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Allison Williams Williams Law Group Family Law, Divorce, Custody & Support
As an attorney, it has always been, and will always be, about helping people. I'm passionate about my clients and I aggressively represent them. The Williams Law Group uses ethical means to create winning strategies. If you have a legal issue/s, we'd like to hear your message!
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Core Principles to Bear in Mind for Handling Parental Alienation

Scholars and practitioners recommend the following principles for resolving alienation: • Document what happens, and pay attention to people’s actions. Writing down comments, behaviors and reactions from family members – as well as strategies tried to stop or unwind the damage – can be quite useful. An objective record of what has happened can help those caught up in destructive patterns to identify and change them. As Marilyn Vos Savant once said, “To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” • Be patient. Especially as a victim of alienating behavior, you may yearn to reverse the damage done and “get your child back” as soon as possible. However, trying to rush the process could make the situation worse. Your child was not brainwashed overnight; even if he or she wants to repair your relationship, unwinding the damage and rebuilding trust will take time. • Set expectations that will inspire motivation. Setting “reasonable” expectations doesn’t mean giving up your faith and conviction that you will succeed. If your 15-year-old daughter just yelled at you over the phone, saying that she hates you and never wants to see you again, you shouldn’t give up on the relationship. However, it’s essential that you remain aware and accepting of what’s actually happening in the relationship, as opposed to what you wish was happening. Appreciate that the path ahead will likely be rocky, beset by setbacks and confusion, but never surrender faith in a positive outcome. • Care for yourself and manage yourself. Even with court intervention and therapeutic help, you can never force a child to love you or compel the instigating parent to behave in a civil or even reasonable manner. However, what you can do is monitor your own thoughts, behaviors, habits and attitudes. You can strive to be as resourceful as possible, given the realities of your situation. Recognize your needs that have gone unmet as a result of the alienation, and strive to meet them in spite of the circumstances. For instance, let’s say that you lost custody of your 8-year-old and 4-year-old. You’re feeling lonely, because the house is empty and because your 8-year-old yells at your every time you get on the phone together. Recognize that you have needs for love and companionship that are going unmet. Then work to meet those needs by, for instance, conscientiously reaching out to friends. No...

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Positive, Negative and Partial Reinforcement

Dr. Richard Gardner, who’s largely credited for bringing Parental Alienation to the attention of the legal and psychological community, cataloged alienating behavior in three ways. 1. Positive reinforcement This strategy involves rewarding the child’s behavior, words or actions when the child “goes along” with the alienation. For instance, let’s say the child says something to the effect of “Mom, I totally agree that dad’s a loser. Last weekend, he barely left the couch; he watched TV almost the entire time I was over there.” The alienating parent might reward this admission by buying the child ice cream or allowing him or her to use a special toy, or she may just revel in how much of a “loser” the dad is. 2. Negative reinforcement This is basically the flipside. If the child says or does something out of step with the negative narrative, the alienating parent gets mean, withdraws or chastises the child. For instance, maybe the child says something to the effect of “I don’t know, Mom, the last time I was over Dad’s house, the place was clean, and his new girlfriend, Janine, gave me ice cream.” The alienating parent might respond by flying into a rage or going on a rant to the effect of: “Janine gave you ice cream? You know how bad sugar is for you! Do you want to become obese and diabetic like your father is?” Or the parent might react passive-aggressively by suddenly ‘getting a headache’ and withdrawing for the evening. 3. Partial reinforcement This strategy uses a toxic mixture of both positive and negative reinforcement. The alienating parent behaves like Jekyll and Hyde. The child never knows whether “good mom” or “bad mom” will show up. As a result, the child often goes along with the alienation, because of the fear of the outrageous and unpredictable behavior. For skillful, experienced assistance handling your Parental Alienation case, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908)...

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How, Exactly, Does Alienation Impact a Child’s Development?

What are the long and short-term effects of parental alienation on the children themselves? Obviously, every child is different, and every alienation situation is likewise unique. The severity of the alienation, its duration, the child’s level of attachment (or lack thereof) to both parents, the child’s relationships with siblings and peers, the child’s overall health and diet, and the child’s genetically-influenced personality can all influence what happens during and after an alienation attempt. The Challenges of Doing Good Social Science Researchers have studied PA for over three decades, but we still have surprisingly little data about the long term consequences of this process for the children caught up in it. Part of the problem is the sheer scope and scale of the scientific challenge. Teasing out cause and effect in scientific experiments involving long term human behavior and personality is both very difficult and very expensive. To test a scientific hypothesis, ideally, you want to run at least two parallel experiments that you can easily compare. For instance, you might give people who suffer from chronic headaches two treatments. One group gets no drug. Another group of very similar headache sufferers gets a daily headache medicine. You might then evaluate both groups before the experiment and three months after the intervention. If you discover that those individuals who took the drug experienced fewer headaches, you might be onto something. However, science requires even stricter proof. Perhaps the very act of taking the drug led to the positive result. (Technically, this is known as the “placebo” effect.) Or perhaps the experimenters who gave out the medicines subconsciously influenced the participants and thus biased the results. The “gold standard” in science thus relies on what are called “placebo-controlled, double-blind” experiments, because only these experiments can filter out placebo-like effects and experimenter biases. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, we can’t run placebo-controlled, double-blind experiments on children who have been subject to Parental Alienation. Such experiments would be monstrously expensive and incredibly complex and long, not to mention unethical. For skillful, experienced assistance handling your Parental Alienation case, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908)...

