Parental Alienation Syndrome

Barbara Kay has a strongly-worded column in Full Comment, the National Post‘s blog, on a recent family law decision awarding sole custody of three daughters to the father.

The “persistent and overwhelming” campaign by the mother over the course of more than a decade was recognized as emotional abuse by Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt, and the children have been sent to a California therapeutic recovery centre for treatment.
[. . .]
According to the judgment against K. D., she is denied all contact with the girls, even by telephone or text messages She has been ordered not to come closer to them than 300 metres. A. L. has been given the right to confiscate their computers and cellphones. This is necessary, Justice McWatt said, because the mother had so poisoned her children’s feelings toward their father that they had lost their capacity for independent judgment in relating to him.

Although the father’s lawyer hailed the ruling as a “wake-up call to vengeful parents”, Kay takes exception to this optimistic view and sets out the following:

-In the case of the eldest child, the mother’s obsessive demonization of the father was flagged eight years ago by a Toronto mediator and clinical psychologist who testified the mother would alienate the children from their father: Where was “the court” eight years ago?

-The mother has been flouting the court-ordered visitation rights of the father since their separation, to the point of refusing his court-permitted thrice-weekly telephone calls (desperate for contact, he shouted good-night to the children through the doors): Where were the police who should have enforced access?

-The Office of the Children’s Lawyer, which alone decides which children it will assess and/or represent, did not get involved until the process was so far advanced that the damage was already done: Why did it take them so long?

-Even the judge noted that the father’s unrelenting determination to see this battle through was unique, and only possible to someone with an unusually high income (A. L. is a vascular surgeon): How are ordinary people without resources supposed to fight on their children’s behalf ?

Her entire commentary is worth having a look at.

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