cent of women in later pregnancy — I spent two weeks in hospital.

I was hardly able to pick up my newborn baby, let alone breastfeed her, and struggled to bond with her.

I don’t use this as an excuse for the bad behaviour that was to come, but the tranquil birth I’d dreamt of had been smashed to pieces. I sank into depression.

I pushed away James because I felt so sad, when all I really wanted was his love and help.

It was hardly a big surprise, then, that after a few months of sleepless nights with a newborn, tension and arguments, our relationship was in tatters.

Ruby was ten months old when I announced I was leaving. James was utterly taken aback.

I think he thought we’d somehow muddle through, but my mind was made up.

I convinced myself I could just sweep the matter of my baby’s father under the carpet. The scars of my parents’ acrimonious break-up ran deep.

I moved into a flat in Hove, East Sussex, in October 2008 and set about making it as difficult as possible for James to see his daughter.

I ignored his calls, refused to answer the door and slandered him to anyone who would listen.

I told everyone he was a dreadful father: he didn’t give her enough to drink; didn’t change her nappy often enough; and his flat was a tip.

Today I can admit my unhappiness was to blame, not James’s ability as a father.

I thought that if I just ignored him for long enough then he’d disappear. He’d give up and find someone else to pester. Ruby and I would be happy on our own.

But, thank God, James never gave up. When all negotiation failed, he sought legal advice and decided to fight me to gain access to his child.

He didn’t even go for shared custody, just the right to form some sort of relationship with her.

Despite this, I still convinced myself that James was trying to take my baby away from me and set out to fight him like a lioness.

The irony of Ruby’s first word was not lost on me: it was ‘Daddy’. But still I fought to wipe him from her life.

We spent thousands of pounds and the best part of a year in court and at each other’s throats.

James could have given up at any stage and, looking at his broken figure at the other end of the bench in court, I realised just how far I’d pushed him.

Finally, an agreement was reached. The judge ruled that Ruby would stay overnight with James every other Saturday. Begrudgingly, I capitulated.

As Ruby and James set about rebuilding their relationship, I began to see just what a precious bond they shared.

They looked so much alike and, as Ruby’s personality developed, I realised how alike they were in so many other ways.

They had the same quirky sense of humour and deep concentration at something that caught their interest.

I saw all of the qualities I’d loved and admired in James develop in our little girl. I even felt joy when she came home and chirped happily about their time together.

Having gone from barely mentioning or seeing her father, I saw their relationship blossom and it brought about a thaw in our relationship, too.

“Without a father in her life, she would be bereft of so much love. What child, whatever the situation, deserves to be deprived of that?”

James and I began to trust each other again and to exchange pleasantries when we met until, finally, we became good friends.

He says he has forgiven me. I thank him for that and admire his maturity.

Today, Ruby and James see each other most weekends, but the arrangement is informal.

He sees her whenever he likes. If he’s ten minutes away, he’ll pop in for a cup of tea and help Ruby with her spellings. Often she has a painting she just has to show her Daddy right now and, of course, that isn’t a problem.

They chat on the phone most days. And the three of us spent Christmas Day together.

I know in an ideal world that Ruby would have a mummy and daddy who live together, but this is the next best thing.

Without a father in her life, she would be bereft of so much love. What child, whatever the situation, deserves to be deprived of that?

She brings endless joy when she draws pictures of the three of us, and my dog Ralph, standing together and smiling.

Thankfully, all she remembers is a mummy and daddy who are friends and prioritise her before any emotion we might be feeling.

If James hadn’t fought me in court, Ruby wouldn’t be the delightful, clever, kind and happy child she is today.

I’m just glad I eventually saw through my own resentment and hurt — and put my child first.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2529272/I-cut-ex-daughters-life-Now-Im-glad-fought-tooth-nail-her.html#ixzz3JtSHhSyA
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Ryan Thomas talks about his experiences as an alienated child

Posted on November 11, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , |

This is Ryan’s first video, briefly summarizing what happened to him for the first 25 years of his life.

Here are links to Ryan’s Facebook page and website.

https://www.facebook.com/ryanthomasspeaks

http://www.ryanthomasspeaks.com/2014/10/

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I was a child affected by Parental Alienation Syndrome, AMA

Posted on November 11, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

by fathersdaythrowaway3 – Men’s Rights

The first time I was punished for not showing enough affection for my mother, or showing too much for my father, happened when I was 6. My 4 year old brother and I had left my mom’s house for Saturday visitation with my dad at the usual time of 9:00. Our parents had divorced a year earlier, so the routine of custody exchange had become familiar to us, and except for a handful of times they overtly shouted at one another, we were too young and oblivious to notice a palpable current of hostility between them. On our way out the door, my mom called after us, telling us to have a nice day, or something. I said over my shoulder, “Yeah, bye!”

We got into his car and traveled the 15 minutes to his “new house,” purchased nearby to facilitate the semblance of a shadow of a presence in our lives that the Family Court grudgingly deigned to allow. We had an unremarkable day of watching cartoons, riding bikes, and engaging in the subdued rituals of weekend play in an environment that never quite lost its alien character to us. Our time there took on a forced, artificial property like a visit to an in-law, or a party at your boss’ house with coworkers you’re kind of familiar with on a passing basis. When we came home that evening, it started immediately. Our mother wouldn’t speak to or acknowledge us. When she looked down at us, it was to convey an expression of contempt and disgust before turning away. Coming from someone who routinely proclaimed that she loved us more than anything in the world, and that she was all we had, this experience was terrifying.

“Mommy, what’s wrong? Why won’t you talk to me?” After what seemed an eternity of unbearable silence punctuated only by body language that broadcast hostility so clearly that even a small child could understand it, she finally responded, “Don’t talk to me, talk to your father,” and left the room. In tears, we pursued her, “We’re sorry, mommy! Please don’t be mad!” We tried to hug her and she pushed us away, then said, “You know, maybe you should just live with your father instead of me. I did my best to be a good mother, but you seem to like that better. Let’s pack your stuff and you can move away with him.” She intoned each word with a mixture of feigned resignation and practiced anger. Our entire world seemed to collapse before our eyes. We wailed, we pleaded, we apologized.

Eventually she explained the impetus for the situation. We hadn’t been affectionate enough with her on our way out the door. Her feelings were hurt because we didn’t respond to whatever it was she said as we left. I, in particular, was too cavalier in responding “Yeah, bye!” without telling her that I loved her. She added to the implicit message in her display of vindictiveness an explicit warning that we were not to do that again.

What came later built on that foundation of manipulative extortion, and shattered my relationship with my own father for the next 15 years. The process started in earnest another evening, probably a few months later, when my brother and I came home from another visitation. She told us in a somber, foreboding tone that she had something important to tell us.

She sat on the sofa while we sat on the floor in front of her. She told my brother and I, children of 6 and 4, that our father was going to take away our home. She said he had tricked the court handling the divorce into giving him too much money, and she couldn’t afford to pay him. But our father was a bad guy, and wanted to hurt her, and us. So he got an order from the court that she would have to either pay him the money, or sell our house. She didn’t know where we would go, or what would happen to us.

In reality, my mother and father had bought and paid the mortgage on the house together. When they divorced and my dad moved out, my mom demanded that the Family Court transfer the house to her free and clear of any obligation to my dad – essentially strip him of his equity in the house. He refused to turn over tens of thousands of dollars to her for no reason, and the court ended up giving him an equitable lien on the house in the amount of his contributions to it. The court decided it would be psychologically damaging to my brother and I to lose the house we lived in, so it held off on ordering a partition and sale of the house until we were both 18. But my mom was all too happy to turn that into a story about my dad villainously trying to make us homeless. She was sure to add that the judge had ordered that my brother and I not be told of this, because we were too young to handle it. But she knew how smart and grownup we were, so we could handle the truth. However, it was very, very, very important that we not let on that she had told us, or she could get in trouble. From then on, it was our secret.

After that day, I hated my dad as intensely any child could hate another human being. I refused to visit with him. When I did go, I refused to interact with him. Then my mom started to encourage my brother and I to misbehave while we were there. We would bring back stories of breaking a storm window on his house with a rock, closing the car door on his leg, and yelling and misbehaving.

These stories were received with as much approval and enthusiasm as the earlier failure to be affectionate with her garnered rage and contempt. She would smile from ear to ear, hug us, tell us how brave we were, and how proud of us she was in “standing up” to him. “Standing up” to a man who barely ever spoke a cross word and never once raised a hand to either of us, even as we devised more and better ways of acting up, antagonizing him, and making the time we spent with him as miserable as possible.

That went on for the next five years. Everything we said about whatever went on during our visits was met with some explanation of why whatever he said or did was wrong, or abusive, or stupid. We were told dozens upon dozens of new stories about him and why our mom had to divorce him to keep him away from us. He was a compulsive gambler. He was violent with her. He was a power-crazed maniac out to control all of our lives. He was a pathological liar. He tried to steal from our maternal grandmother. Don’t believe anything he says. Don’t accept anything he does. He’s trying to keep you away from your real family who love you and miss you very much when you’re gone. Never let him forget you don’t want to be there. To my mom, my brother, and I, he gradually became the living embodiment of all that was evil in our world.

What chance did he ever have when we were submersed in that propaganda campaign 6 days a week? I’ve often thought back and wondered to myself if there was any combination of words or actions that would have reached us then, and honestly the answer is no. No matter what he said, we’d hear for the next week that it was a trick or a lie. No matter what he did, we knew better than to respond favorably, or god forbid – let our mom know we held anything other than unadulterated hatred for the man. She proudly told us, “When he left us, you were babies, but now you’re my soldiers.”

When I was 11, things came to a head. I don’t even remember how or why. I do recall it was nothing extraordinary. Another argument about how we hated it at his place, didn’t want to see him, and if he really cared about us, he’d leave us alone to live at our real house where we liked it. All lines fed to us and rehearsed with mom. How could he expect us to love him if he forced us to be with him? It was an unsolvable dilemma for him that we had talked over countless times before. Previously, he would ask, “Well, what can I do to make your time here better? What is it about spending time with me that you don’t like?” There really was no answer to that question, other than the real truth of what was going on that I’m sure he heard behind the angry denouncements of his children. “It just sucks here! Why do we have to explain anything to you? Can’t you just listen to us and leave us alone?!” And, that last time, he did just that.

