Jonathan Merel

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

parental alienation

Parental alienation syndrome is a growing concern paralleling the rise of divorce and children born out of wedlock over the past few decades. This relatively new phenomenon has spiked major disputes from both the legal and psychological communities as to how to identify and manage the condition. 

Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is considered “brainwashing” because one parent will routinely talk about the other parent to the child in a derogatory manner to the point that the child begins to harbor the same beliefs. This manipulative behavior can be highly destructive and can cause long-term detriment to parent/child relationships. It can also have a negative impact on the child’s psychological development.

However, neither parental alienation syndrome nor parental alienation disorder have been added to the latest addition of the DSM-V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders), creating more legal challenges for families with whom this effects. The DSM-V has made headways identifying similar components of PAS, such as deliberate coercive tactics to incite hostility and estrangement under the auspices of “child psychological abuse,” and “parent-child relational problem” but has yet to identify PAS by name.

Though Illinois does recognize the existence of parental alienation syndrome, there are not specific statutes in place to identify proof and what recourse to take. Even though the psychological community has not named parental alienation syndrome as a mental disorder, the long term psychological effects are apparent to anyone who has experienced the syndrome or is going through this type of experience. That is why lawmakers, family law attorneys and judges alike find it necessary to advocate on the child’s behalf and make sure the appropriate steps are taken to abate the abuse in such instances.

It is absolutely paramount to discuss any concerns regarding parental alienation syndrome with your family law attorney. Whether the behavior has been going on for years or has just recently begun, it is vital to seek intervention to salvage your chance of rectifying the situation. Furthermore, it may be helpful to seek professional treatment for the minor child in order to assist with the highly sensitive nature of this issue.

  • Best Law Firms 2021
  • Leading Lawyer
  • Expertise 2020
  • Nations Top 2020
  • Three Best Rated 2020
  • Attorney and Practice 2020
  • Avvo Top Attorney Merel
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Lawyers of Distinction
  • Nation's Top One Percent
  • Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2017
  • Avvo Reviews
  • Avvo Top Attorney
  • Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2017
  • Avvo Reviews
  • Attorney and Practice 2019
  • Best Lawyers
  • Leading Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers
  • Top 3 Rated
  • Avvo Top Attorney
  • Avvo Reviews
  • Premier Lawyers of America

Contact the Firm Today

for a Case Consultation 
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.