FAQs About Parental Alienation Syndrome

Jeff in Pennsylvania

My ex-wife has turned my 16 year old son and 15 year old daughter against me. She has no idea about how much harm she is causing them.  All their lives she has allowed them to decide when/if they visit to the point where I haven’t seen them now for over two years.  When they were young they couldn’t wait for me to get there on Friday evenings and would cry when I would take them back to their Mothers on Sunday evening.

As my children got older they began to realize that it was upsetting to their Mother when they would visit with me.  They acted withdrawn and quiet until we got about a block from their Mothers home and then it was like someone was flicking a light switch.  All of the sudden there were smiles and laughter until Sunday evening when I had to take them back.

I think about them every day and try to call them.  Most of the time now they don’t even answer the phone.  I miss them and think about them every minute and tell them so whenever I have the opportunity.

I pay child support in the amount of $870 a month and since we separated in 1994 have never been late or behind on any payments.  It seems as if the courts here in Pennsylvania are only concerned about the welfare of the children when it comes to money.  The couldn’t be any less concerned about the children’s mental health or relationship with the non-custodial parent.

The age of children often plays a significant role in decisions made by a Judge. As kids get older the family law Judge more often than not overly-empowers children to make decisions which are not in their best interest ( i.e. To decide to not have a relationship with their non-custodial parent ).

To fix the problem it would be best to go to court with a motion requesting counseling for you and the children [  to ” re-bond ”  ] and to also help enforce the court’s previous order for the children to have a father in their life. The therapy will explore the issues preventing the time sharing and give the court an impartial resource/expert for future guidance and recommendations.

The court order should allow you to select any mental health professional licensed to provide the services ( and if need be, at your expense.) It is very important that YOU be able to select the therapist.

Lastly, you also want the court order to allow the therapist to give his or her recommendations to the court, pertaining to anything that could be in the best interest of the children. This last part would give you an impartial MHP that could alter the circumstances for time sharing, including make-up visitation.


Tim in Cleveland,

My ex- wife will not let me see my kids,  she ignores order after order, and she never encourages the children to get out or does she care too!   We have been doing this for two years now and she just gets more defiant,  The judge agrees there is alienation going on but refuses to act.   My kids, used want to see me, they would run to me, they would talk to me,  NOW they just tell me that I am not their DAD, to leave them alone, that I was never therefor them.

WE have filed contempt again for about the 10th time basically over the same issue>    we will be going back mid december.

Any suggestions or IDEAS???

Since the Judge has already acknowledged that PA is a real problem in your case, it’s time to give the Judge a solution to the problem. You need to file a motion to ask the kids to be admitted to a program that provides treatment for children that are severely alienated, this motion needs to include the admittance paperwork to an inpatient treatment facility. As a consequence of the mothers alienating behavior, you should ask the Judge to sanction the mother to pay for the majority of the cost of treatment, if not all the cost of treatment ( since she created the obstruction of the court order for time sharing ), plus reimbursed
legal fees to enforce the court order.


Glen in Dallas

Recently, when the subject of the divorce was brought up by my kids, one child said to the other “Do you know who wanted the divorce?  It was Daddy.”  Since I hadn’t filed, and in fact pleaded with their mother to reject the idea of the divorce, I was shocked to hear this coming from my child.  I asked her to elaborate on what she was told and she said, “Mommy said that you chose the divorce, that she tore up the papers, and you still wanted the divorce.”  At this point, since the complete opposite was the truth, I explained that is was Mommy that wanted it, that I tried to stop it, but she wanted it anyway.   I also told her that I have proof (decree), and that in the future when Mommy and Daddy disagree, that she should always seek the truth.

Of course, after that weekend, they told their mother what I had said.  The next time I picked up my kids, while in front of their mother, the youngest said “Daddy, Mommy told us that you lied to us.”  I said nothing in front of them, but later when I had them alone, I told them “Kids.  Both Mommy and Daddy love you.  And everything is going to be ok.  Mommy and Daddy will work this out, but I want you to know that I will never, NEVER lie to you.”  Before I even finished my thought, both of them yelled “But Daddy!  You DID lie to us.”  I kept saying “No, I didn’t” But the older one kept asking me why I lied to her.

