I have just read an excellent summary from the transparency project (link below) about a case from 2011 that has just been published in the UK.
Interesting is the fact that the child was at the time a ward of court, and the parents were still fighting for the child. In 2009 there had been enough evidence to see that the actions of both parents were detrimental to the child. In 2011 the judge summed up so:
The difficulty in the case is that each of them has heard clearly what I have said about the other, but for the most part, have not heard what was said about them … The conflict continues unabated. The mother continues to make allegations which the court has found unsubstantiated in her discussions with other professionals. The father still has no chink of understanding about why it all went wrong in the first place so far as his behaviour was concerned…
The court eventually denied both parents a residence order due to the “likely to be unhelpful to the future long-term care of the child.”
So why I am ‘reporting’ on this?
This case shows how important it is to sometimes take a step back and assess one’s actions. Friends, relatives, lawyers, child therapists, professionals and others can (hopefully) in most cases give an impartial view that will help.
I know this is difficult. The old saying “Can’t see the wood for the trees.” describes the situation quite aptly. Sometimes we are so convinced that what we are doing is ‘right’ that we lose the ability to see the whole picture, and more importantly, it’s effect on the children.
And if there is even an outside chance that mediation would work it is worth it for the current and future mental health of your children to start talking. For me, it never even got off the ground due to my ex-wife torpedoing it from the start. But I was able to use the contacts made at that time to discuss the situation from time to time with professionals that had the best interests of my children in mind.
Passing the decision onto the court to resolve should be the last option, and one should bear in mind that the court cannot solve everything as this case clearly demonstrates.
I think I can not only speak for the country I live in, but also any European country: More should be done before the courts are involved. And even though the article does mention that there is never 100% victim and 100% villain, there will in most cases be a parent that is so entrenched in their views that the absent parents moral and legal rights to see and have a half-way normal relationship with his or her children are being violated, leading to potential current and long-term effects on the children.
I am absolutely convinced from my own experiences that an early identification of such intransigent parents would lead to earlier corrective action that would ultimately reduce cases of parental alienation.
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