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Parental Alienation

Posted: 19-06-2020

You may find yourself in a position where you and ex-partner have separated and you have a child together. You now wish to spend regular time with your child but your child is resistant or refusing to spend time with you and as a consequence your ex-partner is refusing to allow you any contact.

There may be a number of reasons why a child does not wish to spend time with a parent, however it is important to recognise if there is any evidence of parental alienation early on. It can then be managed in the early stages to avoid real harm being caused to your child and to your relationship with your child.

What is parental alienation?

Parental alienation is when a child’s resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent. Both men and women can demonstrate alienating behaviours, and whilst alienation can be demonstrated solely by one parent, it is often a combination of behaviours and attitudes adopted by both parents and the child.  Such behaviours can include constantly badmouthing the other parent, limiting or refusing contact, making the child believe that the other parent does not love them, or refusing to acknowledge the other parent exists and/or is part of the child’s life.

The above actions can result in the child not wishing to spend time with the other parent and believing the other parent is undeserving of attention or is even dangerous.

What can be done?

Early intervention is important to stop any ongoing harm being caused to the child and to prevent any long-term damage which may be irreversible in the future.

If you have any immediate concerns about whether you are being alienated from your child then a report can be made to Children’s Services and/or CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) if the court is involved.  You should ensure that there is an early record of when the alienation may have begun.

You should seek specialist legal advice in this area from an experienced solicitor.  You may have to initiate court proceedings to enable the court to determine whether you are being alienated from your child. A Finding of Fact Hearing is often necessary to make such a determination. The court will request relevant information from CAFCASS and Children’s Services to help make a decision.

If the court determine you are being alienated by the other parent it can result in enforcement of orders or even a change of residence if this is the only way to ensure the children maintains a relationship with both parents.

At Sousa Law we offer free initial consultations in relation to all Family, Children, Divorce and Financial matters and can talk you through all options available to you to resolve any issues in dispute. If you have any further questions or need advice please do not hesitate to contact us.

By James Looi and Catherine Sousa

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Family Solicitor Southampton, Family Lawyer Southampton, Divorce Lawyer Southampton, Divorce Solicitor Southampton