PAS and court
A few months ago I started looking into being a volunteer GAL. In my state (Florida) all GAL's are volunteer and the program is free to families. For the past several weeks I have been going to training. Today's training was court room observation. Case I wanted to highlight here.
Children: 7 yo boy and 3 yo girl.
DCFS got involved due to the physical altercation that took place between the parents on a custodial change in front of the kids).
Sitting at the tables in court were the attornies for DCFS, the case manager, dad, his attorney, GAL and the GAL attorney.
And mom and her attorney.
DCFS had a witness: a counselor who had seen the 7yo boy exactly: once.
Recommendations from all were to terminate/suspend the mothers visitation with the 7yo son only. Everyone (except the mother and her attorney) were in agreeance.
Dad in his wisdom (stupidity) decided to ask the judge to talk to the child one on one.
Judge granted a five minute meeting with the child. It turned into a half an hour.
Then the child was sent to a play area with a bailiff babysitter, while the judge unleashed the wrath of hell upon the fathers head.
Seems everything that boy told the judge started with "Well Daddy says". Kid knew all about the divorce, that supposedly mommy cheated on daddy, that mommy steals daddies money every month, that mommy doesnt love him as much as his sister because daddy said so. And those were some of the tame admissions from the kid.
The final nail in the coffin: Apparently the child has been telling the case worker, in front of dad, that he does not want to see mom, that if he has to see her he will kill himself. When the judge asked why he said that "Daddy said if I told you that he would buy me a four wheeler."
Judge gave dad an a$$ chewing I will remember for quite some time, terminated the fathers visitation with BOTH kids, awarded the children to the mothers custody full time, doubled his child support and ordered all involved into intensive counceling, her final salvo to the dad:
"If I hear in the future any indication that you participating in parental alienation I will send you to jail for child abuse".
It would appear, some judges do recognize PAS and act on it. It is also obvious that DCFS, GAL and therapists need more training to identify it.