A father’s rights to his children are being upheld and supported more than ever before. A story from over 5 years ago created a cascade of father alienation cases, with many of them resulting in the mother facing stiff penalties, including losing custody of her children.
The court case that made international headlines was that of a Canadian mother who, for well over a decade, chose to alienate her three young daughters from their father. It began with the father only being allowed to call to say “good night” three times a week and having sporadic overnight visits with his children.
Over time, the mother cut off all points of contact with the father, and would regularly tell her daughters that their father was a bad person. The Superior Court of Justice, Justice Fay McWatt, who oversaw the case described the mother’s brainwashing campaign as “consistent and overwhelming”.
Parental Alienation Is Nothing Short of Emotional Abuse
Ex-spouses and lovers may be left feeling bitter and resentful towards one another. However, alienating a child from the other parent conveys a damaging three-part message:
- That only one of a child’s two parents loves them
- That the alienated parent is unavailable and/or dangerous
- That pursuing a relationship with the alienated parent will jeopardize the child’s relationship with the alienating parent
What a child is often believed to hear when he or she is alienated from a parent is that he or she is worthless, unloved, and is only valued if he or she meets the needs of other individuals.
Fighting Against Parental Alienation
In the story above, the courts believed that the mother’s relentless ‘bad mouthing’ of the father and unwillingness to allow the father into his daughters’ lives could only be solved with a change in custody.
The three girls also attended a special intensive therapy program designed for children who have suffered what is referred to as “parental alienation syndrome.” The mother was financially responsible for covering their treatment.
In California, parental alienation is typically defined as being mild, moderate or severe. Mild to moderate cases include therapy and will not likely result in change of custody. Severe cases, however, may result in the alienated parent winning custody of the children.
If you are an alienated parent, you have to act quickly as it is not uncommon for such cases to take many months to resolve. At the law office of Fischer and Van Thiel LLP, we have handled a number of such cases and have facilitated fair outcomes that include child and parent therapy and reunification.
If you have been kept away from your children, or are being accused of keeping your children away from their other parent, we invite you to contact us today to discuss your particular situation at (760) 722-7669.