He must have known that he was fighting an unwinnable battle for our hearts and minds. Anything he said would be drowned out with more accusations. Anything he did would be lost in a din of insults and demeaning mistreatment, egged on by the only parent we knew for 85% of our lives. All that was left was to do what we asked – to leave us alone. So, one spring day, he finally did.

We returned home like conquering heroes. Our mom squealed with joy and pride like I never heard from her again, even the day I got my college admissions notices. But the torrent of attacks didn’t stop even then. When someone was behaving selfishly, or inconsiderately, they were “acting like him.” When conflicts reached their fever pitch, the old threat still came out, “Maybe I’ll just send you away to live with your father.”

He and I wouldn’t see or speak to one another until I was 22. My paternal grandfather died and I saw him at the funeral. I still believed him to be the monster my mother described, and said little to him then. But in the ensuing years, we saw more of each other, and with the benefit of adult reasoning, I looked back and saw how transparently manipulative it had all been. Given the chance to meaningfully speak in his own defense, my dad explained the issue with the house, and told me about his experiences through the divorce, and the tempest of bitter conflict that followed. We’re doing our best to fill the 20-year hole in our lives left there by the weaponization of children in divorces, and I’m much closer to him now than I am to her.

So. That’s my story. I had meant to post this on Father’s Day, but time got away from me and whatnot. Still, I see threads in this subreddit from divorced fathers expressing grief and frustration over the damage to their relationships with their children caused by vengeful spouses. I hope that the opportunity to look at this from the perspective of a child in these situations might help, and the happy ending to my story might offer hope to you noncustodial dads out there.

So. Ask me (almost) anything. I won’t say anything that might identify me, for reasons that should be pretty clear. But if you want to know what it feels like for a child to be constantly inundated with false accusations, insults, and conditioning to hate and fear the other parent, and what it was like to finally emerge from that cave to see daylight, I’ll add anything that might be useful or hopeful.

http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/2d68yk/i_was_a_child_affected_by_parental_alienation/

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Erasing Dad, A Review

Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: fathers, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , |

Sept. 29th, 2014 by Wendy Gosselin

Visitation. It’s just a terrible word,” says Gabriel Balanovsky, the producer of the documentary film ‘Borrando a Papá’ [Erasing Dad]. “There are only three moments in life for visitation – when someone is in jail, when someone is in the hospital, or when you’re a divorced father going to see your kid. How can a father’s relationship with a son or daughter suddenly be limited to visitation?”

To find their protagonists, the filmmakers interviewed a hundred men

Although it hasn’t yet premiered, Borrando a Papá has already caused quite a stir. The trailer has been viewed 76,000 times on YouTube and the film’s Facebook page has over 19,000 followers – an auspicious start for an Argentine documentary before even reaching the screen. The film’s directors, US ex-pat Ginger Gentile and Argentine Sandra Fernández Ferreira, have appeared on radio and television and in print media discussing the film.

However, not everyone is looking forward to its release: the NGO Salud Activa started a petition on Change.org requesting that Argentina’s film institute INCAA cancel the documentary’s release. According to the petition, the film promotes violence and sexual abuse against minors. After its original release date was pushed back and a pre-screening set for 2nd September at the Colegio de Abogados was cancelled due to pressure from the film’s censors, Borrando a Papá is finally set to premier this Thursday (2nd October).

“When we released our last documentary, ‘Mujeres con Pelotas‘ [Goals for Girls], everybody loved us!” explains Balanovsky. Mujeres con Pelotas follows a group of young women, many from the shantytowns, who play football, a man’s sport par excellence in Argentina. “We were applauded for talking about women’s equality. But men’s equality? They don’t want to hear about men’s equality.”

Borrando a Papá offers a close-up of contested divorce and family violence from a unique perspective: that of the father. According to the film, these fathers are victims of a system that has been so tweaked to protect mothers that it leaves men at the mercy of their ex-wives, who then exploit the family court to keep their ex from seeing his children, often, it would seem, out of spite or vengeance.

Directors Ginger Gentile (left) and Sandra

Gentile and Fernández interviewed over one hundred men for the documentary, finally settling on six main “characters” for the film. Each of these men has a devastating story of being excluded from his child or children’s lives. Sergio, for example, is isolated from his four kids because of accusations made by their mother. When one of his sons ended up in the hospital with a fractured skull and told the doctors that his mother had hit him, Sergio filed an injunction to take his son into temporary custody. The court refused the injunction, and his son was returned to the care of his abusive mother. Another father, Diego, knows where his daughters live but can’t see them; he drives by their house once a day and whistles up to them from the open sunroof before driving off. Guillermo, a father who suffered physical abuse at the hands of his ex, receives a piece of advice from a social worker: don’t report the violence or you will automatically be suspected of having initiated it.

“It was a very difficult documentary project emotionally,” explains Gentile. “A lot of the men were ashamed to talk about what had happened to them.” It was especially hard for men who had suffered physical abuse by their spouses. “They would use the third-person plural in Spanish – me pegaron – to avoid coming out and saying that their wife had struck them.”

The film moves back and forth between the six men, weaving a story of impotence before a system that appears rigged against any attempt by a father to see his children. Yura is a Russian father who doesn’t even know where his Argentine ex has taken his son; before disappearing with him, she had filed a long list of police reports accusing him of alcoholism, violence, and acts as abominable as “only speaking [to his son] in Russian.” In a meeting with an employee at the Domestic Violence Office where Yura goes to file his own report, he is advised not to bother waiting several hours to be seen by a case worker. “Whatever you tell them, the final report is going to say that your report isn‘t credible and that she is the one at risk,” explains the female worker in a shushed voice. “They’re going to believe her, because she’s the woman.” “Is that legal?” asks Yura. “It’s not legal – it’s the way things are done. We have a team of gender violence specialists and they know when a man’s lying. And he’s always lying.

Yuri, one of the film's protagonists

The men’s stories are sensitive and thought-provoking, and giving fathers a voice is unquestionably the force of this documentary. Their stories alone would have been more than enough for a feature-length film, yet the filmmakers wanted to show the discrimination against fathers in Argentine family courts from myriad perspectives. The life stories are thus interspersed with statements by a range of people from inside the system, including lawyers, public officials, psychologists, and NGO workers, many of whom appear uncannily comfortable with thismachista notion that men are naturally prone to violence and abuse while women are naturally inclined to caregiving and childrearing.

Some of these people are the ones who are now speaking out against the film. “We didn’t think there would be such an adverse reaction, with people demanding censorship,” explained Gentile. “We were very careful not to attack individuals or organisations. We thought, we’re making a small documentary here so let’s give everyone an elegant exit.”

On the other hand, people who have heard about the movie are also reaching out to them. “We receive about 50 emails every day from people who have seen the trailer and visited our website – people asking us for help because they can’t see their child,” says Gentile. Men aren’t the only ones drawn to the film. “Half of our Facebook followers are women.”

In spite of the film’s fortes, however, there are two sections that throw it slightly off course. The first presents Jorge Corsi, a psychologist who designed the academic specialisation of “family violence” in 1989; its curriculum is still in use at Universidad de Buenos Aires’ school of psychology. Although the programme curriculum is related to the film’s topic (the study programme contemplates exclusively male perpetrators of violence against female victims), the fact that Jorge Corsi was subsequently accused and convicted of sexual abusing a minor seems to stray from the core issue of the film, which is a father’s right to be with his children.

The second segment from the film that could have perhaps been saved for a follow-up documentary on the subject is an interview from British television with Erin Pizzey, a family care activist. Pizzey talks about how the court system in the UK is designed to perpetuate divorce and child custody because of all the money there is to be made in these cases by lawyers, court-appointed psychologists, visitation companions, etc. The film then suggests that the system could also be profit-driven in Argentina. But given the fact that the entire Argentine court system is notorious for its drawn-out blundering, it seems like a stretch to posit that there is a moneymaking scheme behind all the ineptitude; and if this were the case, it would seem logical to assume that there is as much money to be made from mothers as there is from fathers. In any case, the segment again distracts us from the highly compelling life stories of the film.

The film highlights the slow bureaucratic process that custody battles entail

On Balanovsky and Gentile’s behalf, it is fair to say that they are both so passionate about this topic that it was probably difficult to decide what to leave out. These are stories close to both of their hearts: after fighting to have his visitation rights enforced, Balanovsky was accused of kidnapping his daughter by a criminal court judge even though a family court judge had given him provisional custody. He was later apprehended and spent a year in jail before being released (a judge ultimately ruled that since his parenting rights were still in force, he could not be accused of “kidnapping”). Despite being given visitation rights, he has not seen his daughter in the ensuing 12 years. The incident is frequently brought up by the people who want the film to be censored. As for Gentile, she was moved by Balanovsky’s struggle, as she herself had been isolated from her father as a teenager after her parents’ divorce.

“We are planning to turn this into a trilogy,” explains Gentile, “With a second film focused on the business side of divorce, and a third film that ends on a more positive note, examining possible solutions to this problem – going to places like Belgium, where shared custody is the norm.”

If all goes as planned, the film should be in cinemas starting this Thursday. As with most Argentine documentaries, it is not likely to last long in theatres, and it is well worth seeing. Luckily, after its release on 2nd October, Balanovsky and Gentile are planning on uploading it onto their YouTube page with English subtitles. Their ultimate goal is to spread the word on the plight of these fathers in an effort to finally balance the scales between mothers’ and fathers’ rights.

To see where the film will be playing, please visit the Facebook page. The filmmakers are actively seeking to fund their next documentary, and are accepting donations via their Paypal account.

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Actor Jason Patric Resumes Controversial Child Custody Trial

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome, Shared Parenting | Tags: , , |

Los Angeles, CA –

Jason Patric, Actor, Activist and Founder of ‘Stand Up for Gus’, will be going back to court on Tuesday, September 2 to resume the trial that was erroneously aborted by the prior trial judge and directed to take place by the Court of Appeal, which was ruled in Jason’s favor.

“The visitation initially had been denied because Danielle Schreiber further appealed to the California Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court denied her request, so the Court of Appeal decision stands and the trial resumes on the issue of whether Jason can establish himself as the father under Family Code Section 7611, in that he held Gus out as his own son and received him into his home.” – Jason’s attorney, Fred Silberberg, said.

