End Family Court Trauma


Impaired caregiver

Family court dockets are bulging with "high conflict" custody disputes.  However, these cases  are NOT about custody but are serious domestic abuse and child abuse cases that warrant immediate protection.  The conflict and abuse is most often driven and escalated by one parent with a an unrecognized relationally destructive mental health impairment.  The most common illnesses in family court fall into the Cluster B Personality Disorders, particularly narcissistic and/or borderline personality disorder.  While most of us can emphasize with a parent who is impaired, the primary issue in these cases is to protect the children and the targeted parent from their chronic emotional abuse and neglect.   Family court professionals must be trauma informed and use the scientific knowledge and evidence of personality disorders to safeguard the family and while still allowing the child to have a relationship with both parents.

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Domestic Abuse

 By the time dysfunctional families enter into family court the healthy parent has suffered from being the target of the other parent’s need for power and control.  The marriage and now the divorce is one of an abuser-victim relationship.  The targeted parent shows signs of complex post traumatic stress disorder or psychological trauma from the prolonged interpersonal emotional abuse.  

Family courts routinely misinterpret the targeted parent’s symptoms of trauma as evidence of emotional instability. This perception along with the high-conflict parent’s manipulation of the children and the court results in re-traumatizing the targeted parent and often awarding placement to the abusive parent.



Child psychological Maltreatment

Child psychological maltreatment is emotional abuse and neglect.  High-conflict family court in and of itself is emotionally harmful to children because of the prolonged time in which their parents are embroiled in conflict. 

A hallmark of severe child psychological abuse and neglect by the high-conflict parent/caregiver is that he or she will triangulate the child into a cross generational coalition against the targeted parent.  This means that the child is coerced to align with the more powerful parent and devalue and discard the other parent.  The only way a child can tolerate the trauma of being forced to reject a loving parent is to suppress his or her secure attachment to that parent and resist contact.  This behavior is misinterpreted by the court as evidence that the targeted parent has done something to deserve to be rejected.