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Keeping Families Connected

 Resources for families dealing with high conflict divorce and parental alienation

A Father's Journey: Parental Alienation, Divorce
and Loss of Child Custody

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I am a very private person. It may not seem like it when you review this Parental Alienation Resource site and realize how much of my personal journey I have shared with you, yet it is true.

Three things compel me to open my and my children’s life to you in spite of this fact. The first is an inexpressible and inexhaustible love for my sons. The second is my love and compassion for other children that have been alienated from their parents and families. The third reason is that the God I gladly serve and follow seems to be leading me down this path to help with YOUR healing.

I was married in May 1986. My marriage was "extremely" difficult from day one. I am not saying there were no good days or good memories, just that the difficult ones were way more often than the good ones.

Our first son was born in January of 1992. Before he was ever born, my wife and I had already been to see 6 or 7 different counselors, including pastors and other professionals in the counseling field. In July of 1994 our second son was born.

Although I am unable and unwilling to go into great detail about how volatile & abusive things got during my married years, suffice it to say that there were many threats and actions that I attempted to shelter my sons and I from.

One evening was so volatile that I called a friend to let them know where a recording of my ex-wife threatening my life was hidden, in case I didn't survive the night. I was later counseled by a family law attorney that I should have filed a domestic violence report with the police department.
Father and sons before PAS
I still have evidence of these violent threats and many others, including a family court video recording and transcripts of my ex-wife admitting that she had verbally abused me, physically struck me and viciously and aggressively threatened my life.

In the spring of 1997 I petitioned the family court for separate maintenance (or a legal separation) because of these threats. My ex-wife counter-filed for a divorce. I thought that my time in a living hell was over. I had no idea that this was just the beginning of real hell on earth…

Both during our separation and after the divorce my ex employed many manipulative parental alienation tactics to destroy my relationship with our sons. My sons shared some of those with me.

When she was alone with them they were repeatedly asked "who do you love more mommy or daddy?" Even worse "who do you love more Mr. --- or dad?" That was referring to a new partner in one of her relationships.

She would call them on the phone while they were with me and ask "If dad had all the toys in the world, and the biggest and best house would you still want to live with mom?" They were asked "Are you having a good time with dad or do you want me to come and get you?" "I'm sorry you have to be with Dad this weekend. We'll have fun when you get home."

I was threatened many times during my marriage that I would never see my children again. And time has shown just how real those threats were. I had no concept that any parent would be willing to abuse their own child in order to hurt the other “targeted parent”. I had never even heard of Parental Alienation and had no idea what a targeted parent even was.

I also had no idea just how common such abusive parental alienation tactics were in divorce, or how any parent could get away with such alienating behavior, especially when the family courts and even mental health professionals were involved. I found out very quickly that family law and obtaining legal protection for your children when you are the targeted parent, varies greatly from court room to court room. So much depends upon the judge in your child custody case, the family law attorney that is representing you, and having a skilled mental health professional assist you in identifying parental alienation tactics in your legal case.

My introduction to the family court system was like a nightmare that still has not ended. I was totally unprepared for what I learned and was subjected to by a court system that was "supposedly" serving families and protecting children. DO NOT make the mistake of being unprepared to deal with workers in the family law system. They are more than prepared to "deal with you!"

The first time my ex-wife and I met with a family court case-worker that represented the "friend of the Court", I found out that the family legal system gave them the legal authority and audacity to tell me, how much time I could spend with my own children!

I had a detailed calendar showing the incredible amount of time my children and I spent together over the last six months. I had six character reference letters from friends, family, pastors and business associates. Although I was advised by several neighbors, friends and family to seek full custody, all I asked for was equal parenting rights. I asked for joint physical and legal custody. That's it nothing more.

I was told that even though it was obvious that I was a capable and loving father, the best I could hope for was to have "visitation" with my sons every other weekend and one day per week. That's just the way the legal system worked. What the heck was "visitation"? Was I a stranger? Was I visiting them in prison? I was and still am incredulous that our family law system gives ANYONE the legal authority to tell parents how much time "they" will "allow" them to spend with their children!

Do you ever remember voting about the state "owning" your children? Do you remember signing away your rights as a parent? Would anyone in their right mind do so? I think not. That's when I found out about the dirty little world of UCC codes!

