Bristol Palin loses full custody of her son after ex-fiance wins $100,000 court battle

February 27, 2016


Sarah Palin’s daughter has lost a court battle, giving up full custody of her 7-year-old son Tripp.


The daughter of former half term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was on the losing end of a legal battle that cost over $100,000. After having full custody of her first child, Tripp, Bristol Palin will now take part in a joint custody agreement with her ex-fiance , as reported by EOnline on Feb. 24.

Bristol beginning

Heading into the 2008 presidential election, Republicans knew that they needed a spark to defeat the popular Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. With Arizona Sen. John McCain named the party’s nominee, senior advisors recommended Palin to join the ticket.


Despite her limit experience, the Tea Party favorite was able to add life to the GOP, but was quickly exposed for her lack of political knowledge, ending in a quick defeat that November. Along the campaign trail, Bristol Palin joined her mother with then fiance Levi, announcing that she was pregnant at only 17-years-old. Shortly after the election defeat, the teen couple separated which led to a legal battle that has lasted over seven years.

Court battle

Since their break up in 2009, Johnston alleges that the Palin family have made it difficult for him to see his son. In 2010, Levi and Bristol worked out an agreement that would allow the child to his see father twice a week, each Wednesday and Saturday. Since the courts never finalized the agreement, Johnston filed a petition in 2013 asking for joint custody.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Johnston announced that he had won the court battle. “I’m so happy to have my son in my life,” Johnston said, noting, “I’m happy now to be successfully co-parenting.” Elaborating further on the details of the case, “It might have taken me 7 years and cost me around $100,000 in lawyer fees, spread out among 3 different lawyers, as well as a lot of patience, but it was all worth it.”

The Palin family hasn’t released an official statement, but Bristol posted a meme on Instagram after the court’s decision, which read, “Always be careful of what you hear about a woman. Rumours either come from a man that can’t have her or a woman who can’t compete with her.”

Last December, Bristol gave birth to her second child, her daughter named Sailor Grace Palin. The child’s father is Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, who has since taken legal action, also pushing for joint custody.

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Is sharing residency better for children’s mental health?

January 25, 2016

Source: The Guardian

Divorce and separation can have a hugely detrimental impact on children. But Swedish studies show that having them live with each parent half the time is the best way to help them cope.

Young boy on father's back playing airplane

Why don’t children bounce back from divorce? They’re resilient little things, yet the research shows a relentless association between parental break-ups and poor academic achievement, stress, ill health and depression in children. So with warnings last week that couples who stay together for the “sake of the children” aren’t necessarily doing the best thing, what’s the least-worst thing parents can do?

The solution

The answer to this, as for so many things, may come from Sweden. In the 1980s, 1% of Swedish parents who divorced had shared residency – children stayed with each parent half the time (or at least 35% of the time). Now the number of shared residencies is close to 50%. In the UK, it is between 9% and 12%.


Intuitively, this seems like a terrible idea. How can parents who are splitting up share their children’s everyday lives? Isn’t it confusing for children to repeatedly move between houses? Won’t they be exposed to constant rows? There are, handily, more than 40 studies that compare children in shared residence arrangements with those living primarily with one parent. The latest, from Emma Fransson’s team at the esteemed Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute, looked specifically at the psychological wellbeing of 4,684 children. It asked if they felt sad, angry, had poor concentration or were tense and nervous. Unlike other studies, the researchers found the same level of psychological complaints in children in shared residency as in those in nuclear families. Children living with one parent had higher levels of psychological complaints. The study took into account the financial status of the parents, but this did not significantly affect the results. The weight of evidence from the other studies, according to a summary in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, is that children do better if parenting is shared, even allowing for the fact that couples who share parenting tend to have higher incomes and less conflict.

