Your Authoritative Source on Singapore Law

Parental Alienation Syndrome: Is It Valid?

Jennifer Teoh, Grace S Chng & Chi Meng Chu

(2018) 30 SAcLJ 727

Parental alienation syndrome (“PAS”) is a controversial theory which has been increasingly used in child custody battles before family courts in overseas jurisdictions. This article begins with defining PAS, and elaborates on its use in cases seen in Australia, the UK, and the US. It then proceeds to discuss the scientific, ethical, diagnostic and legal issues related to PAS. The article concludes that the acceptance and indiscriminate use of PAS may be dangerous in the medical and legal arenas, as it may result in a failure to comprehensively investigate abuse allegations, and a failure to account for complex family dynamics in custody decisions. Ultimately, a child-centric approach, rooted in comprehensive family assessment and interventions, should be recommended in child custody cases.