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Is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) recognized in Idaho? Is it enough to change a custody order?

Boise, ID |

Kids live with dad full time in Idaho, visit mom in Wa. state during the summer. When mom has the kids she tells dad they don't want to talk to him, she tells the them that they can't trust their dad and when they come home they are angry and confused. It takes 6 months to get them back to where they were before they left and then we have to let them go again the following year and the same thing happens again. Is there a remedy to this? Can dad petition the court to modify visitation? How does he prove PAS?

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Parental Alienation Syndrome has not been "recognized" in any published case to date. However, the damage to children resulting from parental alienation is well known to Idaho judges, including the justices of the Idaho Supreme Court. There is no category for it in the list of "best interests" factors, but it is relevant to more than one listed factor. In Doe v. Doe, 149 Idaho 669 (2010), the alienation was proven by audiotapes of telephone and personal conversations collected by the father. In that case the modification from joint legal/primary physical in mother to sole legal/primary physical in father was upheld by the Supreme Court. In oral argument it became clear that the justices were very concerned about the recorded alienation.

    In order to set up the modification for maximum chances of success, you would be wise to work with an experienced family law practitioner to build your evidence, which might include professional interviewing of the children when they return from visits. The ages of the children, which you don't mention, could be significant in efforts to document the inappropriate comments.

    Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

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