Shared residency doesn’t work so well if there is conflict (if there is violence, then sharing is not an option), if the children are adolescents (less keen on two homes), or if the children don’t like one parent. It is easy to selectively pick the research to suit your argument – studies are mostly not high quality and mix divorced couples and those who have split up after cohabiting, which may be different. Also, children whose parents have more money, a better education and stay on friendly terms will often do better, whatever the parenting plan. But the research is clear that children benefit from two parents being interested in them, and sharing residency encourages this.

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One Parents Story, Bringing Parental Alienation To The Press #PAS – Your Chance To Be Heard and Help

May 28, 2015

Source: Children Reunited 

As each day goes by, it seems that cumulatively we are getting more and more opportunities to bring awareness of Parental Alienation and Parental Abduction to the forefront of people’s minds. Including the media, UK governments and US governments, Congress etc.


As much as we don’t like to use the word “victim”, many Left Behind Parents (LBP)  are exactly that – but the true victims in all of this, our the children. The children that are lost in the system, the children who don’t have a voice. The children who are torn from loving and healthy homes and placed in situations that leave them vulnerable, unloved and abused. More and more parents are falling at the hands of unjust rulings in the family courts and it’s no surprise that they feel like a victim at times. It’s not that they feel sorry for themselves – but who would blame them. It’s not that they feel beaten and defeated every day – but there are good days and there are and ones. What they do want and need – is YOU and your support.
We have seen in the media, that those affected aren’t just your ordinary folks – it can happen to anyone as I’m sure, Kelly Rutherford can testify to. Recently actress and mother, Kelly Rutherford was successful in finally getting a California court to grant her full legal and physical custody of her children, after a long and arduous battle in the courts rooms over the last 3 years or so. As part of her plight and campaign, she created a petition that she asked everyone to sign and needed to meet the threshold of 100k signatures on order to get The Whitehouse to read details of her endeavors.


As we said, this happens to the ordinary Mom and Dad too and as part of our continued campaigning and drive to bring awareness to the public eye, we are helping one Mom attempt to achieve what Kelly has done and campaign in order for her to be reunited with her son. Like Kelly, she needs 100K signatures in order for the Whitehouse to review her case.

For those of reading in the UK, you can still help. This is an International Custody Case, involving a British Mother who had full custody of her son per the UK courts in 2010, subsequently given permission to move to California for work (father was never a resident nor a citizen of the UK, so she wasn’t taking the child away from the father). No sooner had her and her son arrived in the US, the father started a hate campaign and embarked on obtaining full custody off the child. An eternal bachelor, things changed when he met someone (now his wife) on a dating website and the rest we say, is history. Fueled by his father who had also obtained custody of him and his sister back in the day, coupled with a torrid of awful accusations in that case – it seemed the apple wasn’t falling far from the tree and they were determined that history would repeat itself.

The US court failed to acknowledge the UK court order which had been granted a mere 2 months prior and new proceedings started. The landscape that was painted very clear when the Father told a California court that the Mother had kidnapped the child and was in the States illegally and should have been stopped by Interpol – all this despite her having and presenting the court with her new court order, which the Father was also in receipt of……..and then the vile, emotional and heart wrenching custody journey begins. Her attorney called it “form shopping” and it was clear that lies, manipulation and false allegations were going to be the order of the day and important ingredients for the onslaught the Mother did not see coming.


We will be publishing her journal that she kept – a very detailed journal of the plight, the journey and the corruption and bias that was becoming ever evident in her case in particular.

Hearing about the journey Kelly Rutherford went on, it became clear that it didn’t matter what color, creed, race, religion or famous background you come with – bias is bias, corruption is corruption and no-one is safe from the unjust rulings that take place in the court room.

We don’t always blame the Judges – but in this particular case, we do!

We know that Judges, Attorney’s GAL’s, therapists etc need to be educated more to know what they are dealing with in the court room and in their offices. Parental Alienation is on the rise and although many courts or mental health organizations DO NOT recognize it as defined condition – too many courts are using it as a basis to change custody for example. Narcissism, Borderline Personality Disorders etc are present in the court rooms and Judges can’t see the wood for the trees.