“After over two years of unending struggle that can’t be described, and having not seen my son Gus for 79 weeks, I finally have the trial I was denied thanks to my victory in the Appellate and the California Supreme Court. It begins September 2nd. It means everything. This day voices will be heard and we will have hope, care, love, and soon, VICTORY.” – Jason Patric said.

A number of celebrities have joined forces along with Jason to create and launch a PSA for the organization he founded in honor of his son, ‘Stand Up for Gus.’ Some celebrities in the PSA include: Brad Pitt, Chris Evans, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Wright, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg. All the celebrities in the campaign share in the PSA why they “Stand Up” for Gus and for all the children affected by parental alienation. The PSA will officially launch next week nationwide.

Actor & Activist, Jason Patric recently founded Stand Up For Gus, a non-profit organization raising awareness of the issue of parent alienation as a result of his devastating custody battle with his ex-girlfriend over his son Gus. The organization has raised over $200,000 since last October and their momentum is continuing to grow and recently gave $100,000 to Levitt & Quinn Family Law Firm in Los Angeles for them to provide legal assistance to local families. At Levitt & Quinn, the first two months were undertaken on a half-time basis while they worked to staff the project fully. As of June 1st, the project is full time and since the project’s inception in April 2014-29 parents have received legal assistance and 13 have received representation including brief service, preparation of paperwork and court appearances in custody, visitation and paternity cases.

Stand Up For Gus raises monetary support for alienated parents desperately trying to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children, and funds raised provide free legal representation to low-income families with limited resources struggling with costly custody battles. An advocate for shared parenting, Stand Up For Gus hopes to shed light on and reform our broken family court system.

Visit the Stand Up For Gus website at www.standupforgus.com

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Parental Alienation Syndrome Isn’t in the DSM Yet, but It’s in Plenty of Arguments

Posted on July 21, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

Newsweek

7_11_NW0403_ParentalAlienation_01
Actor Jason Patric arrives for his custody hearing at the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles, May 8, 2014. Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

Following the 2009 in vitro-assisted birth of Gus, a very public legal argument broke out between mother Danielle Schreiber and her former boyfriend and the child’s sperm donor, Jason Patric. Patric, a well-known actor who starred in films such as The Lost Boys and Speed 2: Cruise Control, petitioned for parental rights, arguing that he and Schreiber had been partners for years, and that he had every intention of fathering the child. He says he kept his name off the birth certificate to protect Gus from media attention.

Schreiber, citing section 7613(b) of California’s Family Code, maintains that as a sperm donor, and with no written agreement to the contrary in place before the child’s birth, Patric does not have any parental rights. In addition, Schreiber, through her lawyers, tells Newsweek that she and Patric never agreed to be co-parents, and that Patric never showed any intent of wanting to be the child’s father. A 29-page letter written sent by Patric in late 2008 or early 2009 to Schreiber portrays a tortured man who ultimately says he’s not ready for fatherhood, but would act as a sperm donor as a “gift” to the woman he had loved, as long as she kept it a secret.

The trial court sided with Schreiber, awarding her full custody of Gus. A Domestic Violence Restraining Order was also issued against Patric by the trial court on November 25, 2013; in an email to Newsweek Schreiber’s legal team says this was in response to past instances of verbal, physical, and emotional abuse (including anti-Semitic remarks) levied by Patric towards Schreiber.

Patric unequivocally denies these charges, and by now has spent roughly 160 hours in courtrooms trying to convince judges (and the public) that he is Gus’s father in every sense of the word. In May of 2014, an appellate court decided that though Patric could not claim fatherhood under section 7613(b), they would allow him to seek paternity under different sections of the California Family Code. Schreiber’s legal team has petitioned the California Supreme Court to review the appellate court’s decision; they have not yet responded to the request.

In the meanwhile, it has been 72 weeks since Patric last saw the child.

He has also launched the website Stand Up for Gus to promote awareness of parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a mental health syndrome he fears his son may have to deal with for the rest of his life, based on the acrimonious relationship between his parents.

Coined in 1985 by psychiatrist Richard Gardner, PAS describes a set of behaviors exhibited by kids whose parents deliberately turn them against the other parent, through a variety of techniques that are at once coercive, manipulative, vindictive and sociopathic. “It’s a violent act to a child’s mind,” Patric tells Newsweek, speaking of PAS, which he says he began investigating following his initial trial to assert his parental rights with Gus. He believes parental alienation is akin to what domestic violence was 40 years ago—a dirty secret that is harming millions but not acknowledged by many mental health professionals.

One of the reasons PAS hasn’t been embraced universally is because of controversies that punctuate Gardner’s career. In 1992, for example, at the height of the tumultuous scandal in which Woody Allen’s former partner, Mia Farrow, accused him of child abuse, Gardner told reporters that “screaming ‘sex abuse’ is a very effective way to wreak vengeance on a hated spouse.” Many took this as a tacit diagnosis of PAS—inferring that Gardner had sided with Allen and believed Farrow had manipulated her children into falsely believing Allen was a sexual abuser.

Nor did it help that Gardner, at first, repeatedly declared that fathers are more deserving of legal protection from alienating mothers than the other way around. Writing in The American Academy of Psychoanalysis in 1994, he said, “The campaign of denigration embarked upon by many parents (mothers more often than fathers) can be both vicious and creative. Mothers are generally more bonded to their children than fathers, and they are more likely to engage in a wide variety of manipulations designed to strengthen their positions in custody disputes.”

Within the decade, however, Gardner amended his theories about women and PAS. “In the last few years I have seen a shift that has brought the ratio now to 50-50,” he wrote in a 2000 report. But the legacy of his earlier statements remains and has led many to argue that PAS is just a tool used by men to seize custody from any mother who claims abuse, an idea bolstered by famous cases such as Allen’s. Psychologist Joyanna Silberg says she has seen many divorces in which parents—typically fathers—hoodwink judges and case evaluators with the term parental alienation and turn themselves into the victim. Silberg represents the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, a nonprofit that staunchly opposes many of Gardner’s original notions about PAS. The organization’s president, Paul Fink, has called PAS “junk science at its worst.”

But many PAS advocates think that this gendered characterization of PAS is inaccurate, and even intentionally misleading. “I know for sure it happens to both mothers and fathers,” says Amy Baker, a developmental psychologist who authored the book Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind.

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Wanting Him to Want Me: On Being Raised Without My Father

Posted on July 17, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , |

 Two days before my mother died from cancer she asked, “You won’t be contacting your father, will you?” They had been divorced 37 years but their animosity toward each other never waned.

“Really? This isn’t important right now mom.” I was out of my mind with stress and grief. I wanted her to die with a sense of peace and the topic of her ex-husband was not going to get us there.

“Well, he never loved you like I did.” Okay, that was true; but it’s not easy to show love from 1,700 miles away, which was the distance between us for most of my childhood. Between the ages of 4 and 19 I saw my father once, for a visit the summer I was 10.

My mom went on to say she didn’t want me to contact my father because she was worried I would get hurt. She mentioned that I was “messed up,” upon returning from that one visit. I told her I was messed up because I missed my father terribly. The topic of my father was never an easy one. I felt I had to take my mother’s side against half of myself.

During that visit I would say to anyone, even grocery clerks, “That’s my dad.” Many times a day I would call out, “Dad?”

He’d answer, “Yes, sweetheart?”

“Oh, nothing.” Anything to get his attention. The word dad — strange and new and mine.

Some facts: my parents were divorced in the 1960s when I was quite young. My father paid $50 per month in child support, which wasn’t a lot even back then, and sometimes he didn’t pay at all. Needing both financial and family support, my mother moved us from Montana, where my father lived, to Michigan. What took up that space where my father might have been; that terrible yearning for love, is another story. Heart breaking. Life changing.

My mother never remarried after the divorce. She worked very hard; sometimes working two jobs to make ends meet — as a manager at a bank during the day and even as a hostess in a restaurant some evenings. She advanced in her career, and the pressures of being poor relented. Eventually, she even purchased a house. I’m so grateful for the work ethic she taught me. But us kids home alone, it was hard. Since I heard only her side of the story, saw only her struggles, it was easy to join her against my father.

As with everything, it’s more complicated than that. My father remarried twice more, had new families. Stepfamilies. Of the few gifts I received from him as a child, one was a framed portrait of him surrounded by his new family. At Christmas time we often received generic cards with copied Christmas letters containing news about “their children,” which neglected to include anything about his biological children. It seemed to me my father didn’t fight to have a relationship with his kids. I became angrier and angrier, an emotion so much easier to live with than hurt.

My father was a working class man with no legal options and it’s not his way to stand up for himself.

But all parents, regardless of gender, need full parental rights, the opportunity to nurture. Women’s rights, men’s rights, children’s rights, human rights; it’s complex and interdependent.

Although it wasn’t true, I absolutely believed my father never thought of me. I just wanted him to want me.

I was a girl raised without a father and all of the things that come with it — wanting attention from men, low self esteem, unreliable sense of self. I internalized this into my own messed up patterns and made mistakes. Who I am is all on me; my parents are not responsible for my decisions.

I did call my father after my mother died. That was eight years ago. He invited me to meet him at a family reunion. I can only imagine how scary that was for him; to arrange to meet his daughter who had shown him only anger for years and then cut off all contact.

The day of the reunion I walked up to the grange hall full of people, it was crowded with family; my dad is the oldest of twelve. I saw my father right away; tall, a little stooped over, grey hair, pressed shirt, bright blue watering eyes. I was surprised by the tenderness I felt for him.

My father is 82 and has some dementia. “Who was your mother?” he asked me during a recent visit.

“Susan.” My mother was his second wife. He’s been married to his fourth wife for about 30 years, but his memory touches down like a skipping rock.

“Oh, what happened to her?”

“Dad, she died years ago.” I could feel anxiety in my body, tried to breathe it out.

“Good! She was awful…” He’s even compared her to Eva Braun in a previous conversation, completely missing his own affiliation to Hitler. It might be funny if it were on TV.

I had to stay calm. “Let’s not talk bad about her, she’s dead and it hurts me. Anyway, she never had a good thing to say about you either.” Thankfully, the subject changed.

