5. The lack of continuity: You may see a different judge every time you are in court. In fact, unless your case is “case-managed”, seeing a different judge each time is normal. When you are involved with an alienator, this is a serious problem, because each new judge will assume that both parties are reasonable, and will likely not understand what you are dealing with and what is at stake. Many alienators appear pleasant and rational. This will be made even worse if you have a judge who is too busy or unwilling to take the time to read all the details of your case, which is a real possibility. Be prepared that this might happen. The solution is for your lawyer to present a strong, forceful and compelling picture of the alienation and to ask for the strongest possible remedies. Make sure that your lawyer tries to have your file case-managed, if he or she can. If you are seeing a new judge be sure to spell everything out as clearly as possible. Never count on the judge putting the pieces together him or herself. You must present a clear and succinct summary of what has happened so far, with the best evidence you can present of the patterns of repeated alienating behaviour. If you are back in court because court orders have not been followed, it might help to emphasize that the alienator defied the judge’s instructions, not just that the rejected parent continued to be rejected.
6. The timidity and conservatism of judges’ responses. I mentioned before the conservatism of the whole system, and the pervading distaste for extreme remedies. There is an intense resistance to changing a child’s place of residence for example, as this is presumed to be too upsetting, but at the same time the elimination of one parent from that child’s life is regarded as unfortunate, but not something that merits any intervention beyond “counselling” and a verbal admonishment to the alienator to support the relationship between the child and the rejected parent. I’m aware of far too many cases where the alienator flagrantly ignored court orders with no consequence at all. The burden is on the rejected parent to bring the alienator back to court, where the likely result is a scolding for the alienator and nothing more. This timidity and conservatism is disastrous for PAS cases. It is highly likely that a typical judge will not order what is needed, which is a change of custody or some measure that guarantees lots of time for the alienated child and rejected parent to be together and safely protected from the alienator until the relationship is restored. Instead, the usual recommendation is for “counselling” for the child and rejected parent and increased access time, but with no negative consequence built in in case the alienator doesn’t comply and/or continues to sabotage the relationship.
Is this timidity and reticence because the harm done to PAS children is emotional abuse, and emotional abuse is not illegal? There seems to be a blindness to the value of the human relationship. Maybe because the connection between a parent and child can’t be quantified in the way a change of residence can? But that is not the answer either, because time with each parent CAN be quantified. If access visits are not made, there is a concrete rule that has obviously been broken, but alienators routinely get away with this. There IS research showing that alienation causes serious and lasting damage, damage far more serious than the immediate but short-term upset of a change in custody, but this research is not well known yet. And there is so far no poster child or celebrity who was a victim of PAS and can tell the world how it hurt them. It could be that until there is a body of precedent-setting and precedent-following cases little will change. The tragedy of this, for alienated parents and children, is that there is no time. Unless a strong intervention occurs early, the alienator can flout orders and delay and sabotage until the children are too old and beyond the court’s power to effect any change.