What is parental alienation and what can you do about it.
What is parental alienation?
A judge, Lord Justice McFarlane, recently said parental alienation is:
‘’The turning of the mind of a child against a parent by the other parent , either deliberately or inadvertently , resulting in the child holding a wholly negative view of the other parent and that negative view not being warranted by the other parent’s behaviour to the family or in the parent - child relationship.’’
What you can do about parental alienation?
If you think parental alienation is taking place I recommend that:
Reflect on why your child may want less contact.
Could the child’s attitude be in some way down to you or your new circumstances? Have you had to rearrange contact visits or not been able to get to school sports day? Do you have a new partner and stepchildren or have you moved home? Sometimes it is easy to blame an ex-spouse for your child wanting less contact. However, it pays to be honest with yourself and look at whether the child’s views may be down to your work or home circumstances.
Look at temporary alternatives to direct contact.
If contact has stopped because of parental alienation, you should still try to maintain contact by text, cards and gifts. It can be hard to send messages and get nothing back but it is important to persevere. If you do not maintain indirect contact then it will be harder to restart the relationship with your child.
If you think that parental alienation is taking place it can be tempting to do nothing because you think your child will ‘’come round in time’’ or that your ex-spouse will mellow. If a lot of time goes by without seeing your child it will be harder to restart contact.
Take legal advice
If you fear that parental alienation is taking place then take advice from a specialist children solicitor. Parental alienation can be difficult to prove and even trickier to sort out if contact is stopped. It is therefore important that you get early legal advice on your options.
Be open to non-court options
If you get legal advice from a children solicitor, they will not necessarily advise you to start court proceedings. Expert solicitors will look at your options, such as mediation or family therapy , and work with you to make sure that your relationship with your child is resumed as quickly as possible and without causing additional animosity with your ex-spouse.
What can a judge do about parental alienation?
If you start court proceedings, the judge can make a Child Arrangements Order so you can see your child. The Order can be enforced if it is not obeyed. In extreme cases, and if the parental alienation has caused emotional harm, the judge can change the primary carer of the child.
For advice about parental alienation and children law please give me a call on
01477 464020 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org