That conversation did bother me, but he’s ill, he’s older, and their war wasn’t really about me. I don’t care to assess blame. It’s been 47 years; I am over my parent’s divorce, but when they keep bringing it up, what’s a kid to do?

It’s been a very long and imperfect process but I have both forgiven my dad for abandoning me, for not giving me all I thought I deserved, and forgiven myself for carrying years of self-righteous anger and abandoning him. I’ve had to keep forgiving us both for all of the things that have come up since; like the conversation about my mother. I forgive again when who he is falls short of my ideal; forgive myself when resentments linger in me and I pull away.

It will never be what it could have been. There is distance — 40 missing years, and there are still 580 miles between us.

What I have now, almost too late: a big wonderful family, moments of grace, our easy love, the unexpected freedom in my heart, which is a sort of self-love.

A woman with a loving father, a woman like that might just choose the company of a partner who is kind rather than one who shows a lot of superficial attention; one who loves her for who she is rather than what she looks like. A woman like that might take risks, believe in herself. She might walk a little taller in the world.

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The Courts and Parental Alienation

Posted on July 17, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , |

 The British Psychological Society

Parental alienation – a child’s unwarranted rejection of one parent and strong alignment with the other following high conflict family breakdown – leaves the alienated parent feeling powerless.  Despite recognition in recent high court judgements, it is poorly understood and rarely acknowledged in the British family justice system.

That is the conclusion of research being presented today, Saturday 12 July, by Dr Sue Whitcombe at theannual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Counselling Psychology in London.

Dr Whitcombe conducted research with 54 parents (47 fathers and 7 mothers) who identified themselves as alienated parents. The study identifies these parents’ concerns for their children’s welfare and psychological well-being, and the lack of power they feel in being able to protect them from harm.  Forty two of the parents reported concerns about their child’s mental health.  For 36, a strong concern was evident.

This powerlessness is evident in the findings related to the legal process and its personnel.  Fifty one of the parents had made representation to the family courts.  Orders for contact were repeatedly broken, and 42 parents reported no current direct contact; 30 have not seen their child in over a year.

Dr Whitcombe found that 48 of the participants disagreed with the statement “I feel as though the authorities or legal system are fair, unbiased or supportive of me”, with 25 rating this as strong disagreement.  Thirty-nine participants also found the expert witnesses, Cafcass or the police to be biased by information given by their former partners.

This sense of powerlessness also featured where false allegations are concerned, with 36 participants reporting that they had been subject to false allegations of violence against their former partner and 44 reporting false allegations of neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse against their child.

Dr Whitcombe will explain that the denigration and ultimate rejection of a parent in parental alienation is a psychological defence mechanism. Unable to manage the cognitive dissonance of their positive experience of a loving parent and the explicit or implicit negative messages they receive from the other parent, the child’s immediate psychological distress is minimised by rejecting one parent.

Earlier research has found an increase in clinically significant symptoms and behaviours in children affected by parental alienation, as well as a greater incidence of clinical disorder, relationship difficulties, substance misuse and issues with identity and sense of self over the life-course.

Dr Whitcombe says: “My study suggests a lack of knowledge and understanding about parental alienation in the UK. This resonates with my own experience when raising the topic with professionals in psychology, education and social care.

“At this time of upheaval in the family justice system, it is imperative that parental alienation is given a place on the research and policy agenda to ensure the safety and psychological well-being of children, their right to a relationship with both parents and the eradication of social injustice.”

The Annual Conference of the Division of Counselling Psychology takes place at One Drummond Gate, London SW1 on 11 and 12 July 2014. Around 235 counselling psychologists will be attending.

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How Narcissists Abuse Children During Divorce

Posted on May 30, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

Narcissists often use children as pawns during and after divorce. Learn to identify this emotional abuse of children caught in the middle.
The emotional abuse by a narcissist is pervasive and insidious. It impacts not only the narcissist’s spouse but his or her children as well. Once divorce proceedings begin, the narcissist’s abuse will likely escalate. Narcissists will use any means possible to gain control of the situation or to make themselves look better. Children become perfect pawns for narcissistic parents to use against their spouses. Identifying how narcissistic parents abuse their children is the first step to devising strategies to minimize abuse and help children cope. 

Using Children as Pawns in Divorce

Narcissistic parents will often seek custody of children during a divorce even if previously they were not involved parents. It’s important to them to appear to be the better parent. Also, if they have custody of the children, it gives them another way to continue to control and abuse their spouse.

If narcissists don’t get custody of the children, after divorce, they may use visitation as a means of control and harassment. They may ask for many changes to visitation schedules to accommodate optional work, social and vacation events. Most often these requests will be to not to have the children when they are scheduled to. Narcissists may refuse to accommodate the spouse’s requests even when the requests are made for the benefit of the children.

Narcissists may also be late in picking up the children for visitation or not picking them up at all. They may make last minute changes and expect to be accommodated. When they are not, they will cite this as an example of how unreasonable their spouse is. Narcissists may also take advantage of third parties such as school, daycare or friends and family who don’t know the agreements made with the other parent. It’s important to note that all of these tactics by the narcissist have nothing to do with the best interest of the children. It’s simply a way for the narcissist to play games and have control.

Emotional Abuse by a Narcissistic Parent

Narcissists will use people in whatever way in necessary to get what they want. This world view also applies to their children. They will abuse their children regardless whether they stay married to the other parent or not. During and after divorce, a narcissist’s emotional abuse of his or her children may seem more direct or blatant. Quite often, this is simply another tactic employed by narcissists to further control their former spouse. Unfortunately, the children pay the price for the narcissist’s games.

Narcissists are masters of lying. They will lie to their children and distort reality the same as they do to everyone else. Often, narcissists will sacrifice their children’s well-being in an attempt to save face. This leaves the children feeling confused and unsure of their own reality and judgment. Narcissists will ask their children to lie for them, keep secrets and to spy on the other parent.

Narcissistic parents do not respect their children’s desires. They may make promises to the children in order to gain compliance from the child, then refuse to honor the promises. Children may miss out on birthday parties, sporting events or other activities important to them in order to accommodate the narcissistic parent’s wishes. The children soon learn that what they want is not important when with the narcissistic parent.

Coping with a Narcissistic Parent

It’s important to understand that it’s impossible to control a narcissist’s behavior. Neither the narcissist’s spouse nor children are responsible for his or her behavior. Narcissists are who they are. The best the other parent can do for their children and themselves is to separate themselves as much as possible from the narcissist.

First and foremost, former spouses of narcissists need to seek professional support for themselves and their children. It’s important that both children and spouses of narcissists have someone outside the situation to support and validate their feelings and reality while trying to cope with a crazy-making narcissist.

Spouses also need to hire a lawyer who understands narcissism and how to best deal with it in court. It’s often best for abused spouses to seek full custody of the children. They should, however, be prepared to offer reasonable visitation. In addition, spouses of narcissists will do well to put as many negotiation points about the children as they can think of in the divorce decree. These include visitation, pick-up times, phone calls, school activities and vacations. It may seem excessive or restraining but in the long run these written agreements will often be easier than constantly renegotiating with an unreliable and emotionally abusive former spouse.

Divorce is never easy on children. Coping with a narcissistic parent makes a stressful situation even more difficult. Learning to identify the games narcissists play can help parents to minimize the emotional abuse children suffer at the hands of a narcissistic parent.

Sources:

Bancroft, Lundy. When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse. New York: Berkley Books, 2004.

Hotchkiss, Sandy. Why is is Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism. New York: Free Press, 2002.

Skerritt, Richard. Surviving the Storm: Strategies and Realities for Divorcing a Narcissist. Kennett Square, PA: Dalkeith Press, 2009.

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Should Targeted Parents Send Alienated Children Books

Posted on May 28, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

The case for not sending materials about alienation to alienated children
Psychology Today

Frequently I will get an e-mail or call from a targeted parent asking me which of my books and writings do I think they should share with their alienated child, as a means of enlightening that child about the cause of the breach in their relationship. My simple answer is one word: none. I know of no situation in which a currently alienated child positively received such an item. The wish is that the alienated child (regardless of the age of the “child”) would read the item and have an epiphany and say something like, “Wow. I have a whole new understanding of what has happened in my childhood. I only thought you were the bad guy. Now I realize that you really loved me and I was tricked into believing that wasn’t true.” It is completely understandable why a targeted parent would harbor such a wish. It is almost like having a magic wand. However, as far as I know, there is no magic wand for undoing the spell of alienation. When I coach targeted parents I try to help them see what has happened from their child’s point of view. No alienated child believes that they were brainwashed. If they had that insight they wouldn’t be alienated any more. Currently alienated children (again, I am referring to the person as a child because of their role as the child of the targeted parent not because of their age) have an understanding of why they have no relationship with the targeted parent and that understanding is based on their felt experience with that parent. They are not aware that they have been manipulated. Usually, there is a grain of truth to their complaints about the targeted parent. Because all parents are imperfect there is always something to point to as “the reason” for the breach. In my experience, the only way to reconnect with an alienated child is to see the relationship from their point of view. That means, trying to understand what is upsetting them, even if from the targeted parent’s point of view most of their upset is based on exaggerations and mis-information. There are ways of doing this that do not involve (A) apologizing for things that didn’t happen or (B) arguing with the child about their false beliefs. This is a delicate dance but one that can be done and, based on my coaching, one well worth doing. Once there is a reconnection, usually the targeted parent lets go of the idea of having the formerly alienated child fully understand what happened. Ironically, what often helps targeted parents come to this understanding is reading one of my books. I often encourage targeted parents to go back and read “Adult children of parental alienation syndrome: Breaking the ties that bind” as a way of helping the targeted parent experience the alienated child as a victim. When that empathy for the child is rekindled, the targeted parent is usually ready to try to engage the alienated child in a more delicate fashion, one that does not involve sending them materials about how they have been manipulated.

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Co-Parenting After Divorce

Posted on January 4, 2014. Filed under: Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

by Edward Kruk, Ph.D.

I offer the first installment of a three-part series examining (1) the impact of parental alienation on children, (2) the effects of parental alienation on parents, and (3) programs, services and interventions that combat alienation and seek to reunite estranged parents and their children.

