Tuesday

Assessing Abuse in [potential] Parental Alienation Cases

I am deriving this post, based on A Policy Proposal in Joan Meier's research, Parental Alienation Syndrome & Parental Alienation: Research Reviews.

1. Assess abuse first

Abuse should always be assessed first whenever there are allegations of abuse. If abuse claims are verified, or substantial risk exists, the remainder of the evaluation should be guided by safety and protection as the dominant concerns; with relationship preservation as only a secondary concern
Some courts do assess abuse first...on a superficial level. In my case, the first time I presented in court, the judge specifically asked me if there was any history of family violence. When I told him that there was, (and interestingly, I wasn't even prepared to admit it at this point, when called out on the spot, sitting right next to my abuser at a conference table, in a small room called "chambers") his next question was,
"Well, did it occur in the past 6 months."
My answer, which was the honest-to-goodness truth, was,
"No."
My abuser and I had been separated for years, he had been around less than a handful of times "to visit the kids," and he rarely ever called or e-mailed. The last time he had visited was almost a year prior to the hearing; thus, of course there had been no violence [within the specified time frame].

And so, the judge ordered unsupervised, overnight visitation anyway. He never even asked me what the violence was. Funny though, I didn't even know what domestic violence was at that time--I only recalled that I had been running from this man, off and on, for a decade because things were really "bad."

When I was scouting around for attorneys, I was told multiple times that if I hadn't brought up domestic violence during my divorce (which I didn't), that it couldn't be addressed in subsequent custody/visitation hearings.

The attorney that I finally did get, brought it before the court. The judge questioned me about it at another hearing, but then insisted that I had told him these things already. When? (So much for court transcripts, which I didn't know that I had to "order" a court reporter) And if I had, why did he still order unsupervised overnights? And so he ordered increased visitation, unsupervised, overnights, holidays....

Lip service is given to assessing abuse. The child having a relationship with the father takes precedence over history of abuse and safety for the mother and child in today's family court system.



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3 advocates for peace:

Rj Mar 3, 2009 10:15:00 AM  

Mothers, please tell me your stories regarding the topic of this post, assessing abuse first.

Mom Mar 3, 2009 11:56:00 AM  

When I tried to stop the abuse at my house, and sought a Protective Order, I didn't have a clue where it would lead us. I just wanted to stop the abuse. Maybe he would get counseling...maybe he would step back and see what he actually was doing. Boy was I wrong. There was a race to the courthouse, a race I didn't know about. Divorce papers showed up, stuffed in the front door two days later. My estranged husband was claiming we had already been separated and was using the Protective Order as a tool to get custody of our child. WTF...really...WTF? We weren't separated, and every attempt to tell the court this and subsequent attorneys this fell on deaf ears. As a result, even though the Protective Orders were upheld in court after hearing, the family court discounted any abuse occuring as false because he lied about being separated and wanted to make it appear as if I was making false allegations for custody purposes. He has sole custody, and is now abusing my son.

Anonymous Mar 3, 2009 9:36:00 PM  

Already was divorced, due to abuse. Abuse continued against mom and child. There were findings of abuse committed by dad to mom, and findings of abuse by dad against child. A year after the findings of abuse by CPS, dad claimed PAS just by hiring psychologist to claim PAS. Child is distraught with forced visits. The more distraught the child, the more they claim PAS. These people are sick child abusers.



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