Divorce and other family law matters are emotional and hard for everyone involved. Divorce shakes the foundation of the family and when children are involved, an already emotional situation can become almost unbearable. When child custody and visitation issues are addressed, New Jersey courts are obligated to have the child’s best interests in mind. Through the turmoil and hardship of divorce, parents sometimes forget what is important and have their own issues at the forefront of their minds. Unfortunately, a parent may use the children as a pawn against the other party. Other times, parents may actively try to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent in order to win custody cases and make visitation difficult or impossible. This situation is called parental alienation. Some professionals consider this manipulation child abuse and abusive behavior. Parental alienation has two parts to consider.
Signs of parental alienation
Knowing the signs of parental alienation can protect your familial relationship. Parental alienation manifests itself in small and large gestures. Aggressive behavior and unreasonable anxiety in the face of a once established, bonded familial relationship is a sign of possible parental alienation. Other times, larger gestures demonstrate signs of parental alienation. If a child suddenly makes visitation impossible through negative physical displays, a child may be the victim of parental alienation. Some severe cases of parental alienation can include a child lying about sexual or other physical abuse from the rejected parent, opening up legal cases and a DYFS inquiry.
Parental alienation is controversial
Parental alienation is a very controversial topic for New Jersey courts and the scientific community at large. Some mental health professionals continue to write articles in favor of making parental alienation a valid medical disorder called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Through professional journals, including American Journal of Forensic Psychology and Family Law Quarterly, medical and legal professionals continue to push for the scientific and legal community to acknowledge PAS and initiate guidelines to recognize and combat the issue. At the moment, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association do not recognize parental alienation syndrome as a valid medical disorder. PAS is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
New Jersey courts must act on facts
Courts are obligated to act on the facts of a case. Expert testimony on Parental Alienation Syndrome may be inadmissible in New Jersey courts based on the fact that PAS is not a valid disorder in the scientific community. At the discretion of the judge, signs of parental alienation still raise attention in child custody cases. Parental alienation is a very complicated issue to address in court. Judges must act according to the law. If the court hears a child claim abuse or neglect, they must act. Without evidence, claims can be deflected, complicating the process. The non-custodial parent can easily assert that abuse claims were maliciously manufactured through parental alienation. With evidence of a heated, troubled relationship, the claim of parental alienation is even more valid, even when it is false. Without a definition from an accredited institution, guidelines to recognize the signs, and a process to remedy the problem, New Jersey judges are at a major disadvantage combatting this issue without evidence.
Contact a New Jersey law firm to combat parental alienation
If you are involved in an emotional divorce case and you think you may be the victim of parental alienation, contact Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC today. You have worked hard to establish a positive and fruitful relationship with your child and you should not be victimized. We understand how important a familial relationship is to the parent and the child. We will use all legal means to convince the court to intervene and possibly rule against the responsible party. We will work vigorously to protect you and your family. Call Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.
48 Sparta Avenue
Sparta, NJ 07871