What is the level – Documentary ‘Erasing Household’ about custody after divorce premieres on April 25th –
Alienation from parents. Two words that add terror to a parent involved in a custody battle. It’s a concept that probably dates back to the second generation of humanity. The real meaning of parental alienation is when one parent tries to sever the relationship between one child and the other parent. It happens to mothers and fathers, straight couples and gay couples. Rich and poor. Highly religious and completely atheist families.
It ALWAYS harms children, and for those of us who are most active in the family law industry, it is considered child abuse. The long-term effects of breaking the relationship between a child and parent is a laundry list of social grievances and personal trauma.
I have represented mothers and fathers who are the target parents, the alienated ones, and often the mental agony they go through literally drives them to thoughts of suicide. I still have DVDs in my filing cabinets of an estranged parent who was so close to suicide that they sent me DVDs for their children to watch when they are of legal age.
As a legal theory, this is not allowed in court. We can only talk about the effects, we can never use the term “parental alienation” as certain lobby groups are very powerful in court and in the psychiatric world. But make no mistake, it exists and the judges know.
I have a website on the subject, www.parentalienationsucks.com, which I post information on this subject. I made YouTube videos about it and blogged about how to deal with it on my website www.mensfamilylaw.com. It is for this reason that I am considered a resource for people to learn and met my friend Ginger Gentile who is an active filmmaker. It is premiering on Vimeo this week as part of Parental Alienation Awareness Day. Her groundbreaking documentary Erasing Family premiered in the middle of a sold out screening tour as the coronavirus pandemic began in the United States. Given the immense success of their tour, Gentile will premier the film online on Saturday April 25th, coinciding with Parental Alienation’s Awareness Day.
“We were in the middle of a sold out community screening tour of over 25 cities when the coronavirus pandemic closed us all indoors. Many are isolated from loved ones, have no vacations and are unable to go to hospital, a reality too familiar to families wiped out by divorce courts, “Gentile said.
“The film has one of the largest organic audiences with half of all families getting divorced and over 25 million parents in North America reporting being deleted from their children,” Gentile said. A similar theme brought the 2019 film A Marriage Story to an Oscar nomination, but Erasing Family shows real people with their actual, very personal, and sometimes nerve-wracking stories.
The film follows young adults struggling to reunite with their broken families. It took the filmmakers years to find young adults willing to go on camera to tell their stories, as many did not want to talk about brainwashing to hate a post-divorce parent out of shame. Family courts are often overwhelmed with cases, and there are few protocols that will help these families out, forcing them to fight for custody rather than help them be co-parents. There is a happy ending, however, as these broken families will be reunited on screen, which will inspire other children to turn to their own obliterated parents. It also highlights the urgent need to show the reforms to make parental separation healthier.
“Joint custody is still not the norm and many bar associations are reluctant to make it the standard option because of the huge amount of money to be made in custody battles,” Gentile said. “Currently, only one state, Kentucky, passed such a law in 2018.”
I saw the movie while attending the Parental Alienation Study Group conference in Philadelphia last year. Even for a die-hard, seasoned lawyer like me, it made me cry. The emotional journey Gentile brings us has been painful, but it has been worth it.
A special phone number has been set up for those who may need emotional support after watching the movie. The number for the text between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. (EST) is (865) 4-FAMILY (865-432-6459).
“Erasing the family moved me to tears as Ginger Gentile’s brilliant production looks through children’s eyes, hearts, and words as their childhood is erased while one of their parents is erased. This film wisely refrains from taking sides, but leaves the indelible impression that if we don’t want to leave a child behind, we don’t have to leave parents behind, ”quoted Dr. Warren Farrell, co-author (with John Gray) of The Boy Crisis.
Gentile met the president and co-owner of Glass House Distribution, Tom Malloy, through a paternity group on Facebook. After the screening of the film, Glass House immediately made a deal to sell the film worldwide.
“A movie like this is so important because it doesn’t favor one side or the other, but rather focuses on the harm done to children by misguided parents’ egos and encouraging social change. We knew we had to do our best to bring this film to the world, ”says Malloy.
Erasing Family starts its exclusive screenings via Vimeo on Demand on April 25, 2020 with a Q&A with Director Ginger Gentile at 8 p.m. EST on facebook.com/erasingfamily. Tickets are available at vimeo.com/ondemand/erasingfamily. The film will be released on VOD platforms everywhere this coming summer, including Amazon, Tubi, and YouTube.
I suggest you check this out if you have a family facing a custody battle or divorce. It’s a realistic view of how much damage combat does.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and custody attorney specializing in father and husband rights with Pisarra & Grist’s Santa Monica law firm. He looks forward to your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310 / 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra