Parental Alienation Syndrome Law and Legal Definition

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a term used in child custody cases to describe one parent's manipulation of a child to harm the other parent. It may involve rejecting (spurning), terrorizing, corrupting, denying essential stimulation, emotional responsiveness or availability, unreliable and inconsistent parenting, mental health, medical or educational neglect, degrating/devaluating the other parent, isolating, and exploiting the child. The alienator parent seeks to alienate the victims from other family members and social supports. There is a conscious or concerted effort to disrupt the child’s affectionate relationship with the other parent and co-opt all of the child’s affection on to oneself. In PAS, the children are used to destroy the targeted parent as a means of revenge.

PAS involves a combination of a brainwashing by the alienator parent and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. PAS is not currently considered a syndrome by the American Psychological Association. Other terms used may include “medea syndrome”, “implacable hostility”, or the “malicious mother syndrome”.