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Legal and Emotional Challenges Created by Parental Alienation

Alienation obviously poses profound challenges for the targeted parent. Not only does it threaten to derail and potentially destroy your relationship with your child forever — alienated children often continue to believe the implanted false narratives as adults – but it also poses huge challenges when you’re negotiating with DCP&P or dealing with criminal charges. For instance, a brainwashed child might convincingly argue way that you engaged in abuse or neglect, even though you didn’t. When it’s your word against your child’s word, how can you defend your rights and prevent negative outcomes? The silver lining is that, when caught early enough, Parental Alienation can usually be reversed, and the other parent can even be punished for the brainwashing. Even though psychologists only developed a name for this constellation of symptoms a few decades ago, evidence of similar practices date back hundreds or even thousands of years. For instance, consider the famous example of the Salem Witch Trials. Back in the very early days of the U.S. colonies, children in Salem, Massachusetts became convinced that several local women were “witches.” These poor women suffered severe punishment, ostracism, and even death as a result of this trumped up and entirely fabricated testimony. Here is dramatic description of actions that went on during the Salem Witch Trial that illustrate the depth of brainwashing that can occur (from The Salem Witch Trials, 1692): “The seeds of the hysteria that afflicted Salem Village, Massachusetts were sown in January 1692 when a group of young girls began to display bizarre behavior. The tight-knit community was at a loss to explain the convulsive seizures, blasphemous screaming, and trance-like states that afflicted the youngsters. The physicians called in to examine the girls could find no natural cause of the disturbing behavior. If the source of the affliction was not attributable to a physical malady, the community reasoned that it must be the work of Satan. Witches had invaded Salem… In March the afflicted girls accused Martha Corey. The three women previously denounced as colluding with the devil were marginal to the community. Martha Corey was different; she was an upstanding member of the Puritan congregation – her revelation as a witch demonstrated that Satan’s influence reached to the very core of the community. Events snowballed as the accusatory atmosphere intensified and reached a fever pitch. During the period from March into the fall many were charged,...

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False Child Abuse and Neglect Scenarios [Part Two of Three]

“War of the Roses” style divorce leads to a bitter, false accusation of abuse. Jeremy Taylor and his ex-wife, Carol, had been feuding in the courts for five months, ever since Jeremy “blindsided” his wife with a request to separate. Initial attempts to mediate the divorce broke down, and the couple entered litigation, causing no small amount of sadness and confusion for their two young children, Mila, age 5 and Debra, age 2. In the five months since separation, Jeremy had fallen into a pretty serious depression and found himself doing things like eating nothing but cereal for all his meals and missing work. However, he did take great care to be loving and present for his children. But one day, a week after a particularly grueling court experience, Jeremy suddenly found himself facing accusations that he had been malnourishing his children — feeding them unhealthy foods and allowing them to live and sleep in dirty, dangerous conditions. While Jeremy’s apartment would certainly not have qualified for the cover of Martha Stewart Living, the allegations were objectively unfounded. Working with his attorney, Jeremy challenged the accusations as hearsay and got them discredited. Although he had the option of “punishing” his ex for making up the accusations, he chose to let bygones by bygones, so he could complete the divorce as soon as possible and start rebuilding his life and he relationship with his daughters. For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.  ...

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False Child Abuse and Neglect Scenarios [Part One of Three]

Over the next three posts, we’re going to cover three fictitious stories that illustrate some common challenges:   Kenny’s bruises on the playground. Kenny Haven was a third grader who liked to get scrappy. One day, after a tumble off the monkey bars, Kenny got sent to the school nurse, who became concerned because she saw a rash of bruises and cuts on the boy’s body. The nurse got the school administrators involved, who ended up calling DCP&P, which then initiated an investigation of Kenny’s single father, Chris. Chris had a criminal history — one DUI and one charge of resisting arrest for causing disruption at a bar. He also did not have a particularly good relationship with his ex-wife. Chris, like his son, was a rough-and-tumble guy. That’s just genetics at play. Chris understood that his background might not look particularly “good on paper.” But he also cherished his son and would never lay a hand on him – let alone subject him to the bruises and cuts the nurse found. The reality is that Kenny just happened to be a risk taker: he often fell and got banged up. Like his dad, he was naturally on the wild and aggressive side. To protect his reputation and keep his family intact, Chris hired a qualified attorney who had worked successfully on numerous DCP&P cases. Among other things, she helped him compile evidence from pediatrician reports and from teachers at the school – as well as a video of one of his falls – that proved that Kenny often got scraped up on the playground. Based on the strength of this evidence, Chris was exonerated of wrongdoing and reunited with his son.  For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908)...