This particular case is riddled with errors, all of which are documented and ready for retrial.  Whilst we understand people think, “oh there must be something else to the story” there is also the simple truth of prominent corruption and pure bias in the courts and the sticking together of the old boys etc. In court transcripts, the father of the child admitted under oath that he paid off a custody evaluator who was one of the “Old Boys Club” in excess of $50,000 and this was proven in court. There was a plethora of evidence to show bias in the custody evaluation report. Including but not limited to a plethora of sworn declarations and testimonies from the child’s therapist, mothers at the child’s school, child’s principal at school and soccer/football coaches.


Also the fact that the custody evaluator’s are NOT ALLOWED to have ex part communication with either party after the repot is submitted to the courts – yet we have documented and emailed prove that the evaluator and FATHER were in constant contact, including the weekend of February 16 in 2013 and the evaluator was sent a HUGE box of papers, copies of emails and copies of a deposition in August 2013 – 8 MONTHS AFTER the report had been submitted and prior to any proposal of trial. The law in California states very clearly that this would invalidate any report and the report CAN NOT be used as evidence!
….and the evaluator repeatedly contradicted himself in the report – going as far as stating and this is a direct excerpt from the report
Page 110 of the 730 Custody Evaluation Report…….
“Child is “well and strongly bonded to his mother” and then writes that psychiatric data indicates that a discontinuance of that primary parent/child bond at such a young age can have dire and lifetime consequences for the child’s development, maturation and psychological and interpersonal well being”

Here is another excerpt from just one of the many many signed declarations signed and submitted under the penalty of perjury from the child’s therapist (who is also a court appointed custody evaluator nonetheless) and she also testified to this in court – yet the Judge did NOTHING!…..

“Dr. ????? told me that Petitioner was to blame for Respondent’s lack of bonding with their son, and that his job was to make sure Respondent got custody of minor child. He also indicated to me he had “carte blanche” authority to make whatever recommendations he wanted. That was why he essentially ordered the parties to initiate visitation according to his schedule. This was radically different from the schedule before he was appointed to the case and I did not agree with his abrupt change, and I observed marked differences in child as a result of the schedule imposed on the parties by Dr. ??????.

We need your help to get the US and UK Government to listen and take heed of what is happening in their court rooms, but probably aren’t aware.

We are currently talking to 2 national newspapers and ready to bring this to the forefront, but we also need your help – yes YOU! Please SIGN and SHARE this WHITEHOUSE PETITION. We have PAS National Awareness Day, We have the UN speaking with EU and recognizing PAS to be present and to be considered as Child Abuse – now we need YOU.

Please help. If you are an alienated parent, affected by alienation or know someone that has or is being affected, please simply take 5 mins out of your day and sign this petition and share it.

As one voice, we may sound like a whisper but together, we can ROAR and make a difference.

Thank you

Parental child abduction – We offer needed support
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Abduction and the child’s “best interests” – analysis

June 14, 2011 by Rosalind English, UK Human rights Blog

E (Children) FC [2011] UKSC 27 – read judgment see previous post for summary

This case shows some of the difficulties thrown up by the interesting tension between the primacy of children’s interests implied by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the controls on child abduction exerted by the 1980 Hague Convention.

The Human Rights Convention, in requiring that states ensure respect for family life,  protects first and foremost the rights of the child. But of course the Hague Convention has different priorities. The first aim of that instrument is to deter either parent from taking the law into their own hands and removing themselves and their children to another jurisdiction. If abduction does take place, the next object of the Convention is to restore the children as soon as possible to their home country, so that any dispute can be determined there, since the parent left behind is the wronged party, and should not be put to the trouble and expense of coming to the requested state in order to participate in the resolution of factual issues here. Article 12 therefore requires a requested state to return a child forthwith to its country of habitual residence if it has been wrongfully removed in breach of rights of custody. Article 13(b) mitigates that obligation if there is a “grave risk” of “physical or psychological harm.”

