Parent Alienation Syndrome

Live at Five’s board certified family attorney, Sonya Coffman, answers questions submitted by Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers. These questions include:

  • What is parent alienation syndrome?


Well a great deal of confusing controversy surrounding issue of parental alienation syndrome. Live at Five’s family attorney Sonya Coffman joins us now with more and I guess we should start with what exactly is parent alienation syndrome. It is a term used to describe an intense dislike at the child towards one of the parents, and it's when this occurs when there's no logical explanation for that feeling in the behavior, and it often manifests in terms in not wanting to visit the other parent, not having respect for that other parent it’s a really tough situation to deal with. So how can it be monitored? Well I think what the counselors in the psychologists can help with is trying to get to the bottom of why the child feels that way if it's behavior on the part of the parent. That is the author the opposite parent right then that’s something that needs to be addressed because sometimes parents can convey subtle messages about the way they feel about the other parent without meaning to, and sometimes it's deliberate by making the comments and criticizing the behavior of the other parent and it's a very detrimental thing for the child something that parents should work hard to avoid so do kids get counseling yes counselors can help with that psychologists can help with that and if it's extreme if a parent is found to be at fault in causing that behavior or contributing to it he can sometimes be a means by which custody is changed so it’s tough yeah it is tough looks like a long tedious process to get to that point to figure out that that's exactly what it is we have some of those cases I mean do you see some of those we do we see them more often than we used to when kids just flat refuse to go for visitation and it puts the uh... primary parent in a bad spot because they have a court order that has to be followed but they have a child that's just saying I'm not going and you have to figure out what's going on and often counseling will help with that so folks if they are dealing with something like that they need to get some counseling I think so yes we’ve got a question and there's a same sex divorce case before the Court of Appeals and Dallas it’s an interesting legal argument Texas Constitution and the Texas Defense of Marriage Act prevents same sex unions and marriages in this state so why should Texas courts grant same sex divorces or do they that's a good question there's a test case on appeal in the Court of Appeals in Dallas and the attorney general of the state of Texas has intervened in that case saying that it is a constitutional challenge that we cannot our courts cannot grant divorces when we do not accept that as a valid marriage but on the other hand the full faith and credit clause says that Texas has to give credents to the laws of other states even if be different from our own so Texas court's grant divorces all the time for people who were married in another states where the laws are different so it's an interesting question whether this will be treated differently from those cases so just only time will tell time will tell on that one I think it's going to see probably be at the constitutional challenge in the next few years well Sonya thanks so much for stopping by and offering your advice we appreciate it and if you have a question about family law all you need to do is send us your questions you can mail them to us you can fax them at eight nine two seven three oh five or email them to