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Parental alienation during a custody battle

Some Alaska parents may remember hearing about the custody case in which a father alleged that his estranged spouse, from whom he was seeking a divorce, had turned their children against him. After the children refused to see him, a judge ordered them to attend parental alienation therapy in order to restore their attachment to their father. This therapy has been the subject of some controversy.

According to a clinical psychologist and expert on alienated children, bitter custody disputes arising during or after a divorce can have a damaging effect on children involved in these cases. He states that parental alienation is a form of pathology that has not been defined but can be successfully treated. On the other hand, he is careful to emphasize that some forms of alienation may be legitimate and that deprogramming in such cases can be harmful.

The challenge lies in determining whether parental alienation has occurred as a consequence of the willful manipulation of the custodial parent. Some parents with personality disorders, for example, may be more inclined to turn their children against the other parent without legitimate cause to do so. These cases may require extensive investigation in order to justify whether a child should receive alienation therapy or whether someone's parental rights have been violated.

Cases such as these can be immensely difficult for a family to undergo precisely because they can involve deeply personal issues and emotions. If a parent is concerned that their counterpart has turned their children against them to gain an advantage in their custody dispute, it may be advisable to discuss the matter with an attorney who has experience in family law matters. Legal counsel may be able to assist a parent in assembling and presenting documentation that substantiates their claims and refutes allegations the other party has made against them.

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