As a Family Solicitor with over 20 years experience I have unfortunately encountered many cases where one parent is hostile to contact taking place between the children and the other absent parent. When this happens for no reason then in my view parental alienation exists.
Parental Alienation Syndrome, more widely acknowledged and accepted in the US, occurs when the resident parent exerts such an influence over a child that he or she successfully destroys any relationship that the child might previously might have had with the now absent parent. “Brain Washing” is the term we are all familiar with.
The child becomes alienated from the absent parent and is effectively turned against them with devastating consequences. Children in this situation are in an extremely vulnerable position as they rely on the parent with whom they live with to care and provide for them, and naturally the child will want to please them resulting in a lack of contact with the absent parent.
If you find yourself in this situation you may well be advised to make a Court application to resolve your termination of contact. There is likely to be an independent report ordered by the Court from a body called CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) who may well interview the child direct in an attempt to establish their real feelings and wishes.
Ultimately the Court has the power to order that the children live with the absent parent. Clearly changing a child’s residence is a big decision but on balance it may be in the best interest of the child.
If you find yourself in this position or you need our help, please call 0800 088 6004