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February 6, 2012 - Parental Alienation attempts cost mother custody and $552,123.28.  This case from the sixth district court of appeals in California was published last Thursday.   It is a textbook example of attempting to use the court system to destroy the kid’s relationship with their father.  In the end the interference cost the mother custody and half a million dollars.  Since the case is published it may be cited as precedent in other California cases.  If you are dealing with these issues in another state you may want to ask your judge to take ‘judicial notice’ of this ruling.

The case involves a wealthy couple where the father had resources available to see the suit through to completion.   While most fathers are unable to afford this type of litigation the opinion and timeline provide excellent insights on both the mother’s behavior and court’s view of that behavior.  This case reinforces the idea that for fathers to be successful they need to document everything.  If you are experiencing access interference and alienating behavior, there is much to be learned from the court opinion.

Note in the final sentence of the court’s ruling two of the mother’s attorneys are also sanctioned.  One of those attorneys has been sanctioned numerous times by the courts yet is still touted by the domestic violence industry as a leading authority on the issues. 

Dr. Loretta Wahl was divorced from her husband in 1999.  The couple has two pre-teen children.  In part the mother claimed to be a domestic violence victim, leading to a claim of disability entitling her to an advocate in court under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  She goes on to state the disability renders her cognitively impaired therefore unable to abide by the settlement agreements she signed.  By the way, those documents actually gave her joint legal and sole physical custody of the children with the father having visitation.  She wasn’t satisfied and didn’t stop there.

At the same time the mother was repudiating California court orders she was attempting to shift jurisdiction of the case to Pennsylvania.  Dad was forced into two-state litigation.  After six years of ongoing litigation the appellate court issued an opinion that will hopefully send a strong signal to the lower courts to stop tolerating this type of behavior.  Even further we appreciate the court taking exception to two attorneys’ attempts to ‘game’ the system.  Perhaps in the not too distant future attorneys who assist clients in this fashion will routinely be disbarred.

Thanks to Jim C. for the heads up on this case.