Like most parents, I had no idea how many of our legal rights had already been stripped from us in this country. It continues to shock me that we have lost so many of our precious legal freedoms to politicians, judges and special interest groups in this country. And most of you will never even know it until you run up against "the system". I sure didn't…

There is an entire set of "codes" and "precedence" that politicians and judges use to control the public (you and I) and to nullify our rights under the Constitution of the United States of America. (I won’t even get into the technical legal specifics of how this “corporate” designation and power is used to abuse parents and their children.) They don't need to do away with The Constitution and the Bill of Rights to render them totally ineffective and impertinent in the family court system they simply work outside of them!

Father and son before parental alienation tacticsOnce I became a powerless father in the family court system, it became more and more apparent that although the system can and does brutalize both parents quite often, it seems the most outrageous and biased treatment is usually reserved for fathers.

Over the next two years the children’s mother started sending a barrage of complaint letters and phone calls to the Friend of the Court about me. It became more and more apparent by her actions, statements and other people's observations, that their mother did not want me to be in my son's lives at all. Sole child custody and complete alienation seemed in fact to be her ultimate goal. At this point I began researching Parental Alienation Syndrome and the difference between that and Parental Alienation. The more I studied family law, PAS and mental health research in this arena, the more I realized that I was definitely a targeted parent in a severe case of PAS.

As things progressed from bad to worse, I realized just how serious my ex-wife was about separating my children and me. She had hired a prominent, politically connected, attorney who appeared to be all too happy to help her do so. I also contacted the court with genuine concerns about my children’s safety on two different occasions. The court case worker in my custody case “appeared to be” part of my ex-wife’s legal team, told me that he couldn't help me.

At this point I began researching for some way to extricate my sons and me from the legal jurisdiction of the family court. I asked others that had been through a divorce what had happened in their case. I asked for referrals to the best attorney available in these types of family law cases. I looked into father's rights groups. I was even introduced to an "expert" in international law.

The problem with most "solutions" that might address my PAS problem in the family court system was that it required exposing the children’s mother legally and publicly. Her character, her parenting skills, her fidelity, her violent temper etc., my sons had already been through enough when we got divorced. I wanted to spare them a long drawn out, ugly battle in the courts and at home.

That is the very reason I attempted to bring my case into international court and change the venue. The way it was explained to me it would be the most effective, yet the least tumultuous way to deal with the problem. Unfortunately, the attorney advising me was not as skilled as he held himself out to be. And the legal strategy he employed on my behalf was terribly flawed and I found out later, untested as well.

During this legal process my ex-wife alerted Friend of the Court that she was "fearful" that I might kidnap our sons. The court in its infinite wisdom issued an ex-parte PPO (personal protection order) against me for 4 years because of her "concerns". In the end, there was never any evidence to support this assertion. But the abusive damage to my sons had already been done...

According to testimony my ex-wife gave in court, she alerted everyone possible about this potential "threat". She got the teachers and the principle at the boys' school involved in "protecting" them from their father. She had the police speak to both of my children about how to "protect themselves" if they saw their father anywhere. She had the pastor at her church talk with the boys and to warn them about the "danger" involved in allowing their father to contact them.

In my opinion, she used every authority figure available to her to brainwash and scare my sons into distrusting a father and parent that loved and had taken care of them their entire life. Unfortunately, I have learned that this is a very common tool used by alienating parents to alienate children from the targeted parent. I had no idea that there were that many sick people in the world…

She also cut our sons off from all contact with my parents, their grandparents. Even though their grandparents lived 1500 miles away, she thought it was "just too hard on the children" to accept phone calls or even receive gifts from my parents. She totally and heartlessly cut them out of our son's lives.

My father died in April of 2006 from complications of Parkinson's disease. He died never having committed any crime, yet he was deprived of sharing his life with his own grandsons for the last 8 years of his life. Cutting the children off from their grandparents was supposedly "in the best interest" of my sons according to their mother. Cutting extended family off from contact with the children is a favorite tool for alienating parents to use in child custody court cases.

The judge in my divorce and custody case, refused to allow me even supervised visitation with my children (at the police station if she really thought it was necessary) for 4 years. She mandated that I have a psychological exam. I had two of them. I guess the legal problem for her was that both mental health professionals, (both of  which were her very own selection), recommended that I immediately be placed back with my children and that I actually get an increase of parenting time spent with them.

