Part V: Understanding parental alienation

On Behalf of | May 14, 2020 | Family Law

In our previous post, we pointed out Attorney Ashish S. Joshi wrote in his article on no-contact orders that courts dealing with high-conflict child custody disputes featuring parental alienation are sometimes warned that an order temporarily preventing contact between an alienating parent and a child will result in long-lasting trauma to the child.

In those situations, courts should remember that no studies show harm to the child done by a no-contact order; no studies show that adults who repaired relationships with estranged parents regretted doing so; and research shows that adults who, as children, disowned a parent regretted that decision.

Joshi notes that legal and mental health counselors who oppose no-contact orders often make flawed attachment theory-based arguments. He writes that the flawed arguments are typically based on research of children who suffered severe trauma because they were separated from their families for reasons other than parental alienation.

Joshi writes that it’s wrong for professionals to attempt to generalize the trauma suffered by children who are orphaned, for instance, with those who are caught up in cases of parental alienation. “When these experts predict that the child will be ‘traumatized’” by a no-contact order, he writes, “what they usually mean is that the child will be ‘unsettled.’”

Attorney Joshi writes “that parental alienation is psychological abuse” and that “removing the child from an alienating parent’s custody and entering a temporary no-contact order between the two is ultimately ‘far less harsh or extreme’” than leaving the child “under the toxic influence of the” alienating parent who fails to recognize a basic truth: children want and need both parents.