Family ripped picture of family holding hands at sunset Parental alienation syndrome, also referred to often as malicious parent syndrome, or PAS, is an unfortunate reality for so many divorcing families or parents going through a custody litigation. Parental alienation syndrome occurs when one parent intentionally seeks to create, foster or encourage a negative feeling against the other parent.  The objective is to damage the relationship between the child or children and that parent.  There are 17 signs of parental alienation syndrome that you should familiarize yourself with if you believe that you are experiencing parental alienation syndrome.  These signs generally include badmouthing the other parent, interfering with parenting time, confiding in the child against the other parent, withholding important information about the child or taking steps to disassociate the child from the targeted parent.

Parental Alienation Syndrome In Court

When matters are pending before the court and there are claims of Parental Alienation Syndrome, the court will routinely want to hear from experts on the matters concerning the allegations of alienation and whether those claims are valid. In New Jersey, when pertaining to issues concerning the children, the court will use the best interests standard.  Determining whether parental alienation syndrome or malicious parent syndrome is present generally involves experts to evaluate the situation and meet with all of the parties including the children.  At times, the court may even want to speak directly to the children. Courts take an aggressive position against parental alienation syndrome.  In New Jersey, Courts encourage both parents to have equal involvement in their children’s lives, but more importantly, promote the maintenance of the child’s health and well being, which is impaired in situations where parental alienation syndrome is present.

Malicious Parent Syndrome

Malicious parent syndrome, often referred to as malicious father syndrome or malicious mother syndrome, goes beyond parental alienation syndrome and generally involves certain criteria, which includes perpetual interference with custody and parenting time, extreme behavior toward the other parent, which often includes attempts to punish that parent, often rising to the level of criminal in nature, and the absence of another mental impairment or disorder that would be the cause for the behavior. 

Severe parental alienation syndrome cases oftentimes include Narcissistic Parental Alienation syndrome,  which is slightly different in that this process of alienation involves a narcissistic behavior or attitude by the parent.


Parental alienation syndrome treatment involves interactions between the parent and child typically in a therapy setting. Rehabilitation and reunification between the parent and the child is possible if everyone is willing to work together, once the issue is identified.

Parental alienation syndrome can have long lasting consequences on families. Do not hesitate if you believe you are experiencing PAS. Contact our legal professionals today at DeTorres & DeGeorge to discuss examples of parental alienation, side effects of parental alienation and how you prove parental alienation. Call us today to explore how to recognize and cope with parental alienation and understand how to identify and prevent parental alienation. Make sure you have the information that you need to protect yourself and your children in the event that you become a target of parental alienation.


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