It has always amazed me that the family court constantly uses rhetoric that they are doing what is in the “best interest of the children" but at least in my case and many others, "appears" to do exactly the opposite in practice!

Another alarming fact is that when I was ordered to have a mental health evaluation. My attorney requested that a similar evaluation be done on the children’s mother at the same time. The family law judge in our custody case refused. If the injustice of this unequal legal treatment doesn't seem particularly alarming to you, how about factoring in that the children’s mother admitted in court (under oath) that she had violently threatened my life.

According to her testimony my ex-wife admitted saying "I told him that if I had a gun in the house I would blow his head off"!  What's wrong with this picture? My ex-wife admitted in court verbally abusing me, physically striking me and even violently threatening my life, and I was the one with a PPO filed against me and taken from my children.

During this time frame I requested a reduction in child support. My income had gone down dramatically from what my payments were first based upon. The court "imputed" my wage. That simply means that they picked a wage that they thought I was "capable of making" and based my child support upon that number! My payment was 2-3 times what it would have been if they had used my real wage for approx. 7 years.

Recently I asked for another adjustment (approximately 7 years later) because my sons were well beyond the age child care would be necessary (16 and 13). Half of my child support payment was based upon child care. This time the court "imputed" a number to base my ex-wife's wage on to lower her assessment. This tactic made it just low enough so that my payment would stay the same, even with the child care portion dropping off. Is this a great legal system or what?!

It became fairly common for me to have an early morning court hearing (scheduled by the court) and for the judge "not to have time" to hear my custody case by the middle or end of the day. Although I can't be certain (there's my legal disclaimer) I am reasonably confident that she knew my family law attorney charged $250.00 dollars per hour. I'm also reasonably confident that this was part of what "appeared to be" her personal vendetta against me and fathers like me that dared to challenge her authority.

I had three different legal firms represent me and ALL three separately said "she can't do that" at some point while they were representing me. Even they were aghast and incredulous at what was happening in that court room.

Loving father & son relationshipAt one point I was in an evidentiary hearing. My attorney was about to introduce rebuttal testimony as evidence that contradicted statements my ex-wife had just made. In the middle of my attorney (as I understand it from him) following proper legal court procedure to introduce the EVIDENCE, the judge stood up and said something like "I have heard enough, I've already made my decision". I have the court transcripts as evidence of this incredible breach of legal responsibility (as I understand the law).

This particular incident was so shocking that my divorce and custody attorney told me he would pay for an appeal trial himself if necessary. He had never even heard of anything so outrageous in a court of law! As you may have guessed, he came to his senses before putting up the money to appeal. He was outraged but not THAT outraged.

By the time I hired my third legal firm it had become obvious to my family law attorney that this court (appeared to be) biased in my divorce and child custody case. He was so convinced that she was conducting herself in (what appeared to be) such an inappropriate and biased manner that he asked the judge to take herself off of my case. He even went through the legal motion to have her removed from my case. What a joke that was. I have nothing but respect and appreciation for this man's efforts.

My attorney was the ONLY individual in this entire mockery of justice that actually showed any evidence of caring about my children, and he fought hard to shelter them from the Parental Alienation tactics employed my ex-wife and the judge involved in my case.

After all of that, my ex-wife filed suit for her attorney's legal fees that she had incurred for the numerous times that she initiated legal proceedings against me. And the judge ruled in her favor (hard to imagine by now isn't it) in the amount of approximately $55,000.00 dollars. That DID NOT include my own attorney's legal fees.

After 4 years, well over $100,000 in legal fees and 2 mental health exams later, I was finally allowed to see my sons (in court-ordered therapy with a psychologist). We met for approximately 1½ years. During this process the children’s mother starting complaining that coming to counseling was too "traumatic" for the boys and she was "concerned" for their health. They were allegedly having headaches and stomach aches from the stress. Mysteriously any time we seemed to make progress in a session, the next time they came back they were more distant than when we started.

It finally became obvious to the Dr. and I that because of what they "seemed to be" experiencing at home, my children were under a great deal of stress from this situation. It appeared that being put in the position of counseling (and the backlash from their mother because of it) was indeed affecting their health. Once I became convinced of this it became clear to me as their father what I must do.

