Parental Alienation

The working definition of parental alienation used by CAFCASS 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’. 

Essentially, parental alienation is a type of psychological manipulation that may take place when parents separate or divorce, and are in dispute about matters related to their children, such as who the child should live with and/or spend time with.

Where parental alienation occurs, it can have drastically negative consequences for both the parent who has been alienated, and the child. These situations can be incredibly challenging to deal with, and the alienated parent will likely need to access legal support. They may also need support from professionals such as therapists, to remedy the situation for them and their child.

If you believe that your case may involve aspects of parental alienation, our family lawyers can provide the specialist support that you will need.

Our experts can assist in many ways, including:

  • Legal advice
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Court proceedings

Get in touch with our friendly, experienced family lawyers

For advice about resolving your family law issues, contact our family lawyers in East Sussex. You can contact us at our offices in BattleBexhill on SeaEastbourneHastings or Rye.

Or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.

How we can assist with parental alienation

Legal advice

If you believe that you are experiencing parental alienation, and you need support to resolve the situation, our lawyers can carefully assess your unique case, and provide bespoke legal advice.

At Heringtons we understand how difficult it can be to experience parental alienation. Feeling like your child has been turned against you can provoke an incredible amount of anxiety and stress.

Rest assured, we have dealt with a diverse range of parental alienation cases, including mother parental alienation and father parental alienation. We can explain your options to you in simple terms, supporting you to move towards a positive outcome.

Alternative dispute resolution

In certain cases, alternative dispute resolution methods, such as family mediation, may be suitable to resolve family cases.

The mediation process is less expensive and formal than Court proceedings, and as such, it can be less stressful for families, and their children. Not all cases will be suitable for mediation and your lawyer will be able to help you make this assessment, once they have an understanding of the case.

Mediation can help to remedy family cases in many ways. It can provide a useful space to allow parents to express their perspectives and communicate, with the support of an impartial and qualified mediator. Mediation sessions can help the disputing parties to work on the issues at hand, and avoid misunderstandings.

Applying to the family Court

Not all family cases involving parental alienation are possible to solve via alternative dispute resolution and it may be necessary to lodge an application with the Court.

Rest assured, when you work with our team at Heringtons we will make certain that you have the robust legal support that you need every step of the way.

Frequently asked questions about parental alienation

What is parental alienation?

The working definition of parental alienation used by CAFCASS 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’. 

Parental alienation involves different behaviours committed by the parent who seeks to alienate the other. These behaviours might include speaking badly of the other parent, imposing limitations on visitation and child contact, or even making false allegations. False allegations cases can be incredibly serious. If you are experiencing a parental alienation case like this, it is paramount to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible.

Is parental alienation illegal in the UK?

In the UK, the act of parental alienation is not against the law. The Family Courts do take instances of parental alienation seriously, closely considering the harmful effects that it can have on the welfare of the child, and the parent who has been alienated.

If the Court makes findings that parental alienation has occurred, the Court may consider it when making decisions regarding with whom a child is to live and otherwise spend time with.

What can a judge do about parental alienation?

If a Judge believes that parental alienation has taken place, there are various different actions that they might take to ensure that the welfare of the child is prioritised.

A Judge may make an Order which requires the family to take part in mediation sessions, or family therapy. This type of support can help to remedy the negative feelings that the child has developed towards the alienated parent, and encourage positive communication.

If appropriate, the Judge may make a Child Arrangements Order setting out with whom the child shall live and otherwise spend time with. If there is an existing Child Arrangements Order in place, the Judge can vary those arrangements as appropriate. In rare circumstances, the Court does have the power to transfer residence of a child to the alienated parent.

When dealing with all private children law cases, the Court must consider the welfare checklist under the Children Act 1989, which focuses on protecting children and ensuring their welfare, covering areas such as parental responsibility and child arrangements.

How do you prove parental alienation?

If you believe that you are experiencing parental alienation, you are advised to collect evidence if you can, and document what has occurred. You should keep a record of behaviours and incidents which you believe to are examples of parental alienation.

For example, if there have been instances where one parent has prevented or discouraged visitation and contact between the other parent and their child. Other examples might include false accusations or negative comments, intended to manipulate, or influence the child.

Proving parental alienation can be difficult, and so, if you are experiencing this, it is important that you get in contact with a specialist lawyer. Your lawyer will assist you to gather evidence, build your case, and advise you in relation to the most appropriate steps to progress your case. Expert legal support is the best way to protect yourself, your child, and resolve matters quickly.

Contact our Family Law Team

For legal support with parental alienation, please get in touch with our experts at Heringtons. You can contact us at one of our offices in  BattleBexhill on SeaEastbourneHastings or Rye.

For further information or to speak to one of our experts please call us on 0800 0014543.

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