Parental alienation syndrome is a serious problem in some child custody cases. Parental alienation is a situation where one parent believes that the other has turned his or her children against him or her as a result of the custodial parent's indoctrination and manipulation. Parents who believe their children are becoming alienated from them may accuse the other of telling their children lies or taking actions to make the child reject the noncustodial parent.
Not all accusations of parental alienation are true, but it's vital that the court takes them seriously. Children who suffer this abuse long enough could reject the parents who aren't in their lives and struggle with the ability to accept them back into their lives if the parental alienation is discovered. Many children in that position end up needing therapy to overcome the lies and dishonesty they've faced.
There is a risk of individuals using claims of parental alienation syndrome (PAS) to get their children from a parent who rightfully won custody in court. Allegations of abuse or alienation send up a red flag that the court has to take into consideration immediately. The court do, however, need to take steps to address abuse first, since it has an immediate, and possibly physically or mentally harmful, effect on the child. Alienating a child is a form of emotional abuse, so it must also be addressed as quickly as possible once a child is not in physical danger.
Parental alienation often comes up in complicated custody situations. If you or your spouse indicate that parental alienation may be present in your case, it's a good idea to look into your legal options quickly. Our website has more information.