27 Jul

Why Parent’s Fall Victim To PAS

Here at Ivan Zartz Attorneys we have been discussing Parental Alienation Syndrome: what is it? What occurs during cases of PAS? What parent is most likely to initiate derision and alienation between parent and child?

What we have been able to establish through previous posts is the following: PAS is the condition whereby a parent brainwashes a child/children in order for the child/children to denigrate the other parent. This occurs very often, and usually in cases of separated or divorced couples, as well as couples going through a case of child custody.

Today we ask this: why do parent’s brainwash their children and therefore bring about the causes of of a situation that is archetypal of PAS? I believe that PAS parents have become stuck in the first stage of child development, where survival skills are learned.

To them, having total control over their child is a life and death matter. Because they don’t understand how to please other people, any effort to do so always has strings attached. They don’t give; they only know how to take. They don’t play by the rules and are not likely to obey a court order.

Descriptions that are commonly used to describe severe cases of PAS are that the alienating parent is unable to “individuate” (a psychological term used when the person is unable to see the child as a separate human being from him or herself). They are often described as being “overly involved with the child” or “enmeshed”.

The parent may be diagnosed as narcissistic (self-centred), where they presume that they have a special entitlement to whatever they want. They think that there are rules in life, but only for other people, not for them.

Also, they may be called a sociopath, which means a person who has no moral conscience. These are people who are unable to have empathy or compassion for others. They are unable to see a situation from another person’s point of view, especially their child’s point of view. They don’t distinguish between telling the truth and lying in the way that others do.

In spite of admonitions from judges and mental health professionals to stop their alienation, they can’t. The prognosis for severely alienating parents is very poor. It is unlikely that they are able to “get it.” It is also unlikely that they will ever stop trying to perpetuate the alienation. This is a gut wrenching survival issue to them.

Now that we know how perpetrators of PAS operate, what are the legal resolutions for the problem of PAS? Further to R.A. Garners book an article written by Jayne A Major entitled “Parents who have successfully fought Parental Alienation Syndrome” Judges have been slow to place serious sanctions on the alienating parent.

If there is no threat of severe fines, jail time or sole custody to the targeted parent, the chances are remote that the out-of-control parent can be stopped. It usually takes a dramatic situation where court orders are broken to force the court to change primary custody. Often it is only a matter of time before alienating parents become desperate and their unstable mental health gets the better of them. People in an official position start to recognize the alienating parent as being out of line, and become supportive of the targeted parent in cases of child custody and divorce settlements.

If you require a child custody attorney, or you are interested in settling a child custody case, please contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys as soon as possible. Please remember that a minimum consultation fee of R1500 is required for an appointment.


22 Jul

What Is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS, as discussed in an earlier post, is the brainwashing of a child by one of his/her parents to denigrate the other parent. This often happens in child custody disputes, or during cases of divorce.

To understand PAS it is important to discern the child’s role in the disorder that affects the whole family.

Gardner notes that the PAS is more than brainwashing or programming, because the child has to actually participate in the denigrating of the alienated parent. This is done in primarily the following eight ways: The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe oppositional behaviour. The child offers weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger. The child is sure of himself or herself and doesn’t demonstrate ambivalence, i.e. love and hate for the alienated parent, only hate. The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration.

The “independent-thinker” phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him to do this. The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent. The child does not demonstrate guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent. The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could not have experienced. Animosity is spread to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent. In severe cases of parent alienation, the child is utterly brain- washed against the alienated parent. The alienator can truthfully say that the child doesn’t want to spend any time with this parent, even though he or she has told him that he has to, it is a court order, etc. The alienator typically responds, “There isn’t anything that I can do about it. I’m not telling him that he can’t see you.”

Gardner’s statistics showed that the majority of PAS occurrences were initiated by mothers. Mothers have traditionally had primary custody of children (although before the 20th century it normally belonged to the father), and the mothers usually spend more time with the children. 

In order for a campaign of alienation to occur, one parent needs to have considerable time with the child. However, in recent years increasing numbers of fathers have started instigating PAS, since there are few legal sanctions for doing so.

I’ve seen several dramatic child custody cases where the father was the alienatorIn one case, the father had no control over his obsession to trash the mother. Numerous professionals told him, including the mother, that he could have shared custody if he would be willing to follow the rules. He didn’t have the self-control to do this.

When he lost child custody because of his aberrant behaviour, he became a celebrity in the father’s rights movement and took his campaign into national circles. No one would know from hearing him speak about his situation that there was serious pathology going on (PAS) or how hard the professionals worked to stabilize it.

It is important that those involved in child custody cases and divorce settlements that they recognize if there is evidence that may be regarded as features of PAS.

If you require an attorney to help you settle a case of child custody then contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today. Ivan Zartz Attorneys also specialize in matters involving surrogacy, debt collection, insolvency, sectional titles and dispute resolutions.

20 Jul

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Having been involved in many child custody disputes for two decades, including my own custody battle, I noticed that there was a trend in the frequency of a disorder rarely observed before, that of programming or brain washing a child by one parent to denigrate another parent.

