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Does California recognize Parental Alienation Syndrome in Family Court?

Los Angeles, CA |

My daughter has a bad relationship with her mother. Her mother has "sustained allegations of child abuse, neglect, and endangerment" in Children's Court (Dependency Court). She is 15 years old and does not want to see her mother. I have been taking my daughter to therapy with her mother (conjoin therapy) even though our daughter does not want it. Recently her mother, again, tried to physically attack our daughter (2nd time this year) and I had to physically restrain her. Now she, through her attorney, is accusing me of Parental Alienation because our daughter does not want to see her mother after the attempted assault. Is PAS recognized in California? What would her attorney have to do to prove it? If I lose custody our daughter goes into foster care, since mother cannot have custody.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Yes the court's recognize parental alienation syndrome (PAS) also there are restrictions against conduct that is alienating such as "disparagement" of the other parent. The distinction being that PAS requires a clinical assessment whereas disparagement, interference etc is not. The courts may find evidence of alienation (using the word loosely) based on your conduct however to prove actual PAS a licensed clinician must make the assessment. A possibility is the court may order a 730 evaluation which may cost about 3000.00

    What you describe here dictates you need to see an experienced family lawyer.


  2. Yes, Parental Alienation Syndrome is recognized, however the allegations must be evidence based. If there are substantiated abuse charges against the mother, any rulings in the Dependency Court will trump family law rulings. You should contact an attorney to assist you in the defense of the PAS allegations. You may wish to request the appointment of minor's counsel so that the child has an advocate. Minor's counsel may be able to dispute some of the allegations against you as well.

    The response above does not form an attorney-client relationship. This answer may or may not apply to you and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

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