Parental alienation in family law disputes

Sep 12, 2019 2:43:58 PM blog 36 resized

When the romantic relationship between parents breaks down, parental alienation is sometimes used as an unfair tactic to harm one parent's relationship with their children. There are remedies available to rectify the situation, and it helps to educate yourself on what the processes are.

What is parental alienation?

Parental alienation takes place when one parent sets out to purposefully denigrate the other one. They may convince the child that the other parent is a bad person and discourage them from spending time with them.

The aim of parental alienation is to destroy one parent's bond with their child. It's a destructive behaviour that most often occurs when parenting arrangement disputes are becoming heated.

What type of behaviours lead to parental alienation?

Parental alienation usually stems from abusive and controlling behaviours. When one parent has the desire to seek revenge on the other or inflict emotional harm, they may try to use their children as a tool to achieve their aims. When this type of behaviour takes place, the parent who is promoting it may see themselves as winning some form of game. There may also be a desire to prove to the courts that the child isn't interested in the other parent and then use that to negotiate their parenting arrangements.

The effects of parental alienation and family disputes

Parental alienation results in far-reaching consequences for both the child and the affected parent. The child-parent bond can break down. When there are false accusations of assault, children are often subjected to confusing and intrusive interviews. The process of being interviewed and being encouraged to lie about a parent can result in psychological trauma to the child.

Many children also lose their sense of permanency when alienation results in them seeing their parent and extended family less often than usual. They can feel unsafe and unsure of their role in the family and may worry about whether their parent can be there for them.

Tackling the problem using family law specialists

Fortunately, there are ways to address parental alienation. Mediation and family therapy can support both the child and the affected parent. As mediation is a minimal-conflict approach, it gives you the chance of negotiating a parenting arrangement in a calm setting. In extreme cases, the affected parent may need to take their case into a court setting to arrange for consistent contact with their child.

If you're suffering as a result of parental alienation, it is in your interests to seek expert advice. At East Coast Family Law, we have an experienced and approachable team of family lawyers that can help you. To learn more, contact 1300 735 947.

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