What Is Parental Alienation and How Does It Affect Child Custody?

Have you ever felt like your child is suddenly in another world? That they aren’t listening to what you say, or even looking at all times. This could be an indicator of parental alienation- when kids start tuning out their parents it’s often because there’s been some kind confrontation between them and the other person who should represent authority figure for this situation (the alienated parent).



What is Parental Alienation?

It has been said that parental alienation can be defined as a child’s relationship with their parents becoming estranged due to one parent’s actions. This results in the children viewing the other parent purely negatively, through both conscious programming techniques and subconscious/unconscious methods.

The results of such conduct are as follows:

1. The child may wish to limit or entirely cut off contact with the rejected parent.

2. The child will have no obvious feelings of guilt or ambivalence about this rejection.

3. The child will see the alienated parent as demonized and evil.

4. Often, parental alienation results in custody disputes.

5. Unfortunately, the emotional damage of parental alienation can have long-lasting effects on a child and even affect their future relationships with their own children.



Indicators of Parental Alienation:

– The child’s withdrawal from the relationship with their parent

– Sometimes the child may use language that is not appropriate for their age, and use speech that sounds rehearsed

– The child may make unsubstantiated allegations against the alienated parent.

– The child views one parent as entirely bad, and the other parent as entirely good

– The rejection and denigration by the child is persistent and regular

– The animosity is not just to the rejected parent but also to their family and friends

– The rejection is irrational



There will be no Alienation found where:

– The hostility and rejection is temporary and short-lived rather than chronic

– Rather than being common, the action is infrequent.

– Only when particular circumstances are met does the behavior occur.

– Both parents are the targets of the action.

– The child shows love and affection at times



Parental Alienation & Custody

The Divorce Act follows the maximum contact principle, which means that every child will have access to both parents so long as it is in their best interest. Any parent who does not follow a scheduled custody arrangement or tries to prevent their child from seeing the other parent can face penalties in court. Alienation can be a very serious issue, and it’s important to maintain positive touch with the distancing child. Engaging in fun and conflict-free activities with the child can be one way to try and reverse the parental alienation effect.

A court-ordered resolution is possible, but it is costly and requires proof from objective third parties who can comment on the parent-child relationship.

Counselling may also be sought on the matter.

If the court has enough evidence, it could possibly reverse custody. The judge holds all the power in these cases and does not require expert testimonies to make a decision; sometimes all you need is a caring judge!

For more information regarding parental alienation or child custody, please contact our office at 905-366-0202 or find us online via our website. Our divorce lawyers in Mississauga and family lawyers in Mississauga are happy to help.


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