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Video: Cordell & Cordell News – August 22, 2014

Cordell & Cordell along with its sponsored sites, DadsDivorce and MensDivorce, present a news video for the week of August 22, 2014.

This week, Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joseph Cordell contributed a column on parental alienation to The Huffington Post. DadsDivorce took a look at preparing kids for going back to school after a divorce. MensDivorce launched a new video series called Attorney Bites.

Joe Cordell Discusses Parental Alienation in The Huffington Post

huffington postParental alienation, or the action of one parent to manipulate a child away from the other parent, is a subject more widely recognized today than even just a few years ago.

In a new column for The Huffington Post titled “Is Your Ex Turning Your Child Against You?” Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner and Founder Joe Cordell discussed parental alienation and its impact on many fathers.

In the article, Mr. Cordell mentioned his 25 years of experience in representing men and seeing many situations in which one parent will let personal feelings damage the relationship between a child and the other parent.

“This can be done subtly and unintentionally through occasional belittling comments, to active and malicious ‘brainwashing’ with the intent to replace any love the child may have for the other parent with hate,” wrote Mr. Cordell. “Alienation can be cataclysmic during such an emotional time as divorce.”

Mr. Cordell also pointed out that, in the majority of situations, the primary custodial parent tends to be the person who contributes to parental alienation if it exists. Because many fathers are non-custodial parents, they often become the victim of such alienation.

He made sure to note that those parents who feel that they or their children are suffering from parental alienation should certainly complete every parental obligation that exists and seek the help of a psychologist familiar with the condition.

Read more from Mr. Cordell’s Huffington Post column.

Keeping kids out of the divorce drama

It can be difficult to keep children out of all of the drama associated with a divorce, but columnist James Windell of Staten Island Live warns parents that purposefully turning a child against an ex-spouse can create unneeded conflict.

In attempting to enlist a child as an ally in a divorce, knowingly or unknowingly, the anger, resentment and bitterness can make it difficult to co-parent. Sometimes, parents think they are helping their children better understand the divorce or separation by discussing issues honestly and openly, but the result can create conflict for a child as they feel pulled in two directions.

“No matter how they try to justify giving their child too much information about the other parent or about the divorce, the intent is to attempt to get their child to side with them,” Windell explained.

In the face of divorce, children and teenagers can experience anxiety, stress, depression and resentment toward one or both of their parents. The added pressure from a parent can be manipulative and harmful.

Mothers may often be guilty of sharing too much information with children in the face of separation. According to a study at the University of Arizona, most mothers discussed their financial situations and complained about their ex-husbands to their daughters during a divorce.

Proving Parental Alienation Syndrome

Missouri Lawyers Weekly recently published an article by Allison Retka that looks at the difficulties of admitting accusations of Parental Alienation Syndrome into the courtroom during child custody battles.

Among the several professionals quoted in the article, Cordell & Cordell divorce attorney Scott Trout, weighed in on the subject. Trout explained that because Parental Alienation Syndrome is not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Orders it is not a recognized psychological syndrome to the extent that it is admissible in court.

“That’s your struggle,” the article quotes Trout as saying. “You can prove conduct. You can have the child interviewed by psychologists. But you’re not necessarily trying to prove [PAS’s] scientific validity.”

The Cordell & Cordell partner explains that while you might want to ask the expert if the child in question is in fact suffering with what some might diagnose as Parental Alienation Syndrome, “I would never ask an expert [that]. You’re crossing a slippery slope.”