Family Law Hub

Parental Alienation

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  • The five-year-old daughter had always lived with her mother, but had been the subject of legal proceedings between her parents for most of her life. All other avenues to engage and promote a good and loving relationship with the father having failed, he was now seeking an order that he should be the child's primary carer and that she should live with him. This application was supported by the child's Guardian. After hearing evidence regarding the consequences of the child being denied a relationship with the father, the mother ceased to actively oppose the father's application. Agreed findings were made that the daughter's relationship with the father had not been consistently promoted by the mother, that the mother was not in a position to promote a positive relationship between the daughter and the father, and that the mother had alienated the daughter from her father. HHJ Raeside (sitting as a judge of the High Court) made further findings including that the father would be better able to promote a relationship between the daughter and the mother. The child's welfare was best met by a transfer of care to her father, as well as an immediate change of school. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • 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

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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