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Parental Alienation - what is it and how you can you identify it?

What is Parental Alienation?

Although there is no single definition, parental alienation is recognised to be when a child’s resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent. This is one of several reasons why a child may possibly reject or resist spending time with one parent post separation.

How can you identify Parental Alienation?

While not restricted to alienation, behaviours and indicators can include: a parent constantly badmouthing or belittling the other; limiting contact; forbidding discussion about them and creating the impression that the other parent dislikes or does not love the child.

Being able to identify when parental alienation is really happening or not is a skill of an experienced family lawyer and may also require the independent assessment of an expert. The effects of parental alienation on the child and the parent can include –

  • poorer self-esteem;
  • higher rates of depression;
  • longer term relationship difficulties;
  • identity difficulties; and
  • potential rejection in the long term of the alienating parent by the child.

Both men and women can demonstrate alienating behaviours. While alienation can be demonstrated solely by one parent, it is often a combination of child and adult behaviours and attitudes, with both parents playing a role that lead to the child rejecting or resisting spending time with the other parent.

What should I do if I have concerns about Parental Alienation?

It is important that you speak to a solicitor as soon as possible. The solicitor can provide you with your legal options available. If a court application becomes necessary, we can discuss this process and what information would be required to assist your case.

If Cafcass is not involved in the case, it is important that you speak to a solicitor as soon as possible. The solicitor can provide you with your legal options available.

If you would like further information on Parental Alienation or to find out your options, please contact our Family Solicitors, Aadil Khan or Paul Wild, on 0118 9589711 or email [email protected]. Aadil and Paul also offer a one-hour confidential fixed fee meeting at our Reading office for £95 inclusive of VAT.

Further Reading:

How to Reduce Tension (and potentially expensive Court proceedings) in Divorce Proceedings

A Day in the Life of a Family Solicitor

Shall I put my home in my children’s names?

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Get in Touch

Paul Wild offers a fixed fee initial meeting of one hour to discuss your personal circumstances, your options and your next steps, at a cost of £95.00 ( inc VAT) , followed by a free letter of advice.

Paul will meet you in our Reading Berkshire office. If you would like to meet with Paul please telephone the office so that an appointment can be arranged.

Paul is a Solicitor specialising in Family Law and is a member of Resolution (formerly The Solicitors Family Law Association) and has trained in and practises both Mediation and Collaborative Law and is a member of Reading Family Mediation (“RFM”) and also the Thames Valley Collaborative POD.

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (SRA Number 549694).

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