What children of divorce most want and need is to maintain healthy and strong relationships with both of their parents, and to be shielded from their parents’ conflicts. Some parents, however, in an effort to bolster their parental identity, create an expectation that children choose sides. In more extreme situations, they foster the child’s rejection of the other parent. In the most extreme cases, children are manipulated by one parent to hate the other, despite children’s innate desire to love and be loved by both their parents.

Parental alienation involves the “programming” of a child by one parent to denigrate the other “targeted” parent, in an effort to undermine and interfere with the child’s relationship with that parent, and is often a sign of a parent’s inability to separate from the couple conflict and focus on the needs of the child. Such denigration results in the child’s emotional rejection of the targeted parent, and the loss of a capable and loving parent from the life of the child. Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept of “parental alienation syndrome” 20 years ago, defining it as, “a disorder that arises primarily 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.” Children’s views of the targeted parent are almost exclusively negative, to the point that the parent is demonized and seen as evil.

As Amy Baker writes, parental alienation involves a set of strategies, including bad-mouthing the other parent, limiting contact with that parent, erasing the other parent from the life and mind of the child (forbidding discussion and pictures of the other parent), forcing the child to reject the other parent, creating the impression that the other parent is dangerous, forcing the child to choose between the parents by means of threats of withdrawal of affection, and belittling and limiting contact with the extended family of the targeted parent. In my own research on non-custodial parents who have become disengaged from their children’s lives (Kruk, 2011), I found that most lost contact involuntarily, many as a result of parental alienation. Constructive alternatives to adversarial methods of reconnecting with their children were rarely available to these alienated parents.

Parental alienation is more common than is often assumed: Fidler and Bala (2010) report both an increasing incidence and increased judicial findings of parental alienation; they report estimates of parental alienation in 11-15% of divorces involving children; Bernet et al (2010) estimate that about 1% of children and adolescents in North America experience parental alienation.

There is now scholarly consensus that severe alienation is abusive to children (Fidler and Bala, 2010), and it is a largely overlooked form ofchild abuse (Bernet et al, 2010), as child welfare and divorce practitioners are often unaware of or minimize its extent. As reported by adult children of divorce, the tactics of alienating parents are tantamount to extreme psychological maltreatment of children, including spurning, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting or exploiting, and denying emotional responsiveness (Baker, 2010). For the child, parental alienation is a serious mental condition, based on a false belief that the alienated parent is a dangerous and unworthy parent. The severe effects of parental alienation on children are well-documented; low self esteem and self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, and substance abuse and other forms of addiction are widespread, as children lose the capacity to give and accept love from a parent. Self-hatred is particularly disturbing among affected children, as children internalize the hatred targeted toward the alienated parent, are led to believe that the alienated parent did not love or want them, and experience severe guilt related to betraying the alienated parent. Their depression is rooted is feelings of being unloved by one of their parents, and from separation from that parent, while being denied the opportunity to mourn the loss of the parent, or to even talk about the parent. Alienated children typically have conflicted or distant relationships with the alienating parent also, and are at high risk of becoming alienated from their own children; Baker reports that fully half of the respondents in her study of adult children who had experienced alienation as children were alienated from their own children.

Every child has a fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents, and to be denied that right by one parent, without sufficient justification such as abuse or neglect, is in itself a form of child abuse. Since it is the child who is being violated by a parent’s alienating behaviors, it is the child who is being alienated from the other parent. Children who have undergone forced separation from one of their parents in the absence of abuse, including cases of parental alienation, are highly subject to post-traumatic stress, and reunification efforts in these cases should proceed carefully and with sensitivity (research has shown that many alienated children can transform quickly from refusing or staunchly resisting the rejected parent to being able to show and receive love from that parent, followed by an equally swift shift back to the alienated position when back in the orbit of the alienating parent; alienated children seem to have a secret wish for someone to call their bluff, compelling them to reconnect with the parent they claim to hate). While children’s stated wishes regarding parental contact in contested custody should be considered, they should not be determinative, especially in suspected cases of alienation.

Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child; it has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate or fear the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child. Alienated children are no less damaged than other child victims of extreme conflict, such as child soldiers and other abducted children, who identify with their tormentors to avoid pain and maintain a relationship with them, however abusive that relationship may be.

In the second installment on parental alienation, I will examine the effects of parental alienation on targeted parents, and suggest a range of strategies for preventing and intervening in these cases in the third.

 

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Healing divorced families one story at a time

Posted on August 14, 2013. Filed under: Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , , |

Jontie Hays and Sarah Ulmer have written 12 books (Monkey in the Middle) to help children understand the emotions and feelings that parents experience during divorce.  Jontie talks with Jill Egizii of Family Matters about her book and her work as a social worker.  Click the link below to listen to the show:

monkey-in-the-middle-talks-with-family-matters

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The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5) helps our children!

Posted on May 20, 2013. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

Dr. Bill Bernet, lead a group of interested professionals in encouraging the DSM 5 editing group to include Parental Alienation Disorder. The new DSM 5 was published on May 18, 2013 and is the reference book for psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health providers  Here is Dr. Bernet’s unedited analysis of the result.

 

Finally, DSM-5 was published today.  The DSM-5 Task Force told us 2 or 3 years ago that they did not want parental alienation to be a separate diagnosis in DSM-5, but they thought that parental alienation could be considered an example of other diagnoses that are in DSM-5.

 

The actual words “parental alienation” are not in DSM-5, but there are several diagnoses that can be used in these cases.  I would say the “spirit” of parental alienation is in DSM-5, even if the words are not.

 

Parent-child relational problem now has a discussion in DSM-5, not just a label.  The discussion explains that cognitive problems in parent-child relational problem “may include negative attributions of the other’s intentions, hostility toward or scapegoating of the other, and unwarranted feelings of estrangement.”  That is a pretty good description of a child’s view of the alienated parent, although it is an unfortunate use of the word “estrangement.”

 

Child psychological abuse is a new diagnosis in DSM-5.  It is defined as “nonaccidental verbal or symbolic acts by a child’s parent or caregiver that result, or have reasonable potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child.”  In many instances, the behavior of the alienating parent constitutes child psychological abuse.

 

Child affected by parental relationship distress is another new diagnosis in DSM-5.  It should be used “when the focus of clinical attention if the negative effects of parental relationship discord (e.g., high levels of conflict, distress, or disparagement) on a child in the family, including effects on the child’s mental or other physical disorders.”  That is also a good description of how parental alienation comes about.

 

Factitious disorder imposed on another is the DSM-5 terminology for factitious disorder by proxy or Munchausen disorder by proxy.  Its definition is “falsification of physical or psychological signs or symptoms, or induction of injury or disease, in another, associated with identified deception.”  In some cases, that would describe the behavior of the alienating parent.

 

Delusional symptoms in partner of individual with delusional disorder is the DSM-5 terminology for shared psychotic disorder or folie a deux.  The definition is: “In the context of a relationship, the delusional material from the dominant partner provides content for delusional belief by the individual who may not otherwise entirely meet criteria for delusional disorder.”

 

In discussing this topic, I would say that the concept of parental alienation is clearly in DSM-5, although the actual words are not.  This is a great improvement over DSM-IV-TR, especially with the addition of the new diagnoses, child psychological abuse and child affected by parental relationship distress.

 

Dr. Bernet is currently working with PAAO to present a webinar on this subject in the next 2 – 3 weeks. We will notify you of the details shortly.

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Divorced dads ask lawmakers to pass custody bill

Posted on February 16, 2013. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Omaha resident Gary Owens pounded the table and raised his voice Wednesday as he testified before Nebraska lawmakers, demanding they pass two bills that could allow him to spend more time with his son.

A coalition of fathers, doctors and family-law attorneys is asking lawmakers to change a Nebraska parental custody law that they view as unfair to men.

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee had to open an overflow room to accommodate the advocates who testified in support for two parental custody bills.

“Men should have a right to have custody of their children just as much as their mothers,” Owens said.

Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber introduced the first measure that would create a legal presumption that both parents are entitled to at least 45 percent of the total parenting time. If the parents disagree on this, one parent would have to prove with a preponderance of evidence that parenting time should shift in favor of one parent. He said studies show children who spend less than 35 percent of their time with a parent have diminished physical and mental health.

The legislation is modeled after a measure recently passed in Minnesota but later vetoed by the governor. The bill would have increased the amount of time each parent gets with a child from 25 percent to 35 percent.

Karpisek grew up in a divorced family and is a recently divorced parent. He said he and his wife share parenting time and that his children are doing well because of it.

The second bill, introduced by Kearney Sen. Galen Hadley, would change provisions of the Parenting Act to say it is in the best interest of the child to have substantial parenting time with both parents, and that both parents should be equally involved in making decisions involving the child. This bill is modeled after Arizona legislation that went into effect this year. Ten states have provisions that say joint custody is in the best interest of the child.

“The time has passed when the sex of the parent is the determining factor,” Hadley said.

However, a legal group for Nebraskans, attorneys and advocated for domestic violence victims opposed the bills, saying they would create more family fighting, reduce child support most mothers receive and could reduce public benefits for poor households. Advocates for domestic violence victims worried women in such situations would have a harder time protecting themselves and their children.

Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln worried about the impact Karpisek’s bill would have on child support payments. Karpisek said he didn’t introduce the bill to help dads get out of paying child support.

Hasting family law attorney Chris Johnson said judges would take into account the number of days the child spends with each parent and the parents’ income to decide who should pay child support and how much should be paid.

“I don’t care about the child support,” Owens said. “Take all my money. I don’t care. I want my son.”

Omaha 13-year-old Sydney Morehouse asked the lawmakers Wednesday to pass the bills that would help her spend more time with her dad. Before the hearing, she burst into tears when she talked about how hard it is to only get to see her dad every other weekend and Wednesday nights. She hates shuffling between two households and not feeling settled at her dad’s house.

Her dad, Curt Morehouse, said he has been fighting to get more time with her since she was a baby. He also heads a father’s rights group to help divorced dads gain more time with their children.

“I’m not a bad person,” he said. “There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to see her more.”

