What is Parental Alienation?
Often separation or divorce are an extremely sensitive and emotional time for all members of the family and acts of parental alienation often add fuel to the fire and intensify an already stressful time.
Parental Alienation describes the act of one parent turning their children against the other parent and it occurs when one parent attempts to push out the other parent and remove the relationship between them and the child/ren.
What Are Some Examples of Parental Alienation under Australian Family Law?
There are many examples of parental alienation, but some common examples that the courts see, include:
- Criticising or belittling the other parent in front of the child;
- Sharing unnecessary details of the separation or divorce with the child;
- Using the child to ‘spy’ or share information about the other parent;
- Deliberately making the child unavailable to the other parent;
- Suggesting the child has been abused or harassed by the other parent without any evidence, and;
- Monitoring phone calls and other forms of communication between the child and the other parent.
How Do the Courts Deal with Parental Alienation?
While the courts can deal with cases of parental alienation under Australian family law in extreme cases, generally, your first approach should be to resolve the issue with dispute resolution techniques such as Mediation.
If matters persist, the alienated parent can take the issue to court. As with any children’s matter, the court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child. Under section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975, the primary considerations for this are:
“(a) the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and
(b) the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.”
What You Should Do If You Experience Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation should always be taken seriously. If you are experiencing alienation and you would like to discuss your concerns and resolve the issue as soon as possible, contact our family law team today.