Parental Alienation Day (25 April) – What is Parental Alienation?

By Karen Pritchard

Principal Associate

25th April marks “Parental Alienation Day”.

Parental alienation is a term used in family court proceedings. Whilst there is no single definition of “parental alienation”, Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) describes it as: “behaviours where one parent or carer expresses an ongoing pattern of negative attitudes and communication about the other parent or carer that have the potential or intention to undermine or even destroy the child’s relationship with their other parent or carer. These behaviours can result from a parent’s feelings of unresolved anger and a desire, conscious or not, to punish the other parent or carer.”

Examples of alienating behaviour might include, for example, making false allegations or derogatory comments about the other parent, or withholding positive information about that parent from the child, with the intention of detrimentally affecting that child’s relationship with the other parent.

We sometimes find that allegations of parental alienation are made against a parent where that parent has made allegations of abusive behaviour against the other parent. This results in a situation where the court must determine whether the child’s views about that parent are as a result of abusive behaviour that they may have seen or experienced, or due to parental alienation.  

Cafcass will endeavour to explore with a child why they hold views about a parent, and with the authority of the court, may work towards restoring the child’s relationship with the rejected parent if appropriate and safe to do so.

If you feel that your child may be experiencing parental alienation, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you require any assistance or further information please contact 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be very happy to assist.