So far, so good. But this limitation on the duty to return has to be restrictively applied if the object of the Hague Convention is not to be defeated. In any event, it is rarely appropriate for a court to hear oral evidence  of the allegations made under article 13b and so neither those allegations nor their rebuttal are usually tested in cross-examination.

Children’s interests: where are they on a scale of importance?

To complicate matters further, Article 3(1) of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child also plays a role. This provision also ensures the primacy of the child’s interests:

“In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

As Jacqueline Renton points out in her excellent analysis of this case,’ “a” primary consideration’ is not the same thing as ‘“the” primary consideration’ or “the paramount consideration”. Nor does the Children Act 1989 apply to apply in Hague cases so as to make the child’s best interests “the paramount consideration.” But this somewhat begs the question of what all these adjectives mean. If there is a sliding scale of importance involved, then each of these words “paramount”, “the/a primary” etc should be clearly allotted their appropriate level so that practitioners and parties understand their chances in court.However, when the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court attempted to do something like this  in  Neulinger and Shuruk v Switzerland [2011] 1 FLR 122,  it seems to have caused great consternation by concluding that the primacy of the best interests of the child should determine the outcome, even if it went against the aims of Article 13(b) of the Hague Convention.

This consternation is expressed in the first paragraph of the Supreme Court’s judgment in this case, given by Lady Hale and Lord Wilson, and most of the following paragraphs are given over  to diluting the effect of the Grand Chamber’s decision.

Objectives of the Hague Abduction Convention

In considering the primary aims of the Hague Convention, the Supreme Court acknowledges that there was “no doubt” that the paradigm case which the Convention draftsmen had in mind was a dissatisfied parent who did not have the primary care of the child snatching the child away from her primary carer. Nowadays, the Court accepted, things have changed.

 the most common case is a primary carer whose relationship with the other parent has broken down and who leaves with the children, usually to go back to her own family. There are many more international relationships these days than there were even in the 1970s when the Convention was negotiated, so increasingly returning to her own family means crossing an international boundary.

There are other problems with the implementation of the Hague Convention. It is not only “all too common” for courts to recognise that there may be some truth in the claims of domestic abuse and ill-treatment – even violence – by the abducting parent,  but even if they do suspect there are some grounds to these allegations, they grant the return order sought under the Convention without any assurance that undertakings for the safety of the parties returned will be observed. Indeed, as this judgment observes, “the whole concept of undertakings is not generally understood outside the common law world.”

We have posted before on the primacy of children’s interests under other legislation involving cross-border matters (such as section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009).  The Hague Convention contains no express requirement for  the court hearing a case under its provisions to make the best interests of the child its primary consideration. Given that the objective of the Hague Convention is that the child should be present in the jurisdiction where the factual issues as to its upbringing are decided, the dominant theme of the instrument is that the best interests of the child will be served by a prompt return to the country where it is habitually resident.

An anachronism in a changing world?

This flies in the face of all the other areas of judicial endeavour where children are involved; there is nothing in modern life, where mass movements of people, be they refugees, economic migrants, or simply warring families, that dictates that the restoration of a child to “familiar” surroundings is a good thing in its own right. Those familiar surroundings may have involved violence, war, poverty, disease, a whole range of pestilences that drove the child away in the first place; this is why appeals to family rights carry weight in asylum cases. This was the thrust of the AIRE centre’s intervention.  It cannot be logical for one Convention to restrain the government from returning refugees to countries where they face torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or the risk of an unfair trial, when another Convention requires that an abducting parent should be returned to face such a risk.

Yes, the Hague Convention may be primarily concerned with routing the factual assessment of the family situation back to the jurisdiction where the deserted parent abides, but in any cases where Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention predominates, a full factual analysis is (or should be) undertaken of the emotional, psychological, material and medical nature of the interests at stake; how then is this analysis to be barged aside when the case also involves an abduction? This is precisely why the Strasbourg Court said, in Neulinger , that Article 8 should be applied to any case being decided under the Hague Convention; it follows that

 a child’s return cannot be ordered automatically or mechanically when the Hague Convention is applicable. The child’s best interests, from a personal development perspective, will depend on a variety of individual circumstances, in particular his age and level of maturity, the presence or absence of his parents and his environment and experiences. . .. For that reason, those best interests must be assessed in each individual case.

