Family Law Hub

Parental Alienation

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  • The father applied for a transfer of residence, stating that his relationship with the children, aged 10 and 11, would constantly be thwarted if they remained with their mother. The mother had covertly recorded various meetings, including one between the children and the Guardian. The creation and modification dates of documents did not align with the dates on which she claimed to have supplied the documents. HHJ Bedford was also satisfied that she had deliberately misled education professionals involved in the children's lives, perpetuating allegations which had been tried and dismissed by the judiciary. Her interference in their relationship with their father had caused them emotional harm and would continue to do so, as long as she parented them solely. During an interval at court, and being aware of HHJ Bedford's findings, the parents agreed to share the care of the children on alternating fortnights, and the Guardian endorsed this plan. HHJ Bedford thus made a suspended residence order: complete transfer of residence to the father would take place only if the mother defaulted from their agreement. Judgment, 02/12/2019, free
  • HHJ Wildblood QC decided that this heavily anonymised judgment should be released for publication, because it was in the public's interest to see badly wrong things could go in cases of parental alienation. There had been a failure here to identify the problem before the damage was done, and early intervention was essential. Indirect contact was of limited use in such cases. The extent of the children's alienation from the father had been underestimated, and now, following a failed transfer of residence, he had no contact with them at all, and had withdrawn proceedings to prevent further distress. In this hearing HHJ Wildblood QC gave the local authority permission to withdraw their public law proceedings. Judgment, 21/10/2019, free
  • The father applied for the son's care to be transferred from the mother to him, after the son rejected contact. Keehan J was highly critical of the evidence given by the social worker and the NYAS caseworker, accepting instead the report of an expert in the field of parental alienation. He noted that the mother's evidence at times consisted of a diatribe against the father. The mother saw no benefit in the son and father having a relationship, and she had plainly alienated the child against him. The best interests of the child required that a child arrangements order be made, that he should live with his father. Judgment, 17/10/2019, free
  • The mother claimed that her contact with the four children had been severely restricted in Pakistan, and she had not seen them at all since they had travelled to England with the father. She wished to re-establish contact. Sir Andrew McFarlane P found that, contrary to the children's belief, she did not abandon them in Pakistan; she was forced out by their father and his family and then kept away. Those findings of fact would now form the basis upon which the court would consider what steps could be taken to reintroduce her to the lives of her children. Judgment, 02/10/2019, free
  • An order had been made transferring the boy's home to that of his father in Northern Ireland, because maintaining the placement with his mother and grandmother would cause him emotional harm. The situation did not rise to the level of parental alienation, but the child was unable to speak positively of his father in the maternal home. The mother appealed, arguing that there had been procedural irregularity, the decision to transfer residence was premature, and the conclusions on the balance of harm were wrong or insufficiently evidenced. Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, found that none of the challenges made on her behalf had been sustained. The appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 09/05/2019, free

Latest know-how

  • In a tweet: Mother’s (“M”) appeal allowed in respect of private law child proceedings in which she alleged she had been “stranded” by the father (“F”) in Pakistan. Case note, 13/09/2019, members only

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