I shared the passage in the Bible with the doctor that describes an incident with King Solomon and two mothers. There were two women that both gave birth to children at approximately the same time. While sleeping, one of them rolled over on her child and he suffocated and died. The next morning the mother realized that her child was dead, so she took the other mother's baby and switched it with her dead baby. When the second mother woke up she soon realized what had happened and fought to get her child back.

The two mothers were brought before the king. He listened to both of them and then said he had decided to cut the child in half and they could both have one half to end the dispute. The first mother (the one that had rolled over on her own child) said fine, go ahead and cut the child in half!

The REAL mother said please let the child live! She can have him if you will only let him live! It was obvious from their reaction who the real mother was. The real mother loved her son more than she loved herself. She would rather give her child to someone else than to let harm come to him.

I told the doctor that I would be that parent for my sons. I would stand aside and remove them from the stressful situation that they were in. I asked the doctor to release them from the court ordered counseling process, until they were old enough and strong enough to face the repercussions at home when they wanted to see me again. I am still waiting for that day….

In May of 1999 I married the most incredible woman I have ever met. My wife has walked with me through all of this and our relationship is stronger and we are more in love than ever. We continue to treat each other with love, respect and compassion every day we are together.

She has shared the trauma of me losing my sons, the horrific family court battles, and the financial devastation that came with it. She has suffered through all of this, and yet continues to have a very special love for children that she has never met (except through my memories, pictures and our prayers for them together). I can not fathom how I would have made it without her. She had two beautiful daughters before we ever married, and they continue to be a joy to both of us. They are both grown and married and we presently have 4 wonderful grandchildren as well.

She had her own experience with Parental Alienation that caused problems with one of our daughters for years, until our daughter finally discovered the truth. She had been lied to. It is our hope and prayer that our sons Joshua and Nicholas will someday soon know the truth themselves.

In May of 2004 we put together a website for my children (www.nischalke.com) based upon a suggestion in the book Divorce Poison by Dr. Richard Warshak. It is a place where I can share my heart with the boys, keep them updated on my life and a place where I can expose them to the truth of our relationship and some of what really happened.

My sons have been lied to - just like your children most likely have been. We built the site in hopes that one day they would find it. In June of 2005 they found the site. Although we still have had no contact with the boys, it is a great comfort and source of hope to know that they are looking at it.

We would ask you to consider building a website if you are separated from your child. It will be a great source of healing for you and provide a way for your child to reach out to you when they are ready.

On the Create Your PA Web Site page under the Parental Alienation Resources tab we take you through the process of setting up your own web page. This may be the ONLY place your children will ever be exposed to the truth of your love and commitment to them for years to come. Our hope and prayer for you is that this site will greatly assist them in counteracting the effects of Parental Alienation and help reunite them with the parents that love them.

Some of you may be feeling VERY hurt by things your children have said to you and about you. If this is the case, you will need to work hard at setting this hurt aside and being the "parent" they need you to be. If you really understood what has been done TO them, you would easily forgive anything they have done. The Alienating Parent is the perpetrator here. They are the ones that refused to protect your children from themselves and their wrath, hatred and need to control.

We believe that the preservation of the family is crucial to every child's health and well being. In my opinion, only those with selfish, immature or special interests believe otherwise. Hatred, bitterness and control issues almost always fuel Parental Alienation. Your love and commitment to putting your children first is the antidote to the poison and abuse they have been subjected to.

It is our belief that your battle is not just with the "powers of this earth" but is very much a spiritual battle as well. Turning to "The God" that made us all, is the only way to survive and win the spiritual battle that you and your children are in. We will do everything possible to assist you in your quest for peace, sanity and forgiveness along the way. Please go to our Suggested Reading Materials page under Parental Alienation Resources for more information about this very important topic.

This site and ministry exist today because of the heart-rending experience that we have endured and live with on a daily basis. Although I wish that our experience with Parental Alienation, PAS and the family court system was unique, it is not. But if you are reading these words you probably already know that.

God bless you sons. This site and ministry are only possible because of all that we have been through. I am so sorry for what has been done to you - done to us. I love you and I am waiting…

Love, Dad

* Please review the rest of the site to find Parental Alienation Resources that can help you or other families
being affected by this terrible form of child abuse. *