In doing so, the Supreme Court complains, the Strasbourg Court

 gives the appearance of turning the swift, summary decisionmaking which is envisaged by the Hague Convention into the full-blown examination of the child’s future in the requested state which it was the very object of the Hague Convention to avoid.

Although it sticks in this blogger’s craw to defend the Strasbourg Court, for once, I think, that Court got it right. It is not, indeed, for the Strasbourg court to decide what the Hague Convention requires. Its role is to decide what the ECHR requires. But where another Convention appears to be undermining the very interests that are so vigilantly protected by the Human Rights Convention, then what is this judicial body to do? It is simply wishful thinking to suggest that Article 8 can never “trump” the Hague Convention; that in some inchoate way “they march hand in hand” (sic). How can they possibly be so compatible when, on the one hand, Article 8 prevents the return of families to destinations where they may not be entitled to  a certain level of healthcare, while, on the other,  the Hague Convention return obligation is only lifted if there is a “grave” risk of  harm? In the Supreme Court’s own words –

“grave” characterises the risk rather than the harm, there is in ordinary language a link between the two. Thus a relatively low risk of death orreally serious injury might properly be qualified as “grave” while a higher level of risk might be required for other less serious forms of harm. [italics mine]

Hmm. Put in context, the children in this case face being returned to a father who, allegedly, laid about them and tormented and killed family pets as a form of intimidation.  Are we seriously being asked to believe, as this judgment suggests we should believe, that this is the sort of “rough and tumble” that every child has to put up with (“it is part of growing up” (para 34)? There were all sorts of undertakings made by the father, to be sure, which led the original trial judge to make the order, but these were undertakings given to the English High Court which cannot be enforced in Norway. Even at the time of this appeal there were no orders yet made in the Norwegian courts. The fact that the Supreme Court had real concerns about the children and mother in this case is betrayed by their request to the Hague Conference to consider putting in place some sort of mechanism to ensure that protective orders and undertakings are enforced in the requesting state.

Let’s have some clarity on where the weight to be given to the child’s best interests in all the areas of legislative endeavour where this is relevant – terrorism, asylum, immigration, family and social welfare law. Without such clarity, it is hard to believe that Article 8 considerations are really being taken into account within the Hague Convention, rather than being paid mere judicial lip service.

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Parental Alienation Syndrome ( PAS ) – Repairing the child-parent relationship after traumatic separation / alienation

By Jeff Opperman, For Counseling Today

The concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome is pretty simple — one parent deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys, the previously healthy, loving relationship between his or her child and the child’s other parent. In a severe PAS case, the alienating parent and child work together to successfully eliminate the previously loved Mom or Dad from the child’s life. Their campaign is aimed at destroying Mom or Dad’s position as a loving parent and responsible adult.

Richard A. Gardner, a private practitioner and attending psychiatrist at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, coined the term Parental Alienation Syndrome almost 20 years ago to describe the breakdown of previously normal, loving parent/child relationship during divorce and child custody cases. However, the United States judicial system pays little, if any, attention to PAS. The legal and psychological communities, not to mention family members and well-meaning friends, often mistakenly dismiss PAS as the typical rancor associated with high-conflict divorce and child custody cases. With one of every two marriages ending in divorce, approximately 20 million children are already victims of mild, moderate or severe alienating behavior. Twenty-five million more children will likely face some form of PAS in their futures.

In a severe PAS case, unresolved psychological and emotional issues are at the foundation of the alienating parent’s destructive actions toward the previously loved other parent. “During a divorce, the alienating parent feels an intense level of abandonment and betrayal,” said David Israel, a Connecticut clinical psychologist who specializes in child advocacy and family mediation. “This parent’s main missions become filling the void left by the divorce and destroying a relationship that is loved and cherished by the other parent.

