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Parental Alienation IS a Crime!

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Dr. Michelle Golland: A Nassau County Supreme Court justice has sentenced a mother to six weekends in jail for civil contempt. Per the judge, the guilty mom -- Lauren Lippe --engaged in a pattern of "alienating" behavior wherein she made false allegations of sexual abuse against her children's father, Ted Rubin -- allegations that were calculated to interfere with her ex-husband's scheduled time and relationship with their children.

Ted Rubin with her daughters

"The extensive record is replete with instances of attempts to undermine the relationship between the children and their father and replace him with her new husband," Justice Robert Ross stated in his ruling. "[These instances included]manipulation of the defendant's parenting access, utter and unfettered vilification of the defendant to the children, false reporting of sexual misconduct without any semblance of 'good faith,' and her imposition upon the children to fear her tirades and punishment if they embrace the relationship they want to have with their father."

"Parental alienation" is the practice of mentally manipulating or bullying your own children with the express goal of damaging their relationship with their other parent. Both parental alienation and its related practice, "hostile aggressive parenting," deprive children of the stable and loving relationships they need when coping with divorce (and life in general).

Children who are emotionally bullied by one parent in order to hurt the other can develop a severe opposition to contact with and/or overt hatred for the target parent. Often, there seems to be no logical reason for the children's behavior.

During the crisis of divorce, it is key to keep the peace between the parents so the children don't feel like they're in the middle of the conflict. Let's face it: The couple is divorcing each other, but they should not be divorcing their children. Healthy, reasonable parents want their children to feel emotionally safe with both parents; they desire to strengthen their children's bonds with both parents even through the divorce. Healthy parents encourage visits with their exes, never talk negatively about them in the presence of their children and honestly try to set aside their own hostile feelings in order to help their children feel less distress. Healthy parents are sensitive to their children's feelings and needs, and encourage positive feelings toward their exes because they know that's paramount to their kids' well-being now and in the future.

Alienating parents, on the other hand, may seek emotional comfort from their children and attempt to validate their pain and anger against their ex-spouses by trying to get their children to align with them and them alone. They speak negatively of their exes and subtly communicate their anger in front of the children. Alienating parents often manipulate and use their children to hurt their exes on purpose -- and with a vengeance. They may tell their children that their other parent doesn't love them or doesn't want to see them. They may destroy or hide communication from the other parent. They may give in to their children's desire to avoid the parent, actually encouraging such behavior instead of encouraging their children to have a healthy relationship with their ex.

Signs of Parental Alienation
  • Children perceive one parent as causing financial problems for the other parent.
  • Children have knowledge of the divorce details or legal procedures.
  • Children show a sudden hostile, negative change in attitude toward target parent.
  • Children are not delivered for court-ordered visitation and/or are not allowed to "choose" to visit the target parent.
  • False allegations of abuse are made against the target parent.
  • Children are asked to choose one parent over the other.
  • Anger and negativity toward target parent is reinforced.
  • Children are given the impression that if they have a good time with the target parent during a visit, it will hurt them.
  • Children are asked about the target parent's personal life.
  • Children are "rescued" from the target parent when there is no danger.
In regards to parental alienation, the judge in the New York decision stated, "... Interference with the non-custodial parent and child's relationship is an act so inconsistent with the best interests of a child, as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the offending party is unfit to act as a custodial parent."

Judge Ross found Lauren Lippe in civil contempt of court and ordered her to spend every other weekend in the Nassau County Correctional Facility during June, July and August. My hope is that during this time, she receives psychotherapy and education regarding the pain and damage she has inflicted upon her children.

What can we learn from this horrible situation? We can learn that it took years of inappropriate conduct on the part of the mother, $165,000 in attorneys' fees and an unquantifiable amount of damage to the relationship between her ex and his children before the court would punish this type of behavior. The father is now going to be asking for full custody of his children; however, the psychological damage done to the kids in this case may make it impossible for them to ever bond with their father -- which is the biggest tragedy in this case. Only time away from their mother's influence will make the idea of a healthy relationship with their father possible.

It's important to recognize the negative emotional consequences of parental alienation on children in high-conflict divorce, and that's why I advocate for divorce therapy for all of my divorcing clients who have children. My goal is to avoid this type of harmful behavior and educate my clients about ways to create a peaceful and less stressful experience for their mutual children.

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debbie May 7, 2011, 7:05 AM

The National Association of Securities Dealers levied a $650,000 fine against First Fidelity Capital and its president, Ted Lawrence Rubin, and permanently barred the firm from dealing with NASD for allegedly overcharging customers. Ted Rubin scammed the public once with penny stock fraud and scammed the courts, his children, and his ex wife with this

debbie May 7, 2011, 7:32 AM

The National Association of Securities Dealers levied a $650,000 fine against First Fidelity Capital and its president, Ted Lawrence Rubin, and permanently barred the firm from dealing with NASD for allegedly overcharging customers. Ted Rubin is a scam artist who scammed the the public with penny stock fraud and now he scammed the legal system and the press with this

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Morinda May 26, 2011, 3:29 PM

Yes, THERE ARE REAL CASES OF ABUSE. There are ALSO FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AND OTHER FALSE ALLEGATIONS such as claiming a father isn’t paying child support when he is. I know because I’m a second wife who lives with my husband’s extreme financial difficulties because just about all his monies go to his ex (I see the deposits faithfully go to her account every month). Yet I have heard directly the children screaming at us saying their mom told them that their dad doesn’t pay child support. We are facing foreclosure and years of debts while she lives in a house three times the rent of our current rented one, due to honestly paying child support every month, plus all medical expenses as well for the children. They have also told us they have been told he doesn’t do that.

The ex was fine with the children staying with the father. Until he started dating me. But even then, she would even leave them with him and me whenever she wanted to go on holidays (she did not work, so hmmm… how did she pay for trips to the Caribbean and other exotic locales a few times a year if not with child support money???) But when he married me, then ‘repressed memories’ began in the children of ‘abuse’10-15 years after the ‘fact’.

One child actually told her father that mother had told her that it had to be her father, so the girl started having ‘nightmares’ of the so-called abuse. NOT BEFORE THAT. The ex would also tell people I was harming her kids, yet leave them with me and her ex-husband when she wanted to go on holidays??? What sort of mother would do leave her children with supposed ‘known’ abusers??? She told the kids I broke up their marriage when I DID NOT EVEN KNOW OF THEIR EXISTENCE until their divorce was finalised.

It’s things like these which tell you, yes, there are real cases of parental alienation and false abuse allegations, alongside real ones. So, just judge each case by the facts. Furthermore, as a person who has been physically abused before, I KNOW when children are afraid of a parent, and I do not see those behaviors in these children, UNTIL THEIR MOTHER CALLS, and SUDDENLY, they are crying and afraid of their father.

And in this case, I even heard from some of the children and found other evidence by the children talking about fears of being killed or being disowned by their mother and losing their other siblings, or of being the cause of their mother’s suicide if they wanted to spend time with their father.


Morinda May 26, 2011, 3:48 PM

Parental alienation isn’t a a gender thing, it’s not a men-versus-women thing. It can happen and be perpetrated by BOTH FATHERS AND MOTHERS. So, women, those of you who are doing so, please don’t play it up as a gender issue.

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