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The Dangers of Parental Alienation in an Illinois Divorce 

Posted on in Child Custody

St. Charles child custody attorneyThere is a long-standing debate among psychologists and in divorce courts as to a specific definition of the term “parental alienation syndrome”. While child psychologists have been discussing parental alienation syndrome for over three decades, the debate surrounding it continues in part because it is not always easy to correctly identify.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation syndrome, or PAS, is alleged to occur when one parent creates a contrived illusion to the child or children regarding the child’s other parent. This often leads to the child experiencing manipulated, negative emotions toward and detachment from the other parent.

In cases where there are allegations of PAS, it is often because one parent believes that the other parent is deliberately working to undermine their relationship with the child. This may occur in situations where one parent is disrespectful to the other parent in front of the children or when one parent perceives that the child has developed angry or dismissive feelings toward them due to the actions or words of the other parent. 

However, the mere existence of such behaviors does not automatically prove that parental alienation is occurring. There are a number of other influencing factors on a child’s behavior that must be ruled out as potential causes.

Challenges to Proving PAS in Court

Professional evaluations of children for parental alienation often fail to conclusively deduce that the issue exists for a variety of reasons. It may be argued that diverse factors contribute to the child’s altered demeanor or feelings. Additionally, it can often be argued that the alleged perpetrator has a legitimate reason for shielding the child from the other parent. In other cases, it may be suggested that the child has been ignored or treated poorly, which has led to a lack of a significant parent-child relationship in the first place.

In an effort to better understand the family dynamic, some courts may request the perspective of a third party. Often, this will take the form of a psychological observation of the family to help the court better understand all the nuances at play.

Contact a St. Charles Family Lawyer

If you believe that parental alienation is taking place, talk to an experienced Kane County child custody attorney about engaging the services of a mental health professional. The findings of the psychologist can serve the family as well as the court by assessing and identifying the severity of the alienation and by developing an action plan to stop the alienation and help decrease or reverse the negative effects of the alienation process on your child. When it comes to the mental health of your children, there is no time to waste. Call Goostree Law Group at 630-584-4800 and schedule a free consultation today.



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