A court when making an order in relation to care arrangements for a child, must make an order which is in the best interests of the child. In doing so, one of the factors the Court must consider is the nature of the child’s relationships with both parents.
In some cases a court may make a finding that one parent is either deliberately or subconsciously undermining the child’s relationship with the other parent. This alienating behaviour can have devastating effects upon a child’s emotional and psychological development, as well as the child’s long term relationship with the other parent. The level of parental alienation can range for that of undermining the other parent’s authority, to causing a child to become fearful of or hate the other parent.
In circumstances in which a court has made a finding of parental alienation, the Court is then faced with the difficult decision of how to deal with the situation, in the best interests of the child. Depending upon the level of alienation, a court may order:
1. That the child live with the parent who is not engaging in the alienating behaviour.
2. That the child not spend any time with the parent who is engaging in the alienating behaviour.
3. That the child not spend time with the parent whom the child has been alienated from.
A court will only make an order which would have the effect that a child not spend time with a parent in extreme cases of alienation and then only after it has exhausted all other avenues in attempting to deal with the situation. These are difficult cases and it is important that you have experienced family law solicitors representing you in such proceedings.