Friday, January 22, 2010

Success in Court

I regularly receive requests for help from parents who find themselves in the throes of parental alienation. Very often, the parent calling will have educated themselves to some degree about the phenomenon, and then call me with a specific request for something that they feel will help their situation. I recently got a call from a father who wanted me to review some documents and then write an affidavit which he could submit to the court as evidence that these documents revealed parental alienation. While his thinking was accurate about realizing the importance of having the court understand what had happened to his children, his method of educating the court, an affidavit from me about parental alienation in his case, would have been unsuccessful had I agreed to provide this service. I pointed out to him that when a child has become alienated to the degree that they say that they never want to see that parent again, a powerful case strategy is what is needed, and an affidavit by myself or anyone else would simply not work.

I believe that it is important to understand that when a child becomes severely alienated, the Court becomes automatically biased in favor of the child’s position, even if the Judge believes that the child got that way due to the influences of the other parent. The statistics on this are very clear. In other words, it is a significant task to get a Judge to recommend a solution over the protest of the alienated child. In my experience, Judges only do this when they have been shown enough argument that forces them to see the peril that exists for the alienated child to be left with the alienator. What this represents essentially is a “two against one” phenomenon where the child and the alienating parent are saying one thing and the other parent is saying something else. Therefore, when this is the case, the targeted parent is well advised to put together an overwhelming argument about why this child should not be given what they say that they want. So…in the above example, what this father really needed was a comprehensive plan to create this overwhelming argument. It might go something like this: first, an analysis of the judges biases and proclivities regarding parental alienation, the use of psychological experts and personal history should be undertaken. Next, an appropriate expert conforming to these biases would be researched and found. Next, the attorney for the targeted parent would craft direct and re-direct questions to the expert which would be developed in a hypothetical manner that allowed the court to understand how alienation had worked its way into this family’s life. This hypothetical testimony would be structured to echo the fact witness testimony from witnesses that describe specific incidents that show alienation. These steps are only the beginning.

While all parental alienation cases are different, one thing that they have in common is the challenge of making it clear to the Judge why the child should not be left in the situation that they claim they want to be in. Successful results are virtually always premised by the creation of a well thought out, well prepared case that addresses the problems in the case and systematically creates counter-measures for their solution. These cases are simply not won by the “seat of ones pants.” They are the result of careful and painstaking planning and preparation.

5 comments:

Jeff said...

All excellent points. Educating a judge about parental alienation is a step-by-step process so the judge can understand what's going on. The attorney and targeted parent shouldn't assume anything -- and put out sufficient facts methodically and logically so a judge can reach the correct conclusion.

Keep up the good work Dr. Bone!

Quiact said...

http://informaproject.blogspot.com/2009/11/penpals.html

Carligg021 said...

We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull, Some have weird names , and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box . ....................................................

Anonymous said...

Honestly, even IF the Targeted Parents spend thousands of dollars forming a case to educate the court using experts and mental health professionals, there is still no guarentee that a judge is going to pay much attention to all that expensive paper. Most simply do not know what to do, and find it easier to just side with the AP and an angry child(ren) who is (are) begging to never see their "horrible other parent" again. Judges think the child will be happy and peaceful if the TP simply fades away into the background, and goes away, ESPECIALLY when that Target Parent has already been replaced by a new step parent who 100% takes on the role of the now-totally-alienated Target Parent. It makes the judge's job easier. It's so very sad and so very unfair to the TP.

The Handy Man said...

This is complete insanity. I have been, or trying to, deal with this for over a year now. It seems that the courts are already biased against me by all the things that my soon to be X is saying and doing to me. The judge thinks that something is going on with the kids. The attorney sees what is happening, but there is no stopping her. She has all the time in the world to brainwash these kids and the court still thinks that the kids should have a say in where they want to live. I wish that someone would finally put their foot down and make this stop. I am loosing my kids and everyone keeps telling me that they will come around eventually, but I know that it may never happen.