Parental alienation is an appalling form of evil which turns children into casualties of the conflict between their parents. Practically speaking, Parental Alienation is not difficult to identify. It is the obvious estrangement of the child from the "targeted" parent by the language and/or actions of a "malicious" parent. While the harmful effects of alienation may be easy to spot, it is often difficult to effectively address within the context of the court system. There is no one size fits all remedy to deal with detriment caused by Parental Alienation.
Bains Law Firm has successfully dealt with the issue of Parental Alienation for several clients. We take a tenacious, aggressive approach to hold the malicious parent accountable for their offending conduct of fostering, instilling, promoting and otherwise encouraging alienation. That approach is balanced with seeking out effective, therapeutic help for the affected child in order to rebuild a healthy relationship with the targeted parent.
Here's a couple of case summaries:
1: Mother has primary custody of special needs teenage child. Father systematically preys upon vulnerable child with a barrage of toxic communication about the Mother; including repeatedly sending vulgar, sexually explicit text messages about Mother. Father convinces child to meet with him. Upon doing so, Father obtains an emergency protection order against Mother. She is unable to have contact with child until the hearing date. Father uses that time period to un-enroll the child from his local school and flee Washington State. Father enrolls the child in another school out of state. Upon dismissal of the baseless protection order, Mother immediately gets an emergency custody order in Washington and obtains a similar custody order in the child's new state. Law Enforcement involved, and ultimately the child is returned to Mother.
Result: Child back in Mother's custody, back in school, and in counseling. Father is subjected to a restraining order. Court makes a finding of "abusive use of conflict", and Father's residential time is limited and supervised. Father also required to have mental health assessment.
2: Upon contested child custody trial, Father determined to be primary residential parent for preteen and teenage sons. After trial Mother attempts to modify the Parenting Plan multiple times seeking custody; failing each time. Mother also initiates half a dozen CPS referrals alleging abuse by the Father, which all are unfounded. Repeatedly, the credibility of Mother's claims was brought into question as the children were making up stories of physical abuse about the Father, at the urging of Mother. Having failed in court and with CPS, Mother instructs the children not to go to Father's upon the conclusion of her residential time. Mother would bring children to visitation exchanges, but children would refuse to get out of the car as Mother would sit idly by. Children would refuse to take the bus home from school, and walk a great distance through less than desirable surroundings to go to Mother's home rather than to Father's house. Father ultimately missed several weeks of residential time.
Result: Father's status as primary residential parent restored. Mother found in contempt of court which was upheld upon revision motion and in the appellate Courts. Mother was financially sanctioned. Children have been ordered into counseling.
Parental Alienation can serve as a basis for limiting residential time in a Parenting Plan under Washington State law. Referred to "abusive use of conflict", the statute authorizes the imposition of limitations upon a parent who engages in such harmful behavior. RCW 26.09.191(3)(e). Determining whether a malicious parent's alienation efforts rises to the level of "abusive use of conflict" to justify limitations on that parent will depend heavily on the facts.
Family law litigation can be emotionally difficult and complex. Decisions made about each step of the litigation can affect you for many years. At Bains Law Firm, we have decades of experience helping our clients through the difficulty of family law matters, including parental alienation cases and can help you through the process. Contact us today at (253) 838 – 3377 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, to talk about your case.
Disclaimer: All materials provided on this website have been prepared by Bains Law Firm for general information purposes only and no representation is made as to their completeness or accuracy. Information on this website is not intended as legal advice, and may not be relied upon as such. Only an attorney who can review the unique facts of each case and apply them to the statutes, case law and court rules can provide legal advice. Nothing in this website shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.