__

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Divorced-dads-ask-lawmakers-to-pass-custody-bill-4257127.php#ixzz2L4TZcsuH

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Hostile Parenting Symposium with Linda Gottlieb and Brian Ludmer

Posted on February 16, 2013. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

symposium PAl

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Parental alienation group gets proclamation from Governor

Posted on February 16, 2013. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , |

Shonti Tager

A statewide group working to reform family law is laying down roots in Central Georgia while making moves at the State Capitol. The group, called The Georgia Parental Alienation Awareness Organization secured a proclamation from Governor Nathan Deal on Thursday.

Parental alienation is an issue that’s just beginning to gain awareness according to members of the group. It’s when one parent gets custody of a child, and through negative comments and characterizations, the child begins to form unjustified hatred and a strong dislike for their mothers or fathers. Parental alienation can make a rejected parent’s access to their children difficult and sometimes even impossible.

“It makes me very sad, it makes me mad,” said Brenda McIntyre, a Centerville woman, who is leading the charge for parental alienation awareness in Central Georgia.

The only times McIntyre regularly sees her two kids is shuffling through old photos. The self-proclaimed victim of parental alienation says after her divorce eight years ago her ex-husband began funneling his dislike for her through the couples then 5-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.

McIntyre says she was characterized as a lunatic. She was arrested twice. Once for trespassing as she tried to pick her children up from her ex-husbands home, and another time for making harassing phone calls, trying to contact her children. In both instances the charges were dropped because McIntyre says she was just exercising her custodial rights.

“It’s ridiculous,” McIntyre said.

Searching for support … McIntyre eventually became connected to the statewide group Georgia Parental Alienation Organization,
that traveled to Atlanta last week seeking a proclamation from Governor Nathan Deal to recognize parental alienation as a growing problem in the state.

Hilary Crowe, who spearheads the group out of Loganville says she asked the Governor to set aside one day as Parental Alienation Awareness Day. He gave her a week.

“By him signing the proclamation it’s that one giant leap we need to get local senators and local legislators attention,” Crowe said.

Crowe’s group hopes to create legislation giving parents equal rights in custodial matters, and they want people, specifically judges, to recognize that parental alienation is real, and it’s wrong.

“This will lead to other opportunities for parental alienation awareness in the state, and it’s a way to reach out to others in the state that may not know about parental alienation, or know that they’re experiencing it,” Crowe said.

Crowe says the group is quickly expanding as people realize they’re victims of parental alienation, but most members say the real victim’s are the children.

“You want them to have a healthy psychological disposition, and to do that you need both parents involved in their lives,” said Bill Moore, an advocate for family law reform who’s longstanding group has merged with the Georgia Parental Alienation Organization.

While the group is gaining momentum, McIntyre says she’s doing what she can. She’s created a Central Georgia chapter for parental alienation awareness, and plans to hold regular meetings.

If you or anybody you know is a victim of parental alienation and you want to make a difference, McIntyre’s says she wants to hear from you.

You can reach her at: (478) 333-6100 or brenda_west_mcintyre@yahoo.com

She has also event planned for her chapter.

April 16: Mayor Harley presenting proclamation making April 25 Parental Alienation Awareness Day in Centerville

April 20: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Bubbles of Love event at Rozar Park in Perry

April 20: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Bubbles of Love event, FBC Centerville

April 25: first meeting of Middle Georgia Regional Chapter of Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (location to be determined).

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Dr. Warshak & Wendy Archer Talk about Parental Alienation on Divorce Rescue Radio

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , , |

Widner Family Law deals with divorce. They have a radio program called “Divorce Rescue Radio” which is on every Sunday night. During this episode they spend a lot of time talking about Parental Alienation.

Dr. Richard Warshak is on this program. The show is full of great information from some very knowledgeable people. You can listen to the program clicking on the link: http://divorce-rescue-radio-talk-show

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The D-Word: Divorce Through a Child’s Eyes on Family Matters

Posted on February 6, 2013. Filed under: Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , , |

Tara Eisenhard is a child of divorce as well as an ex-wife and previous partner of a divorced dad. From these life experiences came her beliefs that a marriage shouldn’t survive at the expense of its participants, and families should evolve, not dissolve, through the separation process.

 

Tara considers herself a student of divorce and is passionate about sharing her vision with others. She’s the author of the book The D-Word: Divorce Through a Child’s Eyes and the blog Relative Evolutions. Additionally, she has written for Divorced Women OnlineSince My Divorce and Stepmom Magazine.

Click on the link to listen to the show: http://Eisenhardblogtalkradio

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LITA FORD – & NEW SONG ON FAMILY MATTERS BLOG TALK RADIO

Posted on February 6, 2013. Filed under: Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , , |

Lita Ford has a song on her new album that helps her express how she feels about family, travel, the geographical distance that makes or breaks families and in general, her new music.


Living Like a Runaway is her first CD since she began to manage life on her own. Her life changes prompted her comeback release Wicked Wonderland. Her latest work is closer to the music she wants to create.

But one track, called Mother, is a personal message to her children. Reflecting on her situation, Ford says the biggest lesson she’s learned was that: “If you ever get angry at your spouse, don’t take it out on your kids. Keep them out of it. They don’t need to know. Just let them be kids.”

In this episode you will hear the songs, MOTHER, PLAYING WITH FIRE, STILL WAITING AND GOTTA LET GO.

Click on the link to listen to Jill and Judge Michelle talk with Lita Ford: http://Litaford blogtalk

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Parental Alienation Leads Court to Call Father a “Wallet”

Posted on November 26, 2012. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , |

Lawdiva’s Blog   –   Canadian Lawyer  Georgialee Lang – Her recent story on Parental Alienation

There are many divorced fathers in Canada who believe they are nothing more than a “wallet” in their children’s eyes. It is rare however, for a judge to confirm that status in Reasons for Judgment, but that is exactly what Mr. Justice Gray did in his recent decision in Veneman v. Veneman 2012 ONSC 6324.

Mr. and Mrs. Veneman separated in 2004 after 11 years of marriage. Mr. Veneman left the family home but maintained the financial status quo and enjoyed a good relationship with the children, ages 8 and 11.

The apparent bliss of separation disappeared, however, when Mr. Veneman commenced a personal relationship with a woman he met on the internet. His ex-wife’s reaction was venomous as revealed in vulgar emails from her to Mr. Veneman where she called his girlfriend an “internet whore”.

At about the same time, Mr. Veneman decided that after two years of separation, the parties should reorganize their financial affairs. He closed the joint account that his wife and he shared since the date of separation and began paying voluntary child and spousal support.

Ms. Veneman’s campaign of abuse against Mr. Veneman was quickly adopted by his two girls who also began writing mean-spirited and disrespectful emails to their father. The children were particularly angered by their father when he brought his girlfriend to a birthday party for one of the girls hosted by the girl’s paternal grandparent. This was the first occasion they had met her, although Mr. Veneman told his children about her and their relationship.

As time went on, the girls also sent emails scolding their father for failing to provide sufficient funds to their mother. The Court found that Ms. Veneman liberally shared her views about his girlfriend and his financial contribution, all actions which eventually led to the termination of any father/daughter relationship.

Eldest daughter Maggie described her father in an email to him as “selfish, greedy, lying, back-stabbing, neglecting, blackmailing, bribing, idiotic, mean and just overall a stupid person”. This kind of poison most often originates from a parent who cannot see that their attitude is severely harming their children.

Despite the difficulties, Mr. Veneman continued to make every effort to reconnect and appease his children but all overtures were rebuffed by them.

With his older daughter approaching the age of nineteen and attending Queen’s University, Mr. Veneman brought an application to court asking for an order that his obligation to pay child support cease upon her birthday.

Several years earlier, he had agreed to an order that he pay 75% of his children’s post-secondary education costs, but he now argued that her termination of any relationship with him was cause for the court to reconsider his child support obligations.

Mr. Veneman relied on several cases where courts noted that an adult child’s unilateral and unreasoned abandonment of a parental relationship could lead to a termination of support. Other cases, however, were cited where the proposition was accepted that “estrangement, even at the sole instance of the child, should not be relevant”.

Judge Gray, however, did not need to grapple with which authority was correct as he was able to decide the case by finding that the father had not shown a material change in circumstances, which was the required test to vary a child support order. The judge held that when Mr. Veneman agreed to pay post-secondary expenses in 2009, he had no relationship with Maggie, and had no relationship now.

He declared that Mr. Veneman “was nothing more than a wallet” and said the blame for the alienation must be assumed by both parents.

It is here where I part company with the judge’s findings. It is startling to suggest that the clumsy, perhaps even insensitive, introduction of a new partner to one’s children who are 10 and 13, after two years of separation from their mother, constitutes conduct that is blameworthy.

In my view, Ms. Veneman’s immature behavior is the reason her children have ousted their father from their lives. I hope when the girls figure it out, which they will, they will clearly understand their mother’s role in a tragic family situation the judge called “irrational and avoidable”.

Interesting that if you are part of an intact family you can decide how much you want to contribute, if any, to your child’s education, but if you are separated or divorced the State decides.

Equally interesting is the absence of any reference to “parental alienation”. I guess if you don’t say it, it doesn’t exist.

 

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Japan and the rights of children: Kevin Brown from Children First

Posted on September 11, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Bullying, Japanese Family Law, Parental Alienation Syndrome, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , , |

Kevin Brown – Special Contribution

Modern Tokyo Times

My name is Kevin Brown and I am the co-founder of Children First (http://www.childrenfirst.jp), an NPO that advocates for children in Japan. Children Firsts mission “is to ensure children’s welfare and rights are the top priority for parents, policymakers and the public-at-large.” Therefore, the role of Children First applies to many factors related to the rights of children in Japan and how to relate this knowledge to appropriate bodies in order to tackle and focus on areas which need changing in order to protect children.

Children First also understands the need to raise awareness and to connect with organizations, government bodies and the general public. Therefore, our next campaign is to interact with the general public and local government offices. In order to do this I am going to ride my bike from Kumamoto to Tokyo and throughout my journey I will be raising the issue of the rights of children.

My ride will begin on September 13th and end on October 17th. Therefore, I will visit many prefectural offices during my journey and give a short presentation about the rights of children. In the past I have already visited 8 prefectural offices and given presentations about serious issues related to children. This proved beneficial and often they were unaware about serious issues related to the rights of children. Therefore, it was a great chance to interact with people of importance and to develop ties between Children First and local government bodies.