“The alienating parent uses his or her child to fill the emptiness in order to keep from feeling abandoned,” he added. “Emotionally speaking, the child sees the parent as a victim and feels obligated to take care of the parent. The child takes on much more than he or she should take on – worrying about the parent, defending the parent and making sure the parent is OK. During this time, the child becomes emotionally dependent on the alienating parent — looking to the parent for acknowledgement and praise on how well he or she is performing the new responsibilities. So you have a very unhealthy situation where the parent is emotionally dependent on the child and vice versa. This unhealthy dependency between parent and child is the foundation of PAS.”

The targeted parent is left mourning the loss of the child. The child isn’t dead, but a loving, caring, sensitive child is now an angry, bitter extension of the alienating parent. The love the alienated parent and child shared is gone. The alienated parent is desperate — willing to try anything to repair the relationship with the child. However, repairing that relationship with old behaviors and traditional family therapy is virtually impossible.

“The common goal of traditional family during a divorce is to help the divorcing spouses co-parent for the best interests of the child,” Israel said. “However, in PAS families, the parents do not have — nor do they share — that common goal. The severely alienating parent and child have their own agenda — they want to keep the targeted parent out of the child’s life. They may initially convince a competent therapist of the righteousness of their position, but a good clinician will discover inconsistencies in their story. When the parent and child realize the clinician is challenging them instead of passively listening and supporting them, they stop cooperating. At that point, the therapist must recommend more dramatic measures.”


How dramatic? In order for a severely alienated child to rebuild his or her relationship with the alienated parent, the child must be removed from the alienating parent’s sphere of influence. The child must live full-time with the alienated parent. The child can’t call, visit or have any contact with the alienating parent — until the child is strong enough to withstand that parent’s negative and destructive influence.


And the sound you just heard was many judges gasping in indignation and disbelief.

In today’s courtrooms, judges are unlikely to award custody of the child to the targeted parent and remove the child from the only place the child considers home. They believe such a radical course of action will somehow damage the child. Despite the fact that there is no clinical evidence to suggest that placing a severely alienated PAS child with his or her one emotionally healthy parent will harm the child, most judges would rather not further upset a child already reeling over the breakup of his or her family.

“No judge will take the necessary steps to address a severe case of PAS until a case is so bad that the child is completely alienated from the parent,” said Pamela Hoch, founder of the Rachel Foundation, a non-profit organization in Gaithersburg, Md., that specializes in reintegrating alienated children and parents. “Many times I tell a parent, ‘It must get worse before it can get better.’ Usually the child will act out excessively about visiting the alienated parent. The child may send the most toxic hate mail imaginable to the parent. A judge usually must see that type of behavior before he or she will consider taking the necessary draconian steps to successfully resolve the case.”

Reintegrating an alienated child and parent takes extensive physical contact — normal day-to-day contact — between the child and parent. The alienated child must rediscover a healthy, loving relationship with the alienated parent in order to eventually have loving relationships with both parents on his or her own terms. “In our program we take the view that alienated children aren’t unhealthy,” Hoch said. “These children are just trying to survive as hostages in an alienation situation. We don’t believe these children are sick.”

Any reintegration program first must overcome the child’s acting out and mistrust. Second, it must focus on education rather than therapy. Then the child and parent must rediscover good communication skills. Finally, the child must build bridges to a new life that includes the formerly alienated parent, the parent’s extended family and friends and, one day, the alienating parent.

The process begins after the judge gives the alienated parent full custody of the child. Transferring the child from the alienating parent to the alienated parent is often the most difficult, and stressful, part of the process for both child and parent.

