What is Parental Alienation? Something often felt by parents going through a separation or divorce is alienation by or from their child or children.
Sadly, only too often during proceedings such as these, relationships between parents and their children will suffer as a result of the “warring” parties, particularly if the case is acrimonious. This is problematic and harmful to all involved, however, when it is happening because the child is being deliberately turned against one parent by the other the term used for this situation is “Parental Alienation”.
The term is not widely used and many do not know what it means although there are reportedly a rapid rise in cases of parental alienation in the UK. Parental alienation is not used to describe difficult or awkward parents in a divorce or separation scenario, it describes parents who deliberately sabotage the chance of the child having a relationship with the other parent and in doing so put their dislike for the other parent above the needs and emotional welfare of the child. In this way, parental alienation is sometimes difficult to establish due to the fact that children can sometimes choose to take a particular parent’s side in a separation or divorce situation.
In terms of UK law, there is currently no provision for the courts to specifically deal with cases of parental alienation in their own right. However, if parental alienation is an issue, the courts do have the power to decide on a suitable remedy on a case-by -case basis. A Children Act 1989 application can be made to the court. Cafcass would also become involved and would report to the court on their assessment of the child. In a serious case of parental alienation, the court could possibly order that the child be removed from the care of the accused parent and into the care of the alienated parent. This would prevent further relationship breakdown between the child and alienated parent and also protect the emotional welfare of the child. It does of course have far reaching impact if this step is taken.
” It is important to remember that parental alienation can have a hugely negative impact not only on the alienated parent but can also have a longstanding and serious impact on the emotional wellbeing of the child involved. In this way, cases of parental alienation must be spotted and prevented early.” – Annemarie Ward, Solicitor, Sinclair Law.
Please get in touch with us if you feel that you or your child could be a victim of parental alienation and we can help. Free 30-minute initial consultation.