Parental alienation is defined in Wikipedia as
“the process, and the result, of the psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members”
The issue is no stranger to the family lawyer and has been a sad feature of many cases where children have been emotionally harmed as they become enmeshed and entrapped within the bitterness of relationship breakdown.
It is therefore extremely encouraging that CAFCASS, the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (the Government organisation that looks after what used to be called court welfare officers) has provided useful guidance to assist the court, family law professionals, and parents and children deal with this complex issue.
Parents thought to be guilty of alienation will first be given the opportunity to change their behaviour with the help of intense therapy. In extreme cases the children could be removed from their care and in even more extreme cases they face the prospect of a permanent ban from any form of contact with them.
Sarah Parsons, the assistant director of Cafcass, said:
“We are increasingly recognising that parental alienation is a feature in many of our cases and have realised that it’s absolutely vital that we take the initiative. Our new approach is ground-breaking.”
This is straight talking but is important to bring the issue to the attention of those at fault.
In the spring of 2018, Cafcass workers will be given a new guidance which will set out what steps they need to take if they suspect alienation is taking place. This includes a “high conflict pathway” which will sets out exactly when it is appropriate to remove children from the care of offending parents.
If you are looking for legal advice in relation to parental alienation, Farleys Solicitors has a team of family law experts available to talk you through your case in confidence. Call us today on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.