Parental alienation may have occurred where a child freely and persistently expresses unreasonable negative feelings toward one parent that are drastically different than the child’s actual experience with that parent. Alienation may be a combination of the other parent’s effort to discourage a normal parent-child relationship and the child’s own negative feelings toward one parent. It is generally incumbent upon both parents to encourage and facilitate a meaningful relationship with the other parent.
In custody proceedings, it is important to recognize parental alienation. In order to determine custody, the Court looks to the best interest of the child, and one of the factors the Court considers when awarding custody is the preference of the child. Therefore, parental alienation may negatively impact the final decision of the Court.
When a relationship between a parent and child has been damaged, the Court will often order therapeutic visitation. The parent and child will meet with a therapist on a regular basis to attempt to heal or repair the relationship.