Part III: Understanding parental alienation

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2020 | Family Law

Regular readers of our Ann Arbor legal blog know that we have in recent posts delved into the complex issue of parental alienation – a phenomenon described by Attorney Ashish S. Joshi as a “mental condition in which a child – usually one whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict separation or divorce – allies himself or herself strongly with an alienating parent and rejects a relationship with the ‘target’ parent without legitimate justification.”

What is a court to do when it makes a determination that this damaging predicament exists? Joshi writes that “temporary no-contact orders are necessary and warranted in alienation cases” because of “severe behavioral, emotional, and cognitive impairments” suffered by alienated children.

Those kids often need temporary reprieves from the favored parent. Joshi writes that resumption of contact with the favored parent is dependent on that parent’s willingness and demonstrated ability to modify their alienating behaviors that factors in their past behavior modifications.

In cases of severe alienation, the attorney writes, knowledgeable clinicians have recommended “a period of 3-6 months before regular contacts” between the child and alienating parent.

Courts should move cautiously in allowing contact again “because research demonstrates that it is very hard for alienating parents to change their behaviors.”

Premature resumption of contact can too often result in the children again rejecting the targeted parent.

Unfortunately, some alienating parents are so caught up in their emotional schemes that they will choose to go for months without seeing their kids or trying to meet conditions that would allow them to resume contact.

Please check our blog in coming days for more information from Attorney Joshi on parental alienation.