This article tells us that a Long Island judge has found Lauren Lippe (pictured in insert, right) in contempt of court for alienating her two daughters from their father, Ted Rubin (pictured) (New York Post, 6/8/10). The judge, Robert Ross, has scheduled a hearing to decide whether to change the couple’s custody agreement that gave primary custody to Lippe. Lippe is to spend six weekends in jail this summer.
To all those who pretend, in the face of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary, that parents don’t attempt to alienate children, please read this article which gives more of the details of the judge’s findings (Law.com, 6/8/10). Suffice it to say that the contempt hearing took 23 days to complete.
“The extensive record is replete with instances of attempts to undermine the relationship between the children and their father and replace him with her new husband, manipulation of defendant’s parenting access, utter and unfettered vilification of the defendant to the children, false reporting of sexual misconduct without any semblance of ‘good faith,’ and her imposition upon the children to fear her tirades and punishment if they embrace the relationship they want to have with their father.”
Lippe seems to have started with garden-variety alienation.
During the hearing, Mr. R. testified to dozens of occasions in which his ex-wife either interfered with his visitation rights or purposefully alienated the children from him.
The judge described about a dozen such incidents or patterns in his eight-page decision.
In the winter of 2007, for example, Ms. R. prevented Mr. R. from seeing his daughters for six weeks, Ross wrote.
“I observed the plaintiff smirk in the courtroom as defendant emotionally related how he was deprived of spending Hanukkah with his children, and was relegated to lighting a menorah and watching his daughters open their grandparents’ presents in the back of his truck at the base of plaintiff’s driveway,” the judge wrote.
Her evident pleasure at causing her ex-husband pain was powerful enough that she couldn’t control it in the courtroom before the judge who was to make important decisions about her immediate future and later the custody of her kids. But that was small potatoes; Lippe soon moved on to far more serious allegations which Judge Ross called a “crescendo.”
“Allegations that defendant had injured the child were found to be baseless and, by making such allegations, plaintiff needlessly subjected the child to an investigation by Child Protective Services, placing her own interests above those of the child,” Ross wrote. “This report was not made in ‘good faith’ — rather, the investigating agency warned the mother not to re-utilize the allegations and her children in her custodial litigation with the defendant.”
In other words, Lippe ignored the pain and stress she was causing her children. This was found to be true not only by Judge Ross, but by CPS as well.
It’s worthwhile to look closely at what parental alienation really means, and this case, and Judge Ross’ findings allow us to do just that. Above all, parental alienation is an attack on children. It is an attack on their relationship with the other parent. It is a sustained effort to deprive children of the love, affection, security, guidance and protection of the other parent. If it succeeds, the child will not only miss those things, he/she will be afraid of the other parent who can provide them. Beyond that, the child loses the many benefits of the extended family of the alienated parent. Thus, paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. will also be denied to the child.
That’s what Judge Ross meant by saying Lippe placed “her own interests above those of the child.” What long-term damage has been done to the two girls by their mother’s campaign against their father won’t be known for some time. With luck, Ted Rubin nipped that in the bud by virtue of his refusal to give up in the face of the most humiliating tactics employed by his ex-wife.
There are those who like to claim that parental alienation doesn’t happen, or, if it does, that it has no effect on kids. But that’s ultimately a losing argument. Cases like that of Ted Rubin and Lauren Lippe show it all too clearly. And daily, there are others like it. Each one adds to the mountain of evidence on parental alienation of children. Psychologists deal with the problem every day; so do courts. Those who want us to believe that parental alienation doesn’t happen stand on the train tracks of history.