In my practice at present, I have successfully had a children return from England by a mother who without the father’s consent had poisoned the children’s minds to such an extent that she took the children to England and blamed the father for the removal – the mother was discredited and the children were returned to South Africa. The disorder is not only confined to brainwashing by a parent but creating support by the children of the alienating parent’s campaign against the targeted parent.

In another child custody case, a client of mine was accused by his wife whom he was divorcing of playing with a three year old’s penis in the bath tub. Psychologists were subpoenaed on both sides and after a three day trial, the court found that the wife had deliberately frustrated my client’s access and that the court was not convinced with her story or the findings of her psychologist.

On the other hand there are many instances where the cause of the alienation is the alienated parent and not the other party. In a leading child custody case dealing with child alienation the matter dealt with an adolescent child who approached the court for a variation of a custody order. The court assigned a legal representative in terms of s 28(1)(h) stressing that “a child in civil proceedings may, where substantial injustice would otherwise result, be given a voice.” The Judge obtained a report from the family advocate to assist her in deciding whether child custody should be awarded to the father of the child. Evidence showed that the father had instructed the child to be obstructive making the child feel as though he had to favour a certain parent. The psychologists were of the opinion that the child had made his decision due to duress or undue influence. It was held that the father was found to be a manipulative obsessive man and that it would not be in the best interest of the child to award him with sole child custody. The court went accordingly against the wishes of the child.

Therefore, on account of these tragic cases and frequency of this disorder that I have seen in my practice, I thought I would research the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S) and give readers of my website a little insight into this disorder. The next blog, posted on Wednesday 22nd July will ask the question “What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?” Read it to find out more.

If you require an attorney to assist you in your child custody case do not hesitate. Contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today!


15 Jun

Amendments To The National Credit Act

Last year saw a few amendments to the National Credit Act in South Africa. Were you aware? Do you have an idea as to what it means to you, the consumer? You need to make sure that you know where you stand with regards to the Act so that you are not abused by any financial institution or creditor.

Blacklist and Smearing Protection 

When you are unable to pay debts, either because of lack of funds or otherwise, then you can expect to be blacklisted. This term is denoted ‘bad credit’ because of the inability to repay monies owed over an adversely long period of time. However, the new act prevents there from being recorded credit history once a party has paid back all monies due. This is good news for consumers that have been blacklisted in the past, bad news for creditors who have no way of checking credit-worthiness.


Debtors have gone to great lengths in order to obtain credit clearance. In order to get clearance an individual had to have zero outstanding debt, even that of a long-term mortgage. Now clearance can be obtained if your only outstanding debt is that of a mortgage. In this case, threats against the individual concerning “credit history” and clearance no longer apply.

Affordability Assessment Regulations

The NCA has put in place a set of regulations that disallows creditors from giving credit to those who cannot afford to pay back monies owed over the regulated time. A creditor can choose to extend credit and implement agreements only if they fall within the boundaries set by the Affordability Assessment Regulations.

Delivery Of Notice

A court notice concerning the debt owed by an individual or organisation must be delivered to the person directly, and notice will require a signature for proof of delivery purposes. This will stop debtors from being taken to court and/or being blacklisted without having prior knowledge of notice.

All of the following amendments have been put in place to further protect the debtor from abusive credit providers. However, these  amendments also mean that creditors who stay within regulation, and carry out the appropriate methods of granting credit, have improved stead when it comes to being considered good credit providers.

Make sure that you know your rights concerning debt/credit and the debt collection process. For more information on debt collection and/or defended actions, contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys.

10 Jun

Fraud Within Debt Collection Practice

The debt collection practice in South Africa is fraught with fraud. Unfortunately there is a whole host of attorneys and law firms in the country that abuse their rights in trying to squeeze money out of debtors. Fortunately here at Ivan Zartz we assist those creditors who are legally owed monies by debtors that have the ability to pay their debts but choose not to.

Garnishee Orders

Ivan Zartz Attorneys respects the garnishee orders that protect both parties in a debt agreement, but other attorneys sometimes bypass regulation so that they may abuse debtors in order to collect on debt before the specified time or otherwise when the debtor is completely unable to repay their debt. The garnishee order and the rights of the debtor and creditor are explicitly laid out in the National Credit Act. The practice of debt collection in South Africa is rife with cases of abuse and debt collection practice that is otherwise deemed unnecessary.

Illegal Debt Collection

Those that are abused by such practices are not the individuals or organisations that Ivan Zartz Attorneys follows up on as we deal in cases of debt collection amounting to over R100 000. Those that are affected by fraudulent debt collection are the poorer and less informed members of our society.

These people are often victims to numerous kinds of debt collection abuses. A common theme in South Africa is the use of physical force or verbal threat in order to collect owed monies. A more underhanded approach to debt collection is the fraudulent tampering of official documents such as the garnishee order. These documents are brought to the debtor to force them to issue their debts. At other times these fraudulent documents are brought into court and are actually considered by some officials in the jurisdiction. Fraudulent attorneys will also attempt to smear the debtor by labeling them as not being creditworthy.

At Ivan Zartz we encourage these debtors to retain important documents regarding their debt payment schemes and report any illegal uses of force, smearing or intimidation. Our practice relies on legal and agreeable approaches to collect monies owed by those parties (often businesses and organisations) that owe extreme amounts of money to smaller creditors. Contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys to find out more.