22 July 2016

Parental alienation – time for recognition in the UK?

All too often in cases do we witness something known as parental alienation. This is where a parent seeks to turn their child(ren) against the other parent usually following separation. This subsequently effects the relationship between the child and the other parent and can significantly hamper contact and any future relationship they desire.

Do the courts pay enough recognition to this? One could argue that they are starting to but by the time it has been reported upon and established that this is taking place the damage is often done. The higher courts are certainly now making mention of this when giving judgment but recognition is not so commonplace in lower courts.

Parental alienation is recognised in the USA and Canada and is even illegal in Brazil. However, we are some way behind.

For it to be established and accepted a lengthy CAFCASS investigation and report is required, often with the appointment of a guardian to represent the children. This can take some time and can be frustrating for the parent who is being alienated and marginalised.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that CAFCASS is significantly over burdened and under resourced – probably largely due to a lack of funding – and as such the reports can often take too long.

This issue is something the government needs to address – not just in terms of proper recognition of parental alienation but also in terms of dealing with it and reporting upon it swiftly to mitigate the emotional impact and harm that is caused to the children.

Here at Harrison Clark Rickerbys we have an experienced and large team who deal with a range of Children Act disputes and often advise parents on how best to deal with parental alienation.

It is important prompt advice and action is taken so if you have any concerns about the above then please do get in touch as soon as possible.

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About the Author
James Osborne, Associate Solicitor
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