Parental Alienation is a common issue in family parenting disputes, broadly speaking is refers to one parent attempting to block the other parent from the child, or in more severe circumstances turn the child against the other parent.

It was first termed in the United States as Parental Alienation Syndrome in 1980 by a child psychiatrist.

Today in Australia it is regularly seen in parenting matters through the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia.

There are a number of ways parental alienation can present itself, whether it be intentional, unintentional, direct or indirect, some examples are as follows:

  1. Denigration of the other parent in front of or in the hearing of the child.
  2. With holding access to time with the child.
  3. Excessive communication with the child during time with the other parent to reduce the possibility of a relationship developing.
  4. Encouraging the child to recognise a division between the two parents, an example being by “keeping secrets”

The Family Law Act and the Family Court system deals with parental alienation in a variety of ways, examples are as follows:

  1. Family Dispute Resolution can allow for the parties to come together and discuss the issues occurring.
  2. An agreement can be reached at Family Dispute Resolution for the parties to attend family therapy to assist the parties and the child work through the issues.
  3. The Court can make Orders for time to occur, uninterrupted and for no party to speak negatively of the other parent in the hearing of the child.
  4. If parties contravene orders in place, the Court can order parties to be on good behaviour bonds, make up time, fines or even imprisonment.

If you wish to seek some advice about parental alienation and seek assistance, contact Adams & Partners today.

Written by Lauren Hitchen.

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