Page 20 - Phonebox Magazine June 2024
P. 20

My partner is turning my child against me – what can I do?
If you’re worried that your child is avoiding seeing you because of exaggerated, false, or negative information being given to them by your ex, then your child could be a victim of ‘parental alienation’. Jane Charlton, Legal Director at Milton Keynes-based law firm Shakespeare Martineau explains your legal rights...
    ‘Parental alienation’ is a term often used in cases where a child or children are particularly resistant to spending time with one of their parents, or an individual with parental responsibility.
Parental alienation can exist in varying degrees, from mild alienation where a child resists visits to a parent, to severe alienation where a child actively tries to get away from the ‘alienated’ parent.
What are examples of alienating behaviour?
Often, alienation is the result of a long-running pattern of smaller behaviours, which the ‘alienating’ parent may not even be aware of. For example:
• Language is used around a child which discourages them from
seeing or enjoying their time with the other parent
• One parent tries to limit or disrupt the time a child spends with
the other parent
• One parent demands constant communication when the child is
not in their care, but does not offer the same when the child is in
their care
• The child is made to feel responsible for not disappointing or
angering the ‘alienating’ parent
• The child is made to feel that they must choose between
their parents.
What can I do about parental alienation?
Parental alienation is difficult to prove, so if you think your child is being discouraged from seeing you, you should keep a clear, confidential record of everything you observe that doesn’t seem right to you, documenting your visits and logging requests made by the other parent. You may find that using a parenting app is an easy way to keep a clear record of the contact you have with the other parent, and any missed visits.
Ensure you stick to any agreements you have reached about contact (whether agreed voluntarily, in mediation or by court order). If your agreement is not adhered to, keep a log as evidence should the matter end up in court. Maintain an open relationship with your child so they feel comfortable telling you things without needing to add pressure.
If you believe this is happening to you, or if you are being accused of parental alienation, seek legal advice.
Separation and divorce can be highly stressful and emotional, so it’s important to have a trusted advisor by your side. For more information and support call 01908 304412, email jane.charlton@ or visit
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   20 Phonebox Magazine | June 2024

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