Obviously, there’s a concerted effort by the mother to destroy my character.  The kids will begin, if they haven’t already, not trusting what I say.   I feel helpless, and especially since I have very little time with them in the first place, my influence over them is significantly less than that of the mother’s.  It might not be so hard if the kids were older, because they’d more easily see through to the truth.  But they are 4 and 7 and very impressionable.  I’m being the noble one here and never devaluing their mother to them.

Your wife may be the main problem causing the alienation but you are also hurting your own case by discussing court room and adult issues with your children. You need someone ( i.e. a consultant ) to help you learn where to draw boundaries on what to say and not say to your kids and former spouse. A Judge will find fault with you for poor parenting skills. One global solution is to file a motion to retain the services of a parenting coordinator that understands parental alienation issues …  and can make recommendations to the court that could alter the path of this alienation.

Finding the right professionals is probably the number one problem in every family law case – especially high conflict cases involving parental alienation.


Mike in Indianapolis

Mr. Goldberg, I have suffered from P.A.S for nine years. My ex-wife was given a ten year protective order from a civil judge and added my two sons to it. I tried to appoint a child advocate to the case but that has not helped much she has been sick and does not tell me much except the boys do not want to see me. I live close to them so it case they change their minds and want to visit they could, but my ex- has brain washed them to fear me. I do not know why? I have never talked bad about her, hit her or the kids! I just went to court last Monday because I sent my older son a birthday card in Jan. to his college dorm (instead of to her dad’s house where I have sent everything for the past nine years) and in Sept. he and his mother filed a contempt charge against me. I saw him for the first time in nine years in court.  He did not look (at me) or sound like the same 10 year old I knew. He repeated everything to the judge as she did. I do not even know why she fears me?  I was the person to file back in 1996. I know she did not want the divorce but I still wanted the boys in my life. At this point I have spend thousands of dollars in court. My problem is the court appointed advocate will not help me and I can not seem to have her removed. Is their any recourse? Are there support groups to help my grieving?  – Heart broken in Indy

Depending on the court orders, if you pay support and or have Joint Legal Custody, you could make a strong argument to have a motion grant you the right to have conjoint counseling with the children ( but here again ), it is very important that you ask the court to let YOU make the selection of any licensed doctor. It’s critical to get the right doctors providing treatment for these kind of cases. Only with the opinion of a MHP can you have a chance of persuading a Judge to give the child at least a hope of having a healthy relationship with both parents.

James in New Hampshire,

My children are refusing to speak to me on webcam. We have Court ordered webcam visitations 5 times a week for 30 minutes each. My kids are 7 and 4 years old respectively. They moved away two years ago in an embittered custody move away battle. We all used to enjoy telling stories during webcam and that filled the 30 minutes. Suddenly, while visitating their maternal grandparent about 7 weeks ago and after the eldest (my son) started saying “Can I go now?” and then would leave early. Then my daughter the 4 year old started doing the same. Now webcam visitations are only several minutes long with the kids going as far as saying “I’m bored, can I go now?” right from the start, and then simply saying “bye!” and leaving no matter what I say. They no longer want to hear stories, and tell me nothing of themselves. How can I make a case of parental alienation in this case?


Psychological evaluations done by the right experts in PA will ferret out the truth. Solutions include the help of Parenting Coordinators, and MHP’s to provide conjoint counseling for you and the children. Although it’s my preference to make recommendations AFTER I see the court orders and case records, I want to at least show a path towards a light at the end of the tunnel. Every case is unique and needs to take into account circumstances that are operating which could alter the medical legal strategy for litigation, but it’s also a fact that without court intervention there is little that can be done to rescue a child from an alienating parent ( child abuser ), so we must learn how to use the legal system in a way that builds a case to change things and to help put the child’s needs first.


Joseph Goldberg is the Founder and Principal of Goldberg & Associates.

Mr Goldberg is a Medical-Legal Consultant for Family Law Attorney’s and Targeted Parents only. His consulting work is specific to cases that involve Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome. He is a guest speaker talking about parental alienation on Radio Shows in the U. S. and Canada. During the first 6 months of 2007, he had consulted in more than 25 cases.

Mr. Goldberg is the organizer of The Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome.
March 27th – 29th at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.
More information at www.cspas.ca


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