Divorce can be a difficult time for couples that have children, especially if hard feelings exist between parents. Although many parents put aside their differences for the sake of their children and take measures for equal distribution of parenting time, animosity may result in parental alienation. While parental relationships can become strained during a divorce, it is important to avoid parental alienation, as it may have significant consequences, including the loss of child visitation rights.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is the act of persuading a child to exclude one parent from their life. This is often done by poisoning a child’s thoughts and perceptions of the other parent, and is estimated to exist in 11 to 15 percent of divorces that involve children, according to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). Parental manipulation resulting in alienation occurs most often in situations of divorce or separation, particularly when legal action is involved. Ranging in severity from mild to extreme, the act of parental alienation is recognized as a form of parental psychological abuse and family violence, and may have severe consequences on parents and children.
Initially, parents will be given the chance to change their behavior with the help of intense training and therapy programs. If the negative behavior does not stop, manipulative parents will not be allowed to live with their children. During this time, contact between the parent and child may be limited or refused, depending on the severity of the situation. If alienating parents do not stop their behavior, the parent may be prohibited from further contact with the child. Measures are being taken by the CAFCASS to put a stop to parental alienation. A recent trial program has established a regime to stop the abuse.
The CAFCASS Trial
The CAFCASS trial program is a multi-step process to prevent and repair cases of parental alienation. The 12-week trial will initially launch with 50 high-conflict families in a Positive Parenting program, a program that is designed to put the manipulative parent in the child’s position, while providing them with the skills necessary to break the pattern of abusive behavior. If the Positive Parenting program fails, the offending parent will be put in contact with mental health experts who will work with parents to stop the abusive behavior through therapy and consultation. Depending on the parent’s progress, time with children may be increased or limited.
Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Assist Victims of Parental Alienation During Divorce
Establishing parenting time during a divorce can be difficult, especially if hard feelings are present. If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties during divorce where children are concerned, do not hesitate to contact our Woodbridge divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Our experienced team of lawyers are knowledgeable in areas concerning child support and parenting time, and may be able to assist you during the divorce process. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call 908-575-9777.