Parental Alienation- Wars Between Parents

May 31, 2010

When custody or child visitation issues occur between separated or divorced parents, one or both parents sometimes seek to curry favor with the child or children. The parent takes this action either to ensure that he or she will receive custody or receive child support payments. In addition to currying favor with the child, some parents seek to undermine the relationship between the child and the other parent. When the child develops a strong resistance or rejection of a parent, that is disproportionate to that parent’s behavior, and this undermines that parent’s relationship with the child, this is referred to as parental alienation syndrome(PAS).

In a Canadian study conducted between 1989 and 2008 involving claims of parental alienation, there were allegations that parental alienation syndrome was present in 175 cases. The study showed that in 106 out of 175 cases, the courts found that there was parental alienation present. In 60% of the cases the mother was the parent involved in alienating the child from the father. In 31% of the cases the father was the parent involved in alienating the child against the mother. The study found that although there were gender differences involved in the alienation of children, mothers were more likely to make unsubstantiated claims of alienation against fathers. The study also found that alienation is most commonly perpetuated by the custodial parent against the noncustodial parent.

In the Canadian study the most common judicial remedy of dealing with parental alienation was to modify the custody arrangement.

Parental alienation is being recognized by the courts in New York more readily then it has been in the past. There is still a reluctance among many judges to use changing custody as a means of addressing this issue. Parental alienation may have the impact of reducing one parents access to visitation with his or her children. The more significant affect of parental alienation is to deprive a child from having a relationship with two loving parents.

Should you have any questions or issues concerning parental alienation feel free to contact Elliot Schlissel, Esquire at Schlissellawfirm.com or 1-800-344-6431.

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2 Responses to “Parental Alienation- Wars Between Parents”


  1. Thank you for highlighting a growing issue that is affecting countless parents, children and extended family members every year.

    However I do not agree with the study’s claim that mothers are more likely to alienate children than fathers, or that the custodial parent is more often the alienator. Based on the emails we receive to our website in response to our book and articles, neither mothers or fathers have cornered the market on the unhealthy emotional issues that lead one parent to pull the child into the marital conflict. In fact, we believe Moms and Dads are both the alienator and the alienated parent in equal numbers.

    In any event, please continue writing about parental alienation. Your efforts make a difference.

    Sincerely,

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


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