Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Combating False Allegations of Parental Alienation (PAS)

Abusers sometimes use false allegations of parental alienation against the protective parent to help deflect away from the abuse allegations and to turn the tables on the protective parent. Unfortunately, it works. Thus, as a protective parent, you need to make sure you have evidence to prove that you have not alienated your child(ren) from the abusive parent.

For protective parents trying to prove that their child has been sexually (or physically) abused by the opposing party in a custody case (whom I will refer to as "the abuser"), one of the most difficult things for protective parents to do is to allow the child to go to visits with the abuser during the pendency of the case, especially if the abuser has been granted unsupervised visitation pending the trial.

However, it is absolutely critical to follow the Court’s Orders. If you withhold visitation and are found in contempt of court, you could risk losing custody of your child to the abuser. It is equally important to appear to encourage your child’s relationship with the abuser during the pendency of the case because if you do not, it will be used against you. One of the biggest factors in custody cases is that judges want to give custody to the parent who will encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Obviously, this sounds crazy when you are convinced that the other parent is sexually abusing your child, but you have to be ever mindful of it and actually do things that will prove that you have encouraged the child’s relationship with the other parent, despite what you believe. When a protective parent talks badly about the abusive parent, allows others to do so, or does other things to make the child fear or hate the abuser, then the protective parent is in danger of being labeled as having alienated the child from the other parent.

Of course, one of the most critical factors in proving parental alienation is that the child actually has expressed or otherwise exhibited hatred or fear of the abusive parent. These cases can make a protective parent a bit crazy because it should be perfectly normal for a sexually abused child to fear or hate the abuser, but it is more likely that the child actually loves the abusive parent.

Moreover, if evidence of alienation is shown in the custody (psychological) evaluation or any other evidence (including the abuser’s own testimony) at trial, it will be used against the protective parent and could work to give the abuser custody of the child.

It sounds crazy to do nice things for the abuser, but it will help you in your case and fend off any attempt by him to say you have alienated the child from him.

Here are some ways to make sure you have evidence that you are NOT alienating your child from the abuser. With all of these, you need to take photographs of the items or make copies of them to keep for evidence:
  • Have the child make gifts and/or cards for the abuser (birthday & all holidays).
  • Make sure the child calls the abuser at least every other evening, preferably from a cell phone so you will have a record of the telephone number called.
  • In writing (email is fine) inform the abuser in advance of all regular doctor and dental appointments, and teacher’s conferences, and invite him to attend (unless you have a domestic violence restraining order against him), and if he does not attend, send him an email letting him know what happened and what the doctor said or recommended .
  • Set up and use ourfamilywizard.com as a communication tool between you and the abuser.
  • Make copies of all school report cards, progress reports, notes from teachers, and examples of the child’s school work and send these to the abuser with a cover letter saying please find X enclosed. You can send US Mail with tracking so you have proof it was received without the recipient sign for it. Keep copies of your letters and keep the originals or copies of the things you have sent.
  • Send the abuser school pictures, even a few extra for his family, again with a cover letter, and keep a copy for yourself.
  • Be polite and professional in all your communications with the abuser. Remember, everything you say can and will be used against you. He is probably taping your every call.
  • Do not send adult communication through the children -- always communicate it directly to the abuser in writing.