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I Am an Alienated Parent, What Can I Do?

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As discussed in our previous blog, What is Parental Alienation?, parental alienation is any behaviour by a parent with the intention to damage the child’s/children’s relationship with the other parent. It is a malicious and damaging phenomenon that impacts the alienated parent, possibly destroys their relationship with their child/children, esteem and mental health but also has potentially long-term effects on children if they are exposed to the behaviour long enough. Parents who have found themselves on the receiving end of alienating behaviour might feel hopeless and unsure how to move forward. They might worry that they will not be believed or that their claim might not hold weight should they bring the matter to court. Thankfully, the family courts in Ontario are aware of this growing phenomenon and the detrimental effects it has on the children and wider family unit.

What is the Court’s Response and What are the Possible Remedies for an Alienated Parent?

In instances where the court has found that there has been evidence of alienating behaviour by

one parent towards another, the court has responded in the following ways:

1. Making orders to increase parenting time and/or decision-making responsibility for the alienated parent.

2. Reconciliation counselling: A court may order reconciliation counselling to help reunite the alienated parent with their child.

3. Ensuring that one judge stays on the case in order to monitor compliance with court orders.

4. Finding the alienating parent in contempt of court: this can be where the alienating parent has decided not to follow orders of the court.

5. In certain cases, there might be an order for custody reversal.

This list does not encompass all the possible remedies to or responses of the court to parental

alienation. As time goes on and as more research is done on parental alienation, it is likely that

the law, as it usually does, will continue to be modified to address these issues. However, to ensure that the court can accurately remedy the issue of parental alienation, it is of the utmost importance that parties are providing the courts with evidence so the court can help them and their families as best as possible. Below are some helpful tips and tools an alienated parent

should keep in their back pocket to help gather this evidence:

1. Do not fight fire with fire: Simply put, the alienated parent should not retaliate by exhibiting alienating behaviour as well.

2. Keep a record of the alienating behaviour: This can be in the form of keeping a journal documenting dates and times and instances in which parental alienation occurred. The journal can be as detailed as possible and include who perpetuates the alienating behaviour, phrases used, etc.

3. Making access requests in writing: Further to the above, it is helpful to document requests to see the children or schedule time with them in writing. Any negative responses or no response should also be documented.

As painful and devastating as it might be to be alienated, the above-noted tips are extremely

important steps an alienated parent should take to ensure that they are able to access the

resources and remedies available to them by the court.

Please contact us at 905-215-1905 to book a consultation to learn more about parental alienation and your options.

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