British Judge Sees Parental Alienation, Switches Custody to Father

December 29, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

A family judge who gets it?  A family judge who both gets it and does something about it?  I know it’s all but unbelievable, but it seems that British judge Mrs. Justice Parker finally saw the reality of parental alienation of children and did what many mental health professionals say must be done; she took the children from the alienating mother and placed them with the father.  Read about it here (Daily Telegraph, 12/23/13).

A High Court judge has condemned social workers for failing to grasp how warring parents can manipulate their own children after a relationship breakdown.

Mrs Justice Parker said spouses can cause “untold damage” to their offspring in the wake of a divorce or separation.

The judge delivered a harsh rebuke to social workers and an official guardian acting for three brothers at the centre of a contact dispute between their mother and father.

Sitting at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Parker expressed concern that the mother appeared to have turned her 15-year-old son against his father.

“Parents who obstruct the relationship with either mother or father are inflicting untold damage on their children and it’s about time the professionals truly understood this,” said the judge.

“I regard parental manipulation of children, of which I distressingly see an enormous amount, as exceptionally harmful.

As I’ve posted in the last couple of days, the concept of Parental Alienation has just been accepted by the American Psychiatric Association and included in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – V, albeit under a different name.  That followed years of intense efforts by parental alienation experts who’ve amassed over 1,000 studies of parental alienation in some 35 countries around the world.  At long last, mental health professionals can identify parental alienation and attempt to treat it.  They can also testify about it in family court proceedings.  In fact, PA has been identified on record in at least 500 separate legal cases that are detailed in a recent book on parental alienation.

The mental health professionals, who managed to get the APA to include the concept of PA in the DSM-V, are now out to accomplish the same thing with the DSM’s European counterpart, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).  As Mrs. Justice Parker made clear in her remarks, it’s about time.  She’s not the only judge to see “an enormous amount” of “parental manipulation of children.”  Nor is she the only judge to grapple with social workers who prefer leaving children in the “care” of an alienating mother to placing them with a fit father.  And finally, she’s not the only judge to understand the “untold damage” caused to children by parents bent on alienating them from the other parent.

Good for her for pointing all that out. 

At least in the United States, with its inclusion in the DSM-V, hopefully more and more mental health professionals will take notice of alienation and advise courts accordingly.  The tragic fact is that parents, particularly mothers, are often allowed by courts to get away with their campaigns of separating children from the other parent, usually fathers.  Indeed, I’m researching a case out of Houston in which a judge allowed the most dogged and dangerous alienation by a mother to go on for years.  It took a jury to right the wrongs inflicted by the mother and the judge on the father and the children.  I’ll report on that case in detail soon.

Like most other wrongful behavior, some parents will continue to engage in alienation of their children as long as courts refuse to punish them.  The DSM-V now encourages judges to understand the realities of parental alienation and its deeply harmful effects on kids.  That should result in more judges doing what Mrs. Justice Parker did – taking the children away from the alienating parent.

Social services and the guardian appointed by the court had asked the judge not to alter contact arrangements for the three boys and to allow them to remain living with their mother, as the children had requested.

But, instead, Mrs Justice Parker ordered a dramatic reversal in the family’s living arrangements, describing the social worker’s recommendation as “unsafe”.

She ordered the two younger boys to be cared for by their father and the older son to live with a grandmother until the case returns to court next year…

She added that the couple, who married in the mid-1990s, were both intelligent and articulate but their inconsistent parenting had led to the 15-year-old sometimes showing extraordinarily violent behaviour.

He was the “carrier for the toxic emotions in this family”, she said, and he had sent “disturbing” text messages to his siblings urging them to resist contact with their father…

The court heard that earlier this year the mother had gone to a women’s refuge and the local authority had uncritically accepted her allegations of violence against the father.

Social services had ignored evidence from the father which showed that she was very emotionally troubled, it was claimed.

The mother will only be allowed to see the oldest boy under supervision, under terms of the order.

Mrs Justice Parker said that while she was not suggesting the father was an “angel” he was genuinely concerned for the boys, had a more objective view of their interests and more empathy than the mother.

Throughout the English-speaking world, we see the same thing time and again.  Mental health professionals, particularly social workers, have marinated for so long in the toxic stew of anti-father bias that they’re unable or unwilling to see mothers as potentially harmful to children.  Their anti-father zeal disables their critical faculties and worse, their ability to empathize with – and do the right thing for – children.  As such, they collude with alienating mothers in the abuse of their children.

That’s precisely what Mrs. Justice Parker was referring to in the case of the three sons.  There, social workers “accepted uncritically” false allegations by the mother against the father and “ignored evidence from the father which showed [the mother] was very emotionally troubled.”

It doesn’t get much more frank than that, but we see that very bias again and again in child custody cases.  It’s too bad more judges can’t have the insight into parental alienation of children that Mrs. Justice Parker has or her strength to switch custody away from alienating parents.  Too many children are being hurt too badly because of that inability and the anti-father bias of social workers.

Inclusion of the concept of parental alienation by the DSM-V or the ICD won’t alone change that bias, but it’s a step on the way to sanity in how custody is ordered and when it needs to be changed.

Thanks to Tim for the heads-up.

National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.


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