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Part II: Understanding parental alienation

Regular readers of our Ann Arbor legal blog will undoubtedly recall that we recently published a post that took a look at Attorney Ashish S. Joshi's "Temporary No-Contact Orders: The Necessary Ingredient for Effective Reunification in Cases Involving Parental Alienation" that was published in the Michigan Family Law Journal. (You can read part one of "Understanding Parental Alienation" here.)

Attorney Joshi points out that there much important work remains after a court has determined that a family law case involves parental alienation. The next step for the court is to decide in the best interests of the child on needed legal and mental health interventions.

For instance, "the court must weigh and balance the long-term benefits of repairing the parent-child relationship" versus the temporary emotional cost of removing the child from the custody of the alienating parent. (In some cases, the court will enforce a temporary no-contact order.)

In one case cited by Joshi, the court was torn between leaving a girl in her alienating mother's care and having the girl removed from that care, an action which the judge decided had a "high likelihood of failure." He was concerned that the girl would "psychologically buckle under the enormous strain" of removal, even though the mother was poisoning the girl's relationship with her father.

The appeals court disagreed, however, deciding that a court cannot allow an uncompromising parent "blind to her child's interests" to sway it. The court is obligated to make the order it determines is in the best interests of the child, the appeals court decided.

We will have more on parental alienation in the next installment in this series. Please check back.

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