During the meetings we talked about a DVD made by the Supreme Court of Japan in 2006. The message in the DVD is quite simple. To be happy, children need both parents after divorce when both parents care about bringing up their child or children in the right way. The Supreme Court made the video but the Family Courts don’t show the video because of factors only known to them but is doesn’t make sense to ignore the Supreme Court. More surprisingly the Family Courts hide the existence of the video, therefore, the majority of parents don’t know about the importance of this video and the ones that do, are often not allowed to see it.

Another important piece of information I give to prefectural offices relates to the United Nations Convention on the Right of a Child (UNCRC). This Convention was signed and ratified by Japan and it states that children have the right to maintain contact with both parents. If the parent and child are separated for some reason then the state (Japan) must help re-establish contact with the non-custodial parent. The Family Courts also ignore this Convention, which is equivalent to a law which was ratified by the Japanese government.

Alongside this important information I also give prefectural offices a book written by Colin Jones, a law professor in Kyoto, related to the Family Court system. This book is about the Family Court system in Japan and it highlights the inadequacies of this institution. For citizens who support the rights of the child/children and both parents, then they would agree that the rulings handed down by judges are detrimental to the well-being of children in Japan. The Family Courts are not acting in the best interests of children because they are not considering all the facts and the wishes of each individual involved in each case. Family Courts need to revise their outdated laws and implement laws which are clear and which focus on human rights.  This applies to the well-being of children and all involved parties in each respective case.

Children First also talks about Parental Alienation (PA) which is common in hostile divorces and this issue is very serious in Japan because of the inadequate legal system. This is when one parent says something bad to the child/children about the other parent in order break the bond that the other parent had and. It is clear that this manipulation is very damaging to all children who face this serious issue. According to child psychology experts there are different degrees of PA ranging from mild to severe. The main point being, PA is bad for children irrespective of the degree. Recently Brazil passed a law making PA a crime and it would be great if more countries did the same thing because this is a huge step in the right direction.

Another important area that Children First gives to prefectural offices is a “Did you know” hand out about statistics in Japan. “DID YOU KNOW: Every 3 minutes a child loses contact with one parent because of divorce…Every 7 minutes a child is a victim of school bullying…Every 12 minutes a case of child abuse is reported to protective services…Every week at least one child dies as the result of abuse.”

This is a great way to raise awareness quickly and not only is it interactive and easily understood but it is also designed to shake up a system which needs to make major changes, in order to protect children from abuse.

Every year around 160,000 children lose contact with one parent in Japan. However, to make matters worse Japan is not a good place for children who get caught up in divorce when one parent decides to control and alienate the child/children from the left behind parent. Government officials, bureaucrats, educators, and parents need to do more to make Japan a better place for all children and this is where Children First wants to help.

You can help Children First (Kevin Brown) raise awareness by following me on Facebook during my journey. Therefore, people can communicate with me through Facebook, share links with your friends and spread the word because together we can make a difference.

Children First cares for all children irrespective of race and gender because our goal is to bring more “light” to children who have been neglected and had their rights violated.

Please follow on http://www.facebook.com/oyako (Joint Custody in Japan) and Children First at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Children-First-Japan/115396388532379. Also, please visit Children First website at http://www.childrenfirst.jp/ for more information and how you can get involved and help in this important area.

Sincerely, Kevin Brown (Children First http://www.childrenfirst.jp/)

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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Japan Times に掲載された記事「Japan’s ‘silent tsunami’ severs parental ties, wrecks children’s lives」のケビン・ブラウンさんによる文章の日本語訳です。

Posted on September 4, 2011. Filed under: Divorce, Japanese Family Law, Parental Alienation Syndrome, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , |

Japan Times 2011年8月30日(火)
永田町へのホットライン

次期首相へ

私は、子供の問題に焦点を当てたNPO「Children First」(childrenfirst.jp)の、共同設立者です。
3分毎に新たな子どもが親の離婚によって両親の片方から断絶されています。 7分 毎に新たな子どもが学校いじめの犠牲者になっています。 12分毎に児童虐待に関する新たなケースが保護施設に報告されています。 毎週、少なくとも1 人の子供がこうした児童虐待の結果として死んでいます。

「Children First」は、これらの問題と子供に影響のあることについての他の問題を克服するために活動しています。 しかし、私たちだけでは実現できません。日本が子供にとってより良い場所になるためには、国会議員や政策立案者の助けが必要です。

ほとんどの人々がいじめと虐待の存在に気付いています。これらの2つの問題はしば しば新聞に掲載されます。 しかし、私や多く の他の親達が更に憂慮すべきだと考える問題は、3分毎に子どもの離婚後の片方の親との連絡が絶えてしまうということです。

3月11日に1万6000人以上が死にました。その他に5,000が行方不明になっています。数百ないし何千人もの子供が当日、少なくとも片方の親を失いました。
3月11日以 来、それとは別に更に8万2000人以上の子供が両親の離婚のために片方の親からの連絡を失っています。

これは、日本中に癌のように広まっている静かな悲劇です。 それによって、子ども達は彼らの最大限の可能性を広げることができません。それは家 族と家族重視の価値観を滅ぼしています。それは子どもを、将来についての混乱の最中に放り出したままにし、そして普通の生活を送れる可能性を小さくします。 何組かの親子は想像を絶する深 い悲しみの中に取り残されます。これは多く の人々が知らない静かな津波です。 家裁と日本の法システムが、この悲劇が続くことを許しているのです。

2006年に最高裁判所は、「子どもを持つどんなカップルも、離れて暮らす場合について考えなければならない」というタイトルのDVDを作りました。驚いたことに、家裁はこのビデオを両親に見せません。かなり正反対であることに、彼らはこのDVDの存在を隠します。そして家裁裁判官は、子供が幸福になるためには両方の両親が必要であるとするDVDのメッセージに直接的に反対の判決を下します。家裁弁護士の中にはこのビデオが存在することに気づかない人も います。

今、平均的なケースでは、親はその子どもと共に月に4時間の交流が出来ます。これは子どもの人生に関わったり、その人生に変化を与えることがほとんどできないほど、少ない時間です。親の中には、子どもの保護監督権のない親と子どもとが一度は持っていた親子関係を破壊するために、「親の疎外」を行う人もいます。

国連児童憲章(UNCRC)によると、子どもは両方の両親との関係を持つ権利を与えられます。もし何らかの理由で親子が離れて暮らす場合には、州(state:日本)は離れて暮らす親子の交流を回復しなければなりません。もちろん、これは決して行われません。
そういうわけで、家裁は二度のミスを犯しています。最高裁判所DVDのアドバイスに従いませんし、彼らはUNCRCを無視 します。(UNCRCは法律相当です)。

私は、日本中の裁判官の判決を見直して、悪い判決をする裁判官を取り除く時期であると思います。私は、裁判官は時々ケース・ファイル(裁判資料?)を見てさえいなく、また裁判の準備ができていないと、弁護士に言われました。悪い裁判官はその椅子から退ける必要があります。

首相、私は、悪い裁判官を免職し、子どもには両方の両親との長くて有意義な関係があるのだという法案を可決するために、必要な措置を取るようお願いしています。加えて私は、子どもを虐待といじめから守るためにより役立つ法案を可決して、虐待といじめを報告するためのより良い政策を実施して欲しいと思います。教師と官僚は、虐待といじめを防止するキーです。効果をあげるために必要な手段を彼らに与えることを願っています。

現在、私は裁判を抱えていますが、その内容はすぐに変わるべきです。9月13日に、裁判官は離婚と親権に関する判決を出すでしょう。前例の通りであるならば、私は100%負けるでしょう。私は、私の所轄裁判所のある熊本から東京の最高裁判所まで、自転車に乗って行くことを計画しています。私は家族法を変えることを要求するつもりです。私は道中、県庁に寄って知事達からの支持を集めるつもりです。私はそのために8週間の休暇を取りました。「Children First」の日本のフェイスブックページ(http://www.facebook.com/pages/Children-First-Japan/115396388532379)や、「共同親権」の日本のフェースブックページ(http://www.facebook.com/oyako)で、私の計画の経過を見守ることができます。そしてまた、私のブログ「Children First Japan」(https://kwbrow2.wordpress.com)で、私の旅行に関する詳しい情報が得られます。

ケビン・ブラウン
名古屋

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Cycling from Kumamoto to Tokyo to Raise Awareness about Child Rights

Posted on July 31, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention, Human Rights, Japanese Family Law, Parental Alienation Syndrome, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I have made some modifications to my cycling trip.  I have decided to start in Kumamoto on the 13th of September. I picked this day because the judge will rule on my case on the 13th. I was expecting the ruling much earlier. As a result I thought it would be best to delay my start. It seems kind of symbolic to start in Kumamoto. I have a had to make numerous trips to Kumamoto for court.   I can pick up my ruling on the 13th and then start cycling. It would be nice if I could get press or left behind parents to see me off on the 13th. If you don’t have plans feel free to meet me at the Kumamoto Family Court on the 13th of September.

I am still planning to handout flyers along the way. I am still planning on stopping  at governors offices, court houses, and international schools. Due to my late start I may not have time to cycle all the way to Hokkaido. I will play it by ear.  There are numerous left behind parents who  can support me from Kumamoto to Tokyo but much less support exists between Tokyo and Hokkaido.  I am working with other left behind parents now to pin down the exact days I will be in Saga, Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Otsu, Gifu, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Yokohama, and Tokyo.  I will be making updates on the Joint Custody in Japan Facebook page and the Children First Facebook page as well as my Facebook page. Please check one of these places every week or so.

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Mothers Against Parental Alienation – video with Jill Egizii (Illinois alderman)

Posted on February 2, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Video | Tags: , , |

Jill Egizii is and alderman in Illinois. She has done great work with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. She hosts a show called “Life without limits”, showing that kids with disabilities can still lead productive lives. She is divorced and she has 4 kids and she has been alienated from all of them. She gives advice to those who are experiencing parental alienation. She has worked with Alec Baldwin to change family and divorce law in Illinois. She believes a child has the right to both parents. Please click the link and watch the video.

