Re: Parential Alienation (PAS)
My husband, who has three children, and I have been married for 5 years now. The entire time I have known him he has been dealing with parental alienation.
He was divorced in 2002 and the ex-wife and children moved in with her parents. This is where she and the daughter still live. At the time of the divorce the children were a daughter, age 10, a son age 5, and a son age 2.
Before I came into the picture the alienation was already going on for almost two years. It started out with his ex changing the last name of his children to her maiden name. The kids used this name at school (private), church, dance, and anywhere they used their last name. She even put this name on prescriptions for their drugs. She changed the middle son’s first name to the name of her father even though his birth certificate said otherwise. The children thought that was their name and would argue about it and tell their dad that "he was trying to ruin their life if he made them use the correct last name" and that "all divorced children use their mom's name", etc. She would also schedule them in so many activities that they could not make most of their visitations, thus shutting my husband out of their lives. He didn't want to tell them they were not allowed to go to the activities because he thought they would see him as the bad guy so he gave in each and every time. The ex-wife preyed on this and it made an even bigger monster out of her and she continued to schedule the children in more and more events so they could not see their dad. Sometimes she just flat out lied about activities like “special” or “mandatory” practices so that she could deny him his time with the children. We would later find out that these “special” practices had not really been scheduled but this was always after the fact.
The behavior got worse and by the time we had been married about a year she was so obsessed with denying his visitation that she falsely accused him and made a report to the state police that he had molested his youngest child, a boy, at the time age 3. The report was ruled unfounded and the state police saw through what she was doing but not before we had to go through the investigation process. This was in November 2004.
Things progressively got worse and pretty soon the children were so alienated that they would say they didn't want to see their father. They would parrot the mom and repeat all of her negative allegations against the father. They would run away from our house after she text messaged the daughter and then she would pick them up in our neighborhood and state that she “just happened to be driving by and saw them running down the street”.
At first I tried to get along with the ex but as her behavior progressed I soon got tired of her and began to ignore her. She taught the children to "come to our house and try to make us fight and to cause trouble"; especially the daughter, who was aligned with the mother totally. The middle son was also very aggressive toward us and would say horrible things to us and would side with the daughter. The youngest son was always an innocent bystander because of his age and most likely his lack of understanding of what was going on.
She had blocked all access to medical, school, and extra curricular activities and my husband was lied on and said to not pay child support even though she was getting $1400 per month in CS, another $750 in alimony, and he even paid part of the private tuition for his children. He also provided health and dental insurance and paid 1/2 of all uncovered medical expenses. She also told people that I beat up the daughter and went as far as making a false police report and emergency room visit to document this. She told people that my husband was a "dead beat dad" and a child molester. When we tired to attend events that we would find out about we were treated horribly by other parents. Most events we found out about after the fact but the children were told that "their mom had given their dad a schedule but he had not shown up". We even went to the school about the last name issue but was told that “there was nothing they could do without a court order”. Who ever heard of having to have a court order for children to use their legal name?
When we did attend events or see the children in public they were not allowed to speak to us and if we tried they appeared to be very uncomfortable with us being there so there were times that we left during an event or just decided to not attend due to it being better for them.
The ex-wife and her family had basically shut my husband out of his children's lives for the most part.
In Nov 2005 we filed our first petition for a change of custody. It took until June 2007 to get to court on that one because the ex's attorney kept dragging it out. She and her family lied so many times on the stand, yet nothing was done to them, and somehow the judge always believed her. One time the judge stated that "she was a more credible witness", when we knew that she had LIED. We even had to pay some of her attorney fees due to her lies. It was hard to swallow and sometimes we thought of giving up and not seeing the children.
We thought of not seeing them due to many factors:
1. Was it causing them more harm than good to see them and put them through more alienation by her?
2. The financial burden.
3. What was this doing to them mentally?
4. Just getting fed up with the system and frustrated beyond belief because nothing ever happened to her and she was never called down for her bad behavior.
Each time we were ready to give up we would think about how much we loved the kids and wanted to see them and how the mean things they said were not their thoughts and I always felt that they loved their dad but was only acting out what the mom told them to say and do. Each time we choose to keep fighting. Even our attorney would tell us the chances of getting custody were maybe 2% at best. Mothers have the upper hand and it is hard to prove some of this stuff especially if the children lie for the mother even against their own father.
I am also a divorced mother with a son the same age as my step-daughter and was appalled and in disbelief at what was going on. I would never have acted this way and my divorce was not exactly friendly at the time it happened. My son even suffered because the ex-wife contacted my ex-husband and told him that my new husband was molesting my son and my ex made my son get counseling that was not needed. I finally let my son go back to live with his dad since the stress at my house was so severe that he wanted to move. We now share joint custody and he has a step-mom of his own who is very good to him and who I have encouraged him to love and respect. The problem is that I always tried to rationalize this when it is not rational behavior so I was always just amazed at what the ex-wife would do. This was manipulation at its best.
In June 2007 when we got to court the judge slapped the ex-wife’s wrist and gave my husband more visitations with the children but she still had custody of them. Things did not change and she ignored the court order just like she had the one previous to it.
In February 2008 we filed another petition for a change of custody and this time we got custody of the two younger children, the two boys. The daughter stayed with the mother because the court said that “it was not in the best interests of her due to her being more alienated than the sons”. The alienation continued and the ex-wife interfered with the boys at our home attempting to enforce her rules on our house. She became more abusive and more advanced in her behavior so in August 2008 we filed contempt of court on her. She in turn filed for custody of the boys back and asked for “restricted” visitation for my husband with the children. She also accused me of turning the children against their mother and sister, which was a lie. I always tell them that their mother loves them, even though I don’t even believe this myself. She only uses them.
We have not gone back to court on this one yet but the court appointed psychologist, who has evaluated this case each time it has gone to court, starting with the divorce, has recommended that the boys be left in our home and that it is now time for the daughter to be removed from the mother’s home and custody be awarded of all three children to my husband.
To date we have spent over $100,000 in attorney fees; most of which I have paid for by doing extra work or took out of $ I had prior to the marriage. If my husband does any extra work he would have to pay CS on that $ so I do it so we can use the money to fight for the kids.
I would love to tell you the entire story and talk to anyone who has experienced this type of situation. My friends and family think I am crazy for remaining in this marriage with all of this going on but I love my husband and his children and none of this is their fault.
I am actually considering writing a book about this case so that other step-parents will know that they are not alone in this.
Our attorney said this is the worst case that she has ever dealt with and they say the hate the ex-wife. I would love to hear your story too.