Can collaborative law help couples avoid parental alienation?

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute LLP posted in Collaborative Law on Friday, October 28, 2016.

When parents separate, the unfortunate truth is that it is often their children who suffer the most. Whether wittingly or otherwise, adults sometimes trap their kids in the middle of a bitter dispute and even use them as weapons against each other. The results can be devastating for both the parents and the children. For some Alberta parents, collaborative law may help them to steer clear of this all too common pitfall.

When, during or after a divorce, one parent attempts to sway a child into seeing the other parent as undeserving of their attention, that parent is engaging in what’s called ‘parental alienation.’ This term first became recognized in the 1980s thanks to the work of a forensic psychiatrist named Dr. Richard Gardner. The practice was most commonly seen in cases of highly contentious divorce.

A recent study in the United States indicates that 13 percent of parents consider themselves victims of parental alienation. Despite the rising support of proposed shared parenting laws, an additional 22 million parents in the U.S. are at risk of being alienated. There are those who regard this phenomenon as a form of child abuse because of the emotional manipulation it entails, intentional or not.

Though a man and a woman may choose to separate, they both remain parents to the children they’ve raised together. Alberta parents who wish to avoid placing their children in the middle of an unfriendly divorce have alternatives to traditional litigation. With collaborative law, it may be possible for people who want to divorce to work out exit strategies and future arrangements that protect the feelings of everyone involved.

Source: Parent Herald, “Parental Alienation [LATEST NEWS]: Why It Is Time To End The Tragic Reality Of A Parent’s Psychological Manipulation Of Children“, KJ Williams, Oct 8, 2016

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