What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation

A divorce/separation can be an emotional time. Sometimes, even without realising, parents may express these complex emotions around their children, which can have a negative effect on family life. After a difficult separation, sometimes, one parent can psychologically manipulate a child’s feelings towards the other parent. This is now recognised by the courts and is known as parental alienation.

Cases of parental alienation can be complex and difficult for family members. The Family Law team at Verisona Law are experienced and knowledgeable, we are able to advise and assist in these situations. Obtaining clear advice early is important so we offer a free 20 minute family law consultation to discuss your concerns.

If you would like to book an appointment at our Portsmouth or Waterlooville office please call us on 023 9298 1000 or email connect@verisonalaw.com.

When does parental alientation occur?

Parental alienation occurs when a child is resisting/refusing time with a parent/carer after a separation or divorce, without a justifiable reason. This can be as a result of psychological manipulation by the other parent. It is a term becoming more acknowledged in family proceedings and has been recognised by court appointed social workers, known as Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service).

According to Cafcass, parental alienation occurs in around 125,000 cases every year. In 2018 a new scheme was created whereby any suspected cases of parental alienation within family proceedings are assessed by Cafcass officers using the Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF). This assists professionals when dealing with cases of parental conflict. Intervention will depend on individual cases and can include therapy to assist parents in addressing their behaviour and the potential harm that it could cause the child.

Justified reasons for a child to feel estranged 

It is essential to differentiate between situations where a child has a justified reason in feeling estranged from a parent, from situations where they have no rational reasons for this. Some examples are set out below:

  • Attachment – age and gender specific reactions to resist time with other parent, including separation anxiety
  • Justified rejection – e.g. where a child has been harmed by a parent or is frightened of them due to domestic abuse etc.
  • Post-Separation rejection – temporary reaction to a change in a family situation
  • Affinity/Alignment – a child may prefer to spend time with one parent over the other which can be developed before/during/after separation

Different levels of parental alienation

Parental alienation comes in a number of forms and different levels of severity. It can range from one parent criticising the other and limiting contact to giving the impression the child must choose between them by using threats and punishments. The long term effect of parental alienation on children and the affected parent can be distressing and harmful. It can distort relationships and create issues in a child’s growth and development. Its therefore extremely important to recognise this at the earliest opportunity.

Verisona Law can help

Cases of parental alienation can be complex and difficult for family members. The Family Law team at Verisona Law are experienced and knowledgeable, we are able to advise and assist in these situations.

Free legal advice on parental alienation

Obtaining clear advice early is important so we offer a free 20 minute family law consultation to discuss your concerns.

If you would like to book an appointment at our Portsmouth or Waterlooville office please call us on 023 9298 1000 or email connect@verisonalaw.com.


We have set out below a full list of the services our Family Department can provide whatever your circumstances. If you do however have a query which does not relate to any matter detailed below, please do contact our Family team who will endeavour to assist you.

Divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution

Whether you are the Petitioner or the Respondent within proceedings or whether you are simply contemplating the same we can provide guidance throughout the entire process. We can assist with:

  • Drafting of documents
  • Negotiations with the other party
  • Correspondence with third parties such as the Court
  • Advice face to face, by telephone, by email.

Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements

Whether you are planning to marry or indeed have now married and wish to formalise arrangements in the event of separation we can advise and assist with the following:

  • Drafting agreements
  • Negotiating settlement
  • Corresponding with all parties

Separation

Whether you are married or living together and in the event you decide to go your separate ways we can assist in formally documenting terms of separation. We can assist in the following ways:

  • Drafting Separation Agreements whether in contemplation of divorce or whether to simply record the split of a cohabiting couple
  • Negotiations with third parties
  • Providing you with advice whether face to face, by telephone or by email.

Arbitration

Arbitration is an alternative to resolving disputes through the Court. At Verisona Law we can assist in a number of ways either by assisting you through the Arbitration or by referring matters to our in house Arbitrator. We offer competitive arbitration rates and a member of our team will be happy to assist with any queries in this regard. Please see our current articles on Arbitration for more details about the process.

Cohabitees/living together

If you have chosen not to marry but wish to live together you may wish to formalise the arrangements and details for doing so. We can assist in the following:

  • Drafting cohabitation agreements/living together agreements
  • Negotiations with all parties
  • Advising you in person, by telephone or email as appropriate.

Divorce where Business are involved

We have extensive experience in dealing with breakdown of marriage where one or both parties are owners of businesses or indeed it may be the family business. We have experience in providing you with advice and signposting for business valuations and will ensure that the business as an asset is dealt with appropriately within any proceedings.

Pensions

In addition to being able to provide specialised advice in relation to Public Sector pensions our team at Verisona Law has vast knowledge concerning all pension arrangements and can ensure that they are dealt with appropriately within any divorce proceedings. Please seek advice from a member of our team.

Parental Responsibility

We are able to advise on all aspects of Parental Responsibility including:

  • Agreements / Orders
  • Exercising your Parental Responsibility rights and duties where appropriate
  • Arising out of Parental Responsibility we can advise on applications for a Specific Issue Order to the Court if appropriate.

If you have any queries concerning Parental Responsibility and its impact on you or indeed whether you have Parental Responsibility for your children, please seek advice from a member of our team.

Assisting through Mediation

Whilst we do direct a number of matters through Mediation, this does not mean that you cannot have legal advice throughout the process. We can advise and assist you through the Mediation process and arrange thereafter to draw up formally any agreement reached be this by way of a Consent Order in divorce proceedings or simply to record in an open document the agreement you have reached at Mediation concerning the subject of your dispute.

Property Disputes

Whether you are married or otherwise, or indeed simply have an interest in a property owned by another we can provide you with advice and assistance including;

  • Applications to the Court
  • Negotiations with all parties
  • Advising and assisting you face to face, by telephone or by email.

Collaborative Law

This is an alternative way to resolve family disputes without the involvement of the Court. The Collaborative process requires both parties to have a Collaborative Lawyer and endeavours to resolve any disputes by way of four way meetings. We at Verisona Law can assist you through the Collaborative process. If this is an avenue of resolving dispute that you would be interested in, please contact a member of our team.

Children

We at Verisona Law can provide you with advice and guidance concerning any disputes you may have relating to your child. This may be with whom the child lives, with whom the child spends time with, a specific issue concerning a child or steps that you wish to take to prevent something happening (Prohibited Steps Order). We can also advise you in relation to maintenance disputes with a third party guidance with dealing with the Child Maintenance Service. If you have a query with any issue concerning your child please contact a member of our team.

Change of Name

Please contact a member of our team if you are interested in changing your first or surname to discuss the drafting of a Change of Name Deed. We offer a fixed price for a Change of Name and we can provide you with further information upon request.

I went to Verisona Law because I had been unsatisfied with two previous attempts with other firms. Verisona gave that real sense of service, made.me feel like a client they were happy to assist at all times and ultimately gave the BEST advice and guidance. Dont waste money; go to Verisona FIRST!


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