Estate & Family Law Blog

Parental alienation can be a sad side-effect of divorce


The end of a marriage can be an emotionally trying time for even the most well adjusted person. For a child, it may be devastating. Many Vancouver parents are able to work together during and after a divorce to provide the most stable environment they can for their children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and sometimes children become unwitting pawns in a battle between bitter adults. In some instances, this can lead to parental alienation.

Parental alienation is a term that has become all too frequently used in Canadian law; it has appeared in more than 6,300 cases in this country. The situation occurs when one parent, generally the custodial parent, attempts to block the other parent’s access to their children. It can also happen as the result of one parent trying to win over the child to the exclusion of the other, perhaps with gifts or lavish promises, or by denigrating the other parent in the eyes of the child.

The results of parental alienation can be very sad. Children may become confused by conflicting emotions, and end up having poor relationships with one parent. An adult who has been alienated from his or her child may become depressed and/or angry. Extreme cases may be seen as child abuse and could be subject to criminal prosecution.

It is hoped that cases of parental alienation may be avoided through a collaborative approach to divorce, or at least by considering the welfare of the child or children first. If an individual in Vancouver feels he or she is a victim, however, that person may wish to consider what legal options are available. To gain a greater understanding of what can be done, it may be advisable to speak with a family law attorney for advice and assistance.

Source: FindLaw Canada, “What is parental alienation?“, Accessed on Jan. 17, 2017

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