Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Proposed law on alienation testimony

Glenn Sacks writes:
My new co-authored column, "AB 612 Will Make It Harder to Protect Children from Parental Alienation" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/2/07), criticizes a new California bill which will make it harder for noncustodial parents to protect their relationships with their children after a divorce or separation. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee in next week.

The bill would discourage mental health professionals from issuing findings of Parental Alienation in divorce/custody cases. It would also make it more difficult for target parents to get courts to order psychological evaluations as part of child custody investigations.
I usually agree with Glenn Sacks on these issues, but Calif AB 612 doesn't seem so bad to me. It requires a showing a "good cause" for a family court judge to order
psychological testing, and for a child custody evaluator to present more thorough details on his procedures and results.

It is true that there is no recognized psychological test for Parental Alienation (PA), but there are recognized psychological tests for making custody recommendations either. Much of what the custody evaluators do is completely bogus. The more that they are required to justify their actions, the better.

Sacks is correct that PA is a "common, well-documented phenomenon in divorce". It means one parent manipulating a child to dislike the other parent. A lot of divorced parents do it, with moms doing it much more than dads. Custody evaluators are often then fooled into thinking that the child has a better relationship with the mom than the dad, and recommend that the mom be given primary custody. I would rather just get rid of the custody evaluators, in most cases.

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