Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Litigation Abuse, Parental Alienation and the Family Court

The above link connects you to a free guide entitled  " A Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases" prepared by the Family Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

C. [§3.3] A Word of Caution about Parental Alienation

Under relevant evidentiary standards, the court should not accept testimony regarding

parental alienation syndrome, or “PAS.” The theory positing the existence of PAS has been

discredited by the scientific community. In Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999),

the Supreme Court ruled that even expert testimony based in the “soft sciences” must meet

the standard set in the Daubert case. Daubert, in which the court re-examined the

standard it had earlier articulated in the Frye case, requires application of a multi-factor

test, including peer review, publication, testability, rate of error, and general acceptance.

PAS does not pass this test. Any testimony that a party to a custody case suffers from the

syndrome or “parental alienation” should therefore be ruled inadmissible and stricken from

the evaluation report under both the standard established in Daubert and the earlier Frye


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