Parental Alienation Syndrome, Part 1 of 2

All too common in the middle of contested divorce proceedings, Parental Alienation Syndrome is the attempt of one spouse to alienate the couple’s children from the other parent, effectively destroying all emotional bonds. This alienation is encouraged by parents in several ways:

• The alienating parent talks negatively about his or her spouse directly to the children, saying things such as, “Mom/Dad left because he/she doesn’t care about us.”
• The alienating parent talks about the failure of the marriage and puts all the blame on the other parent.
• The alienating parent blames the other spouse for all the current hardships the family is experiencing.
• In severe cases, the alienating parent makes accusations of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse against the other parent.

Regardless of how the alienating parent attempts to turn the children against his or her spouse, the children realize that in order to win the love of the alienating parent, they must turn against the targeted parent. The consequences of Parental Alienation Syndrome are severe, resulting in children feeling estranged from one parent and guilty about this estrangement. The long-term consequences may negatively impact self-esteem levels and general outlook on life, as well as foster dysfunctional relationships.

Part 2 of this article is about how to protect children from Parental Alienation Syndrome.

About the author: Jeff Weissman is an attorney with Gladstone & Weissman, P.A., a firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is board certified in marital and family law.

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Jeff Weissman Attorney

Board certified in Marital and Family Law, attorney Jeff Weissman has been called to present at numerous conferences and seminars. He also authored the Parental Relocation Law, Section 61.13001, which was enacted in the State of Florida in 2006. Jeff Weissman has presented regularly for the Florida Bar Association, Family Law Section. In late 2010, Weissman spoke on practical and theoretical aspects of evidence within a family law context. Earlier that year, he gave a seminar on practice and procedure, which was attended by over 1,000 attorneys and other legal professionals from across Florida. In 2009, Jeff Weissman led seminars on equitable distribution and development of time-sharing parenting plans. He also moderated a judicial panel on parental relocation issues. These events each attracted hundreds of legal professionals. In addition, Weissman led basic family law seminars in Miami and Tampa, covering issues such as attorney’s fees, methods for determining jurisdiction, and practices and procedures. Jeff Weissman has also accepted speaking engagements in the corporate sector. Jeff Weissman studied at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating in 1994. He has focused on family and marital law since that time, and he has served as a Partner at Gladstone & Weissman, P.A. for more than a decade. Weissman holds two Florida Supreme Court certifications: as a Mediator and a Guardian Ad Litem. He has been recognized with numerous professional awards, including repeat listings in Florida Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America.

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