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4 Tips for Making Your Attorney Relationship Smooth and Seamless

1. Learn the law firm’s processes and systems. How does the law firm prefer to work with clients like you? What are the attorneys’ expectations? How does the office work? Take time to learn these basics, not just to make things easier for the firm and its people, but also to ensure that your needs are always met. 2. Write down any questions and concerns you have, when you have them, so that you ask them in batches. Our brains, unfortunately, do not work in a linear fashion. There is a reason why we compile things like grocery lists. It’s easy to forget that you need to buy batteries or fresh flowers when you’re at the grocery store and overwhelmed by sales and stimuli. You write things down, so you don’t have to remember them consciously. Worries and ideas about your case will pop up at inopportune times, such as when you’re driving, when you’re showering, when you wake up in the middle of the night at 3 AM. Get into the habit of writing down these thoughts on index cards or post-it notes. Then compile this list for your lawyer. And then ask them all at once, via email, a phone call on at an in-person meeting. Doing this exercise will do two things for you. One, it will help you reclaim peace of mind; instead of worrying unproductively about your case, you’ll have a process to handle your concerns efficiently. Two, it can reduce your legal fees, because you’ll get more “legal stuff” done in less time and hence tally fewer billable hours. 3. Make sure you understand what is going on with your case and what you need to do. Avoid needless stress and agitation. You should always understand what’s going on with your case, what the next steps will be, and what you should be thinking about or doing. Lean on your attorney and the law firm’s staff to get that clarity, consistently. 4. If the law firm isn’t a good match, for whatever reason, recognize the problem and take decisive corrective action. For instance, for budgetary reasons, you may opt not to hire a private lawyer… only to find yourself frustrated by a lack of attention from your public defender. Or maybe your attorney fails to return your phone calls or emails, or the staff treats you rudely. Don’t be passive. Address your concerns...

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Articulating Your Values Before Searching for a Child Abuse Defense Attorney

Whenever we need the help of a specialized professional — an accountant, a doctor, an attorney, a home remodeler, etc. — we often have unspoken expectations about the relationship. Obviously, you probably want your attorney to be ethical, experienced, and knowledgeable about how to handle child abuse and neglect allegations. But what else do you need from the relationship? What could go wrong? In ideal world, what would you like to get out of the relationship? By taking a few minutes to get a handle on these parameters, you’ll not only be less likely to hire the wrong attorney (for you), but you’ll also be more likely to enjoy smooth sailing with whomever you retain. Here’s a simple “hack” to surface these subtle values. Imagine if you had to ask a friend to find an attorney for you. What instructions would you give him or her? What would you say to do and to avoid doing? For instance: • Make sure the attorney has handled dozens of cases like mine successfully; • Make sure the lawyer has a State-wide reputation and is a trusted authority. • The lawyer’s staff should be friendly, communicative, and “on it.” • You should get a good vibe after speaking with the attorney. • The attorney should have an impeccable ethical record and should be very smart. Try this exercise now. I would retain any attorney, as long as he or she: _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908)...

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Focus Your Goals: Your Attention Is Limited

As you review your plans and commitments, you’ll probably quickly be daunted by the scope of what you want to accomplish. For instance, you might want to:   Lose 15 pounds   Switch companies   Fight your allegations   Rebalance your financial plans in the wake a your divorce   You cannot take on all these projects at once. As a Chinese proverb warns: he who chases two rabbits catches neither. Focus is key. Restrict your focus to three or fewer mission-critical projects. Narrow your focus by identifying the current constraint in your life. Here’s how to think about constraints. Imagine a factory that produces bowling balls. The process that makes the balls is probably quite complicated, involving many machines. But at any given point, one machine will always be the slowest. Improvements to other machines won’t make much of a difference in terms of how many bowling balls the factory can produce. However, improvements at the bottleneck can have an outsized positive effect. For instance, let’s say the machine that polishes the balls to make them spherical is the pinch point. Double the speed of the hole-drilling, and not much will happen. Double the speed of the polishing machine, though, and the factory will pump out twice as many bowling bowls! Likewise, in your life right now, there is some pinch point that’s limiting your energy, resourcefulness and concentration. If you can figure out what that pinch point is and do something about it, then your entire life should get easier, more manageable and happier. Maybe your current constraint is psychological. You can’t stop replaying the “abusive” event in your head, or you can’t stop thinking about some awful thing your boss said to you after she heard about your ex-spouse’s allegations. Or maybe it’s financial: you’re in between jobs or just too disorganized financially to concentrate. Or maybe you’ve reached the limits of what you know about the legal process, and you’re stumped about how to handle your case. To be efficient and separate truly essential activities from optional ones, you need to know your constraint. For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908)...

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Allison C. Williams News 12 Interview Video 2

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