Alienation Expert: ‘Change Coming’ To Child Custody Decisions

parental alienation expert Richard WarshakBy Matt Allen


Dr. Richard Warshak is widely known as one of the world’s leading parental alienation experts.

So when he says change is coming to an adversarial family law system that promotes child custody disputes, people listen.

In a column appearing on, Warshak wrote the American Bar Association Section on Family Law partnering with the University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts has launched a massive initiative that is poised to bring family law into the 21st century.

Featuring 60 distinguished family law experts – including himself, judges, attorneys, professors and mental health professionals – Warshak said the goal is to propose “radical reform that rectify the destructive impact of the family law legal process.” The organization’s mission is under the banner “Families Matter.”

Other individuals involved, according to Warshak, will have extensive experience in mediation, parenting plans, education programs for divorcing parents, collaborat­ive divorce, parental alienation­, domestic violence, child custody evaluation­s, and other areas relevant to family law.

Though admitting that major overhauls are years away, Warshak said early indicators are positive, including one key reform: no more cookie cutter approaches to family law cases.

Instead, Warshak and his group of family law experts are proposing that family courts learn from how medical emergency rooms treat patients.

Those families most at risk for family violence or severed parent-child relationships should be identified early in the process and fast-tracked through the system since the sooner those cases are treated, the fewer tragedies there will be, according to Warshak.

“Fewer parents on the edge will take the law into their own hands,” Warshak writes. “Fewer children will languish unprotected against violence. Fewer children will succumb to manipulations aimed at drafting them into paying allegiance to one parent at the expense of their relationship with the other. Losing a parent is a price children should not have to pay for their parents’ breakup.”

For more information, read Warshak’s Huffington Post column.

Read Related Article: “How To Deal With Parental Alienation: Q&A With Richard Warshak


divorce poison bookDr. Richard Warshak is the author of two books dealing with parental alienation, including the popular “Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing,” which gives parents powerful strategies to preserve and repair loving relationships with their children.

An internationally renowned lecturer and authority on divorce, custody, and the psychology of alienated children, Warshak is a clinical, research, and consulting psychologist and a clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He also wrote the chapter on Parental Alienation Syndrome for the “Expert Witness Manual,” a guide for attorneys and judges dealing with expert testimony.

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7 comments on “Alienation Expert: ‘Change Coming’ To Child Custody Decisions

    Not true in texas, My daughter’s husband filed for divorce for abuse of her children Not I true i stay with them for 6 months no abuse just doesn’t want to pay.she has no job because he didn’t want her to work. Now he wants a divorce. No money since he filed it be four months I have given her money to feed children and pay for rental car send them t poo physiologist father refuses work is hard to find in El past this father is crazy. She did help lawyer is not helping

    I to would love to see the Family Court System come into the 21 Century It is unbelievable that we should teach our children that one person is in control of another. As a non custodial parent I have had to compromise every belief I stand for that no human being should become subservient to another This is the message I am sending my child when I have to condescend to the custodial parents wishes
    Whether this be an unlawful court order or not I am bound to obey it. Personally I feel both parents should be treated equally. When my child became actively suicidal and actively self harming I was refused the right to take her to the ER
    Eventually she had 4 admissions to psych wards in 2014. Although I had no substanciated DFS reports and he had 8 I was given a TRO for providing appropriate medical care w/o permission
    Currently my daughter are 100% alienated. I am attempting to obtain a Federal Judicial Administrative review as they address the points of law
    I hold no hope for my daughter and I but feel the Family Courts should rely on Professional opinions not a GAL or Judge w 6 weeks of training in Family therapy
    I intend to set up a website as we need to be united. The Gay and Lesbian society have accomplished amazing goals by simply joining forces and fighting discrimination ?

    Where’s the change
    I really would like to believe this, but don’t see it happening. Laws are made for and by lawyers. In this economy, I really don’t see the Lawyers adopting this. When I go to court, they all look cozy and pal around. Meanwhile, their clients are miserable. How about complete mental examinations for each parent, not subjective interviews by Psy.D bozos. Why is it so difficult? It’s not, it affects their income so it won’t happen. They make money off conflict.

    Author, A Family’s Heartbreak
    I have often talked about how our antiquated family court system is not meeting the needs of the people who it is supposed to serve. The U.S. system is oOutdated and broken at best, corrupt and a disgrace to the Rule of Law at worst.

    Any progress to help create a fair and balanced system that better meets the needs of the family will be a step in the right direction. However, I also question whether people who benefit from the status quo are motivated and the best choices to lead this effort.


    mike jeffries
    Author, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation

    This is interesting, but after 30 years of being involved in family courts (20 years in my own case), if the purported change is coming from attorneys, beware of Trojan Horses. The attorneys will not give up their lucrative family law practices so easily. And, neither will the mental health experts that feed at the trough of family law to the tune of $200-$400 per hour. Do you really think these people are going to cut their own financial throats instead of protecting the “best interests of the children”?

    I will be pleasantly surprised if it happens, but I live by the motto: “Hope for the best, expect the worst”. This way, I’m always grounded because things will come out 50/50.

    Parent alienation
    I would like to learn more how to bring the law to the 21 century. In Gallatin, Tn, just outside Nashville they believe everything the women needs she gets and the father barley gets any time with the kids that want to spend more time with.

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