Do I Need A Parental Alienation Expert And How Do I Find One?

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What is parental alienation?

Parental alienation is a hotly contested idea. At its core, it is about the influence which one parent may have over the children regarding their feelings about the other parent. When parents separate, they often hold negative views about the other parent, but it is important to shield the children from these views. Otherwise, children may take on these views and become alienated from the other parent, whether deliberately or inadvertently.

Of course, there will be cases in which children hold negative views about a parent for legitimate reasons, such as abusive behaviour. It is common for one parent to argue that there has been abuse, while the other argues that there has been parental alienation.

Do I need to instruct a parental alienation expert?

If you are concerned that your children are subject to parental alienation, there are a number of steps which can assist within court proceedings:

  • A child expert can speak to the children, consider their views about contact and whether they are subject to influence. This can be done by a Cafcass social worker, or an independent social worker. Recommendations will then be given about appropriate contact arrangements going forward. This is a relatively common step in child arrangements proceedings.
  • If considered necessary, the court can order further work to be done, such as the Improving Child and Family Arrangements intervention.
  • There may need to be a fact-finding hearing, to consider whether allegations of abuse and/or parental alienation are true.
  • The court can order instruction of an expert to advise the court on the impact, if any, of parental alienation on the children.

How do I find a parental alienation expert?

The senior judiciary are currently considering the proper approach to choosing experts. This is because they vary greatly in their background and experience. For example, the term ‘psychologist’ can cover a wide variety of possible experts. Many individuals who have been working as ‘parental alienation experts’ are currently under greater scrutiny.

While psychological expertise is most commonly sought in parental alienation cases, you will need to consider the type of expert required based on the issues in your case. For example, a specialist social worker, a psychologist or even a psychiatrist. A specialist solicitor is best placed to advise on choosing an expert.

Here to Help

If you need advice on any family matter, please get in touch with Tracey Dargan, Partner and Head of Family and Divorce.

Please note the contents of this article are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.