In many cases, the local police department and child welfare agency must be notified before a transfer. A controlled environment during the transfer is essential on the practical, psychological and law enforcement levels. All children refuse to go in the beginning. A severely alienated child will scream during a transfer, “I’m being kidnapped; I’m being abducted.” A parent needs strong, knowledgeable and trained people along the route to ensure an orderly transfer to the parent’s home, a rented facility or even a hotel room. The goal should be to get the child into the new environment safely and as quickly as possible.

The alienated parent shouldn’t take part in the transfer. This way, the child doesn’t have the familiar target against whom to direct his or her anger and bad behavior. Instead, the child should deal with a facilitator — a neutral third party. A facilitator may be a mental health professional or may be someone working with a mental health professional. Typically, the Rachel Foundation uses someone older — a non-threatening grandfather or grandmother type — to explain to the child in very concrete, no-nonsense language, “This is happening, and there is nothing you can do about it. We know this is unpleasant for you, and we’re here to help you get through it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen or be any less unpleasant.”

Naturally, the facilitator must overcome the child’s mistrust. The child also needs to cool off and regain control of his or her emotions. A child may need anywhere from two hours to two weeks to cool down. During this part of the process, the facilitator should focus on education rather than on therapy. The facilitator needs to inform the child in age-appropriate language what will happen next. Much like a project manager in a business meeting, the facilitator should outline the goals, objectives and parameters of the project — breaking down larger objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks.

The alienated parent may or may not have contact with the child during the cooling-off period. However once the child calms down, the alienated parent should always be in the picture. The biggest hurdle is breaking down the child’s false beliefs about the alienated parent (i.e., the parent isn’t the violent, dangerous and untrustworthy monster the child believes the parent to be). The facilitator and other adults should take on this task through a series of age-appropriate reality checks. They must lead the child and parent through simple, normal everyday activities. And the tasks should be simple — getting dressed, doing laundry, making dinner, eating dinner together, cleaning up, going to movies, parks and museums. The child and parent should also watch each other interact with other people. This process benefits the parent as much as the child. Don’t forget, in some cases the parent and child haven’t been together in the same room for years. The parent often believes the child is the same child he or she knew before the alienation. That isn’t the case.


“In reality, no one can break down a child’s false reality except the child. But by engaging the child and parent in normal activities, the child gets to see for him or herself that the parent doesn’t fit the child’s long-held beliefs. That’s when the child’s false belief system starts to crumble,” Hoch said.


The parent and child’s work doesn’t end here. The two still must address the issues that led to their current relationship. The two can’t be fully reintegrated as long as one or both of them continues to sweep unresolved issues under a rug.

Bringing these issues out in the open is tricky. Negative comments about the alienating parent are never a good idea. In fact, the parent may resist saying anything that could damage the new, fragile parent/child relationship. And the child may not feel safe saying anything. Enter the facilitator. The facilitator should act as a communication conduit between the parent and child. When the child starts questioning the differences between his or her distorted memory and his or her new reality, the child will typically broach the subject with someone other than the parent first.

Ultimately, no one — not the facilitator, parent or anyone else — can change the child’s mind about what did or didn’t happen in the past. The only person who can do that is the child. And the only way the child can realize that his or her perception of the parent is wrong is to compare that perception with the new reality in front of his or her eyes. “It could take the child as much as a year for the child to open up to the parent about how he or she felt during the lost time. And finishing that conversation could take years,” Hoch said.

A successful reintegration does not guarantee a successful long-term relationship. The key to long-term success is the child and parent’s pre-PAS relationship. Were the two close? Did they have a healthy and strong bond? If the parent/child relationship was good, then their future looks bright.

Even when the child and parent shared a healthy pre-alienation relationship, their future could be complicated by something Hoch called “the pendulum effect.” If the court allows a child to re-establish contact with the alienating parent too soon, the child begins swinging wildly between the two parents. According to Hoch, the formerly alienated parent must remain calm during these swings and continue sending the child messages filled with love and support.

