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Child custody battles can lead to parental alienation

Generally speaking, two adults who choose to divorce in Ontario have entered willingly into the process. The same cannot be said for any children who may be involved. Divorce is hard on children, and child custody decisions should be made with the best interests of the children at heart. While it is always hoped that such choices can be made in a cooperative manner, this isn't always the case, and some parents will attempt to push their own agenda.

Even after custody has been granted, the battle may not be over. There have been many cases reported of custodial parents who seek to keep their children away from the other parent. The parent may attempt to influence the child into feelings of fear or dislike of the other, win over the child with gifts and promises, or simply deny access, thereby creating a situation known as 'parental alienation'. This term has appeared in legal cases in Canada on more than 6,300 occasions. 

Even when the offending parent has caused the alienation out of good intentions, it is still not necessarily in the best interest of the child, and it may contradict a court order. Parental alienation can have a negative emotional impact on the children and on the alienated parent. Legal options do exist for parents who feel they have been victimized in this manner.

Many family lawyers believe that parents working together will make the best decisions and create the most supportive family environment for children during and after a divorce. If this cannot happen, however, it is important for a parent to assert his or her rights. By working with an attorney experienced with Ontario family law, it may be possible to establish an appropriate arrangement of child custody and access.

Source: What is parental alienation?, "FindLaw Canada", Accessed on Jan. 14, 2017

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