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Recognizing and Responding to PAS


Parental Alienation is almost inevitable following a divorce. Non-residential parents usually feel disconnected with their children. Parental Alienation Syndrome is different. PA is transient and it usually affects both parents equally. PAS is permanent, and so is the emotional damage it creates. Additionally, as outlined below, PAS only affects the targeted parent.


If there is evidence of PAS in your relationship with your children, you should contact a Galveston child custody attorney sooner rather than later. Although the parent is the target of PAS, the children are the ones who suffer most. And, if the current parenting time arrangement is detrimental to their long-term emotional development, a motion to modify, perhaps even an emergency motion to modify, is usually appropriate.

Recognizing PAS

Sudden trauma, like violence or adultery, leads to some family emotional issues. Others, however, occur slowly over time. Furthermore, things like PAS are frequently unintentional, or at least not malicious. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant and intervene early. Some indications of PAS include:

  • Disparaging the other parent, in live conversation or on social media, in the presence of the children,
  • Picking up the children late, dropping them off early, and so on,
  • Extending special privileges, like a later curfew, to the children,
  • Unilaterally changing the pickup/dropoff schedule or routine, and
  • Intentionally scheduling activities, like a sleepover, during the other parent’s parenting time.

Although early intervention is important, it’s also important not to jump the gun and appear litigious. Remember, PA is inevitable, so some things on this list will happen from time to time. James Bond author Ian Fleming had some surprising words of wisdom. He once wrote that once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and thrice is enemy action.

Responding to PAS

As mentioned, PAS is often unintentional. Some alienating parents do not comprehend the damage they are doing. Others know and do not care.

In these situations, a simple letter from an attorney might do a world of good, especially if the letter contains scientific data about PAS. Awareness of the problem might be enough to convince the other parent to stand down. Or, the alienating parent might change his/her ways now that s/he knows the targeted parent is fully aware of what’s going on.

However, if an alienating parent is intentionally trying to drive an emotional wedge between the children and the targeted parent, a letter probably will not suffice. In these cases, it’s necessary to go to the next level, which is a motion to modify.

Typically, Galveston County family law judges order social studies in these situations. Like an experienced lawyer, social workers can spot PAS. They also understand the damage it does. Their parenting time recommendations, which most judges give considerable weight, reflect this insight.

Even if the motion to modify does not alter the parenting time division, a measure of victory is still possible. Many judges insert additional injunctive language prohibiting some of the aforementioned conduct. Additionally, many targeting parents understand they dodged a bullet, so they once again stand down.

Reach Out to an Experienced Lawyer

Do not allow PAS to poison your relationship with your children. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Galveston, contact Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., Attorneys at Law. Convenient payment plans are available.




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