Another key factor in the long-term success of the reintegration process is bridge relationships. For example, a child alienated from his or her mother may have stayed close to an aunt — the mother’s sister. The aunt becomes the bridge relationship. Siblings also make excellent bridges. Bridge relationships are important because the “bridge” person has loving relationships with both the alienated child and the parent. The bridge person provides a much-needed reality check for a reintegrated child experiencing the pendulum effect. These relationships become particularly important to the long-term success of the reintegration process once the formerly alienated child turns 18 years old and is beyond the court’s jurisdiction.

Jeff Opperman can be reached at:
Parental Alienation Syndrome: The secret killer of parent-child relationships

By Jeff Opperman


Making a parent dangerous. PAS in Sweden and Norway
Av Lena Hellblom Sjögren


A Guide To The Parental Alienation Syndrome
By Stan Hayward


The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome
By Deirdre Conway Rand


PAS – Denial of the Parental Alienation Syndrome Also Harms Women
By Richard A. Gardner

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Norwegian/Maltese Child Abduction -Maltese father wins child ‘abduction’ case

Friday, 4th February 2011

Toddler to stay with dad after mum claims abduction

The young son of a couple who met on the internet will remain in Malta with his Maltese father after a court dismissed his Norwegian mother’s claim he had been abducted.

Madam Justice Anna Felice ruled the island was the child’s habitual residence after the couple had travelled to Malta intending to establish their residence here.

The child’s parents met over the internet in 2008 and the mother travelled to Malta and remained here until January the following year. On her return to Norway she discovered she was pregnant and the father moved to Norway to be with her.

Following the birth of the child in September 2009, the father found out the mother had another child from a previous marriage. This child had been removed from her care and placed in a foster home, the court heard.

The second child was born suffering from withdrawals from the medication the mother used to take and the Norwegian Social Services intervened. This led to both parents fearing the child would be taken away from them and they decided to leave Norway and come to Malta when the child was only a few days old.

They immediately had the child registered as a Maltese national and established a home together. However, their relationship ended last year and the father was awarded care and custody of the child in January 2010. The mother returned to Norway.

Claiming the father had abducted the child, she submitted a request to the Department for Standards in Social Protection for the child to be returned to Norway.

The father argued that, as he and the mother had come to Malta when their son was only a few days old intending to establish their residence here, this was not a case of child abduction.

The Family Court heard that, in terms of the Hague Convention on child abduction, no court was obliged to order the return of a child if the contesting parent had consented to the child travelling. Nor was the court obliged to order the return if this could expose the child to physical or psychological danger.

Madam Justice Felice noted it resulted from the evidence the couple had intended to establish their residence here and that this country constituted the child’s habitual residence. It also resulted that the mother suffered from mental illness and that her state of health was poor.

The court, therefore, refused the mother’s request to order the return of the child to Norway.

Source: Times Of Malta

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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What to do if a spouse make threats of international child abduction

You May Need to Be Prepared

When a divorce is messy and there is fear that one spouse may try to kidnap the child, it’s best to be prepared. In other words, never take lightly the threat of a spouse. If they say they’re going to take the child, contact the police. According to data from the United States Department of State, since the late 1970’s approximately 16,000 children have either been abducted from the United States and taken out of the country, or prevented by one of their parents from returning to the United States. Once a child is taken from the United States, it is a complicated procedure to regain possession of the child. Therefore, it’s always best to seek out the assistance of a divorce attorney who can help you with legal options. If you have suspicions that your child might be abducted, consider the following:

  • Notify your child’s school if there is a threat of child abduction by the non-custodial parent.
  • Make sure any teacher or babysitter is instructed that they are not to allow anyone to leave with your child unless that person has been authorized in accordance with a court order.
  • Speak with a divorce lawyer before taking any measures to be sure you’re within your legal rights.
  • Keep a record of any threats by writing them down.
  • Keep an updated photo of your child each month as well as any identifying physical characteristics of your child.

If you think your child has been abducted to another country, call the police immediately to determine whether that particular country is a member of the Hague Convention and seek the guidance of an attorney who can submit an application for assistance under the Hague Convention.

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