Jill Egizii video

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International Child Abduction Testimony by Ernie Allen (2009)

Posted on January 24, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , , |

 

ERNIE ALLEN, President & Chief Executive Officer for THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN testifies in Washington, D.C. before the TOM LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION about “INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION AND PARENTAL ACCESS”

December 2, 2009

According to the latest research from the Department of Justice, there are more than 200,000 family abductions per year.  In these situations, a non-custodial relative abducts a child from his or her custodial parent.  This is a crime under both state and federal law.  Family-abducted children suffer extreme emotional abuse, ranging from lack of identity to grief over the loss of a parent.  In many instances the abductor tells the child that the left-behind-parent is dead or no longer wants the child. Abductors frequently move the child from city to city, or take the child to another country, making it difficult for law enforcement and the searching parent to locate and recover the child.

To help illustrate the scope of the problem of international child abduction, I’d like to share some additional statistics with you.  NCMEC is currently working cases involving 1,214 children who were abducted by a non-custodial parent from the United States to a foreign country. The majority of these children were taken to the following countries: Mexico (533 children); Japan (54 children); India (32 children); Egypt (30 children); the United Kingdom (24 children); and Canada (23 children).

To read Mr. Allen’s full testimony please click on the link below.

Ernie Allen testimony

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U.S. Government Initiatives to Address Children’s Rights Issues by Tony Del Vecchio

Posted on January 23, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Introduction

The government of the United States is deeply concerned about the issues of international parental child abduction and child custody/visitation with respect to its close friend and ally, Japan. Due to its sole-parent child custody system, its reluctance to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction[1], and the fact that it has never returned a single child abducted from abroad to his or her rightful home, Japan has earned an international reputation as a safe haven for kidnappers. Over the past several years, U.S. lawmakers have begun making concerted efforts to end the tragic situations affecting a great many American families due to Japan’s antiquated family law system and its inexplicable disregard for international norms.

The U.S. State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues states there are 100 active cases involving 140 American children who have been abducted from the U.S.A. and who are now being held in Japan in violation of American law.[2] Many of the Japanese nationals guilty of these abductions have court orders against them and are subject to arrest by the F.B.I. and prosecution by federal courts for kidnapping should they again set foot on U.S. soil.[3] In the United States and most advanced nations child abduction is an extremely serious crime. Japan lags far behind other developed countries by failing to recognize this common sense, international consensus and by not legislating child abduction as a punishable criminal offense.

In addition, it is estimated that at least 3,200 American children residing in Japan are being denied access to one of their parents post-divorce.[4] This is due to the Japanese child custody system that awards shin ken (parental rights) to only one parent upon divorce and also severely limits child access to the other parent thereafter. In the case of international marriages, foreign parents are greatly disadvantaged in Japanese courts,[5] and Japanese nationals almost invariably receive sole parental rights. Once shin ken is granted to one parent, the other has no further legal rights with regard to his or her child’s upbringing, and the shin ken holder may deny that other parent access to the child at his or her whim. Since no specific provision for visitation exists under Japanese statute, and since Japanese courts in any event lack any real enforcement powers, the left-behind parent – i.e., the parent without parental rights – is at the mercy of his or her former Japanese spouse. Child visitation is frequently denied outright or severely curtailed, and in any event is always subject to the caprice of the shin ken holder.

These two issues – international parental child abduction and child custody/visitation – are beginning to strain the friendly relations the United States and Japan have enjoyed since the end of World War II. In response to the seriousness of this situation, the U.S. House of Representatives has recently begun taking steps to address what the United States considers to be gross violations of the human rights of American children and their parents by the Japanese nation.

H.Res. 1326 (House Resolution 1326

H.Res. 1326[6] is a non-binding resolution approved on September 29, 2010, by a vote of 416 to 1 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution 1) “condemns the abduction and retention” of American children by Japanese nationals and demands their repatriation, 2) calls upon Japan to create enforceable laws that guarantee American parents the right to visitation with their children, and 3) urges Japan to accede to the Hague Convention so that established legal mechanisms can be relied upon to resolve custody disputes arising from the dissolution of international marriages. H.Res. 1326 reflects the overwhelming feeling among the American public and its lawmakers that Japan should immediately address these very serious issues for several reasons.

First, removing American citizens from their domiciles in the United States without the consent of the American parents is, as the resolution states, “a violation of their human rights and international law.” As a friend and ally of the United States, Japan should act immediately to end this tragic injustice and restore the family relationships its policies have damaged or destroyed, and thenceforth ensure that the rule of law applies in a reciprocal fashion between the two countries.

Additionally, Japan is viewed as an outlier among the community of advanced nations for not providing for joint custody or enforceable child visitation following divorce. The end result of these policies is frequently the American parent’s complete loss of access to his or her child. Essential family bonds are thus traumatically severed, and the children affected by this tragedy often have to contend with the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a psychological condition which can result in depression; loss of community; loss of stability, security, and trust; excessive fearfulness, even of ordinary occurrences; loneliness; anger; helplessness; disruption in identity formation; and fear of abandonment.[7]

Finally, Japan is currently the only G-7 country that has not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, adopted thirty years ago in 1980. This multilateral treaty, in which 82 countries participate, provides a legal means to effect the expeditious repatriation of children abducted from their domiciles in their home countries, termed in the treaty the child’s “place of habitual residence.” Japan’s resistance to becoming a signatory to the convention and its oft-repeated claims that it is “studying” or “considering” the issue are adversely affecting the country’s diplomatic and economic relations with its strategic allies and important trade partners. Over the past year, through a series of démarches, or diplomatic initiatives, America has joined with 11 other nations plus the European Union to pressure Japan to accede to the treaty and also to resolve outstanding child custody and visitation issues.[8] These démarches are evidence of the increasing frustration the global community now feels over Japan’s lack of progress with respect to this important human rights issue.

H.R. 3240 – The International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009

H.R. 3240, entitled The International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009[9], is a bipartisan bill pending before the U.S. House of Representatives that specifically addresses the joint problems of international parental child abduction and loss of child custody/visitation under the Japanese legal system. If approved by the House, H.R. 3240 would, as a federal statute, have the force of law, and would require specific action on the part of the U.S. government to resolve these issues. Among other things, H.R. 3240 would establish an Office of International Child Abductions in the U.S. Department of State and provide for punitive measures for countries deemed to have exhibited a “pattern of non-cooperation” with respect to the protection of children’s rights.

As explained in one summary of the proposed bill,[10] H.R. 3240 would create an Ambassador at Large for International Child Abductions whose primary responsibilities would be to:

1) promote measures to prevent the international abduction of children from the United States;

(2) advocate on behalf of abducted children whose habitual residence is the United States;

(3) assist left-behind parents in the resolution of abduction or refusal of access cases; and

(4) advance mechanisms to prevent and resolve cases of international child abduction.

In addition, the act would direct the President of the United States to:

(1) annually review the status of unresolved cases in each foreign country to determine whether the government has engaged in a pattern of non-cooperation, and if so, designate such country as a Country With a Pattern of Non-cooperation;

(2) notify the appropriate congressional committees of such designation; and

(3) take specified presidential or commensurate actions to bring about a cessation of non-cooperation.

Thus, passage of H.R. 3240 in the House will radically alter the friendly and cooperative relationship America and Japan have traditionally enjoyed, absent a sincere effort on Japan’s part to resolve the fundamental human rights issues the bill addresses. It is hoped that Japan will voluntarily do the right thing and, as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell cautions, not “wait until the situation has become so tense and so difficult that it appears that Japan is only responding to pressure from the United States.”[11]

[1] see http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.text&cid=24

[2] see http://travel.state.gov/abduction/country/country_5227.html

[3] e.g., http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/parent/ryoko-uchiyama/view

[4] see http://www.iapcr.org/japan-stats/

[5] see http://travel.state.gov/abduction/country/country_501.html

[6] see http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc111/hr1326_eh.xml

[7] see “Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse” by Nancy Faulkner, Ph.D. presented to the United Nations Convention on Child Rights in Special Session, June 9, 1999, at http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/unreport.htm

[8] see http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20101022-71.html

[9] see http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-3240

[10] see http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_HR_3240.html

[11] see http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2010/10/149051.htm

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Joint Custody/Parental Alienation Demo and Symposium

Posted on January 20, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Saturday July 31st, (“中部・共同親権法制化運動の会”)”Chubu Joint Custody Association for the legislation of joint nurture” sponsored a demo in Nagoya followed by a symposium related to Parental Abduction, Joint Custody, and Parental Alienation. Five fathers spoke at the symposium after the demo. Goto-sensei was the keynote speaker at the symposium. NHK and the Chunichi shimbun were at the symposium and plan to do stories on the issue.

Goto-sensei had several interesting points. She said, there are not many lawyers in Japan that are experienced and willing to fight the unjust Japanese Court system. Goto-sensei talked about a case that she worked on for 3 years. She represented the father and after a 3 year battle custody was awarded to him but transferring physical custody to the father was a problem. The court tried to assist with this two different times but each time it failed. After the second failure the court suggested that Goto and the father give up. Hence, as most of us know, the court has no real power.

Goto said things use to be different 30 years ago. Men often got custody but sometime in the 1990′s a feminist movement took place and women suddenly started gaining power especially in custody cases.

Goto also said, if you are a good person and follow the Japanese way your chances of being abused by the system are great. Goto suggested you fight in court that way judges and courts will know there is a problem. If you don’t try and fight you will never win. “Fight the system” was her biggest message of the day. But, in the same breath Goto-sensei said there are only 5 aggressive lawyers in Japan who are willing to fight the system. She said the other lawyers are weak or inexperienced and don’t want to cause trouble. So if you read between the lines, it is almost impossible to hire an aggressive lawyer who will fight for the best interests of the child.

If you have time watch the short video below.

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Abducted Child Found after 26 Years

Posted on January 20, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

Despite the harm Nancy Fiedler inflicted on her daughter and her ex-husband and his family, I predict her punishment will not fit the crime. If this were a “stranger” abduction, there is no doubt of severe retribution, however, the irony is that the true victim, Eva, will likely support and defend her mother.

According to Georgialee Lang (lawyer), there is no reason to believe that Nancy Fiedler will discontinue her accusations of abuse against Greg Fiedler after living a large part of her life based on this theme. In Ms. Lang’s experience, women like Nancy Fiedler rarely have insight into their destructive behavior. She likely casts herself in the role of heroine, after all, she saved her daughter.

To read the full article click on the link. Lawdiva blog

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