Post-separation, there can be bitter feeling amongst the parties, where there are children involved this may lead to one parent attempting to alienate the other. While there is no single definition, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services (CAFCASS) recognise parental alienation as when a child’s resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent.
The signs of parental alienation can begin with small changes such as your child’s attitude changing towards you, or a reluctance to engage in contact, however the long term affects can be very damaging for the parent-child relationship.
The position the Courts take in terms of contact is that it is beneficial for children to have a relationship with both parents, unless there is a reason to justify why contact should not take place. Therefore, purposeful alienation of one parent by the other without a justified reason is opposed by the Courts.
If you seek contact with your child, and the other parent is refusing to allow this contact, you may wish to engage in mediation, which is where you meet with an independent third party mediator and discuss the issues openly. This option is less costly, and can be effective, however any agreement made in mediation is not legally binding.
Should mediation not be appropriate, the final option to consider would be to seek a Child Arrangements Order from the Courts. A Child Arrangements Order is a legally binding court order which will set out when, and with whom the child is to have contact. It can be enforced and non-compliance with the Order may lead to contempt of court charges being brought.
If you feel like you may be the victim of parental alienation and would like advice regarding children and family matters, please contact 01924 473065 to book a free 30 minute consultation.
Link to CAFCASS website: https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/parental-alienation/