Even though PAS may not be universally recognized as science, “parental alienation” is a term frequently used in Court to describe systematic and specific actions of one parent intended to alienate a minor child from the other parent. Judges across the country approach this subject very differently with some dismissing the argument even when presented by a medical expert while other Judges appear open if not to the syndrome then at least to the idea of “parental alienation.” It is important to discuss with your family law attorney how your Judge may react to allegations of parental alienation whether being presented by you or the other parent. Keep in mind that some parents raise allegations parental alienation whenever they have been accused of abuse or when they feel they are not receiving adequate visitation. That being said isolation of a minor child from a non-custodial parent does give ample opportunity for a primary caregiver to unduly influence an impressionable minor child regardless of age.
Signs of parental alienation
Case Law on “PAS” and “Parental Alienation”
State v. Fuller, 160 N.C.App. 250 (N.C.App. 2003)
Allowed expert testimony of PAS without ruling on its admissibility or validity as a scientific theory.
C.J.L. v. M.W.B, 879 So.2d 1169 (Ala.Civ.App. 2003) (Dicta)
PAS was not generally accepted in the scientific community.
Snyder v. Cedar, 2006 Conn. Super. LEXIS 520 (2006)
PAS did not have “any scientific basis” and that the syndrome was not part of credible scientific studies.
People v. Fortin, 705 N.Y.S.2d 611 (N.Y. Crim. Ct. 2000)
Testimony of expert on PAS was rejected, holding that it was not shown to be a theory generally accepted in the scientific community and thus was inadmissible.
Kilgore v. Boyd, 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, FL, Case No. 94-7473, 733 So.2d 546 (Fla.2d DCA 2000); Boyd v. Kilgore, 773 So.2d 546 (Fla.3d DCA 2000)
Court ruled PAS has gained general acceptance in the scientific community and thereby satisfies the Frye test criteria for admissibility.
Barton v. Hirshberg, 767 A.2d 874, 891 (Md.App 2001)
The Court found the child was at risk for parental alienation syndrome and upheld the lower court decision to award joint custody.
In re Marriage of Kajazovic, 2002 WL 575713 (Iowa Ct.App. Mar. 13, 2002)
The court overturned the lower court’s decision to award an abusive father custody of the child based in part on his attempts to alienate the child from the mother.
Proving Parental Alienation
Tortious Interference with Custody Rights
This is essentially a civil action for money owed due to harm to a parent who is deprived access to their child or children. A related cause of action could also potentially be alleged for Negligent or Intentional Inflection of Emotional Distress. A good starting point for research on this issue includes Recognition and Application of Common Law Action for Tortious Interference with Parental Rights, 103 A.L.R.6th 461 (2015) and, for North Carolina specifically, Hinton-Lynch v. Frierson, 2016 N.C. App. 182, 716 S.E.2d 440 (unpublished 2011).
10/11/2017 08:42:24 am
I have some questions about parental alienation. My son's father says we don't need a custody agreement but he is not allowing me contact with my son
10/11/2017 02:00:43 pm
If the other parent refuses to let you see your child, then it is time to file a court action for custody or at least visitation. The longer you wait to file the more it looks like you don't care about not seeing your son.
2/21/2018 12:09:09 pm
I wish I had found this blog sooner! My husband's ex has turned his daughter against him. He has not seen her in three years. She turned 18 in December and now wants to file an action for adult adoption by her stepfather. My husband pays child support. Do we have to file a motion to terminate child support in June after she graduates? If she is adopted by her stepfather before June, is my husband still obligated to pay support?
2/21/2018 12:22:23 pm
You would need to read the child support order to see if it states child support automatically terminates upon graduation. If the payor is under wage garnishment this may require filing a motion to terminate or may simply take a phone call to your local child support caseworker.
10/1/2020 10:55:47 am
Thanks for your site! Here are possibly more cases worth posting!
10/15/2021 02:28:17 am
I have had a healthy relationship with my 15 and 11 year old sons their entire life. During custody battle they were about 10 and 6 when it began and a year later as a result of a judge seeing my kids were coached and my ex admitting she kept them from me because I wasn't paying her any money, I was officially granted joint custody Week on/Week off schedule. My kids mother lets them do as they wish with minimal accountability for behavior and although they are well behaved this has caused them to want to spend more time there. I will not paint myself to be the perfect father nor blatantly trash my ex. We have sparsely kept the court order and the main things we have never deviated from was child support and schedule. Recently my ex texted me asking to keep the boys for a dental appt but in reality she was filing a complaint with DSS right before my family vacation with the boys. She and the boys alleged I verbally abused the kids, and inappropriately disciplined them with militaristic type tactics. The incidents they brought up were from over 2 years ago and in no way as egregious as they made them out to be. I spent 15 years in the US Marines, and 5 years as a police officer and law enforcement in my family still. I do not put my hands on my boys but will remind them that if they're not going to be smart then they're going to be strong and would have them workout for a reasonable amount of time less than their gym class in school. This practice has caused them to be respectful and have honor roll consistently. This is what they alleged as abuse. DSS came and found their claim to be unsubstantiated and I spent a lot of money on representation that was in the end not needed because my ex told the clerk in court that she no longer wished to proceed and no explanation at all left me standing there humiliated by these allegations, out a lot of money and she was scott free. NOW she has returned to this as a civil matter, she has had my older son record me having conversations and scolding him rightfully so for taking out of context our household business and taking it to his mother within the narrative they wish to portray. I have done nothing that would remotely rise to any level of abuse and I have loved and shown up for my sons their entire life. Now I am confronted with this new case and no money to defend myself. furthermore my ex, her lawyer, a counselor, and who knows who else has spoken with my boys and I have not even been given a number for me to follow up with the counselor. The boys do admit that the abuse allegations are a lie and appear to be only playing to their mother's demands. This is so evident that when they are with me they do break character and lovingly interact with me and play with kids in the neighborhood. If I am broke, how can I fight this?
10/15/2021 08:32:47 am
Not having a lawyer will put you at a serious disadvantage- so much so it may cause you to lose your case. I would at least meet with a local attorney for a consult and see if they can coach you on how to represent yourself in court without a lawyer and what is persuasive to your local judges.
5/29/2022 09:11:28 am
I have so much documentation of my ex alienating my daughters. Our oldest is 19, and our youngest is12. He does everything on the list here, and he and his wife disparage me and my husband continuously. Normal parenting (rules & appropriate non-physical discipline) has been turned into something sinister. Her attitude toward me changed drastically and it seems as though his goal is to erase me completely. I have texts where he and his wife say vile things about me, my husband, our home, county where we live, and our normal decisions directly to my daughter. Surely something can be done. She refuses to speak to a counselor because he says I think she’s the problem and that’s the only reason I want her to go. Please help.
5/29/2022 09:25:32 am
If there is already a court order on custody you should speak with an attorney in that county about filing a motion to modify that order.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.