Parental Alienation Syndrome Will Not Be Included In the DSM 5
Woman Loses Custody for Plastering Negative Stickers About Estranged Husband Around Town
As reported in today’s New York Post by Kieran Crowley, a Long Island woman lost custody of her daughters after plastering stickers around town calling her estranged husband a Hummer…
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Just Because a Child Says They Want to Live with the Other Parent Does Not Mean that Custody Should be Changed
As a matrimonial lawyer, I often get the question "how old does a child have to be to decide who they get to live with?" There is a perception out there that there is a magic age where a child is empowered to decide which parent they get to live with. This simply is not the case.
Rather, a child’s preference is only one factor a court must consider when deciding custody. Why is the child’s preference not absolutely determinative? Because it is not always reliable and may not be in their best interests. Maybe the child is too young or too immature for their preference to be relied upon alone. Maybe one parent is improperly influencing or pressuring a child to express a preference that is not their true preference. Maybe the child feels bad for and/or feels the need to take care of the parent because of some physical or mental infirmity of the parent or a feeling that the parent is the victim of the other parent. Perhaps the child has been promised something by the other parent or is trying to play one parent against the other. Perhaps the child (maybe a teen) feels that the other parent will give them more freedom.
This issue becomes even more difficult after an initial custody determination is made or agreed to and then a child expresses a preference to live with the other parent. That was the issue in the unreported (non-precedential) decision in the case of Traynor n/k/a Dallara v. Traynor decided on March 29, 2011. In this case, the father appealed the denial of his motion to change the custody of his 11 year old daughter who allegedly decided that she wanted to live with him.…
Continue Reading Just Because a Child Says They Want to Live with the Other Parent Does Not Mean that Custody Should be Changed
Alienating Conduct a Large Factor in the Dwyane Wade Custody Case
Last week, the news reported the decision in the custody case involving Miami Heat guard, Dwyane Wade’s, children, after one of the longest custody trials ever in Cook County. Apparently…
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Read Mark Ashton's Blog Entitled "Revenge of the Fourteen Year Olds"
Mark Ashton, a partner in our Exton, Pennsylvania office, and a contributor the firm’s Pennsylvania Family Law blog, wrote a thought provoking post on that blog entitled "Revenge of…
Continue Reading Read Mark Ashton's Blog Entitled "Revenge of the Fourteen Year Olds"
Ex-Wife Given Jail Time for Custodial Interference
APPELLATE DIVISION REJECTS INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS AS REMEDY FOR INTERFERENCE WITH CUSTODY
Previously, we blogged about a trial court opinion that allowed a parent to seek damages for interference with custody/parental alienation. In fact, we noted the conflicting trial court opinions released in the last year or so, one of which (in Hudson County) allowed a suit for intentional infliction of emotional distress in these matters, and another (in Morris County) which denied this relief for failing to state a claim.The Appellate Division weighed in on the Morris County case on May 3, 2010, affirming Judge Rand’s decision to dismiss the case in Segal v. Lynch. This was a reported, thus precedential opinion.
While rejecting the trial court’s decision to dismiss the case based upon the "Heart Balm Act" which prohibited suits for interference with a marital relations, the Appellate Division nonetheless decided that the suit was barred based upon best interest and public policy considerations. In doing so, the court held:
We acknowledge with equal force, however, that plaintiff’s cause of action raises profound questions of public policy concerning the propriety of permitting a parent to utilize a child’s loss of affection for him or her as grounds for civil liability against the other parent. On its face, such a cause of action has the potential to deteriorate into an abusive process; it can be wielded like a sword by an emotionally
distraught parent with little to no consideration of how the litigation will affect the child. Most alarming is the potential for great harm such a cause of action would pose to the child.
Our overarching consideration in all matters concerning children involved in the judicial system is "the best interests of the child." This principle is embedded in the doctrine of parens patriae, which authorizes the court to intervene when necessary to prevent harm to the child. Application of this principle to the case at hand leads us to one inexorable conclusion: plaintiff’s cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress must be barred as inimical to and irreconcilable with the best interests of the children
involved in this suit.
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Read the Post Entitled “Parental Alienation: Programs Seek Solutions to Parent/Child Discord” From Our Pennsylvania Family Law Blog
Aaron Weems, an associate in our Bucks County office and editor Fox Rothschild’s Pennsylvania Family Law Blog wrote an interesting entry entitled "Parental Alienation: Programs Seek Solutions to Parent/Child Discord."
The post discusses…
Continue Reading Read the Post Entitled “Parental Alienation: Programs Seek Solutions to Parent/Child Discord” From Our Pennsylvania Family Law Blog
More on Parental Abductions
Yesterday, my partner, Apple Sulit-Perelejo wrote about the case of Maria Jose Carrascosa, who was found guilty of eight counts of interference with custody and one count of contempt of…