Parental alienation – are the Courts more willing to intervene?

As family practitioners we all frequently deal with cases where parental alienation and/or implacable hostility is alleged.

The recent case of Re H (Parental Alienation) [2019] EWHC 2723 (Fam) is one of the recent cases where the Courts are prepared to change residence. This case is also interesting because the subject child was 12, which is perhaps as advanced in age as the court may countenance making such an order.

It does appear that expert evidence will be required before embarking on such a step, which previous case law has also recommended.

Keehan J held that a change of residence was the only realistic option to meet the child’s welfare best interests in a case of parental alienation. He also helpfully summarises the law and highlights the recent decision of the President in Re L (A Child) [2019] EWHC 867 (Fam). 

Keehan J found the following:

  • Mother had alienated H from his father;
  • The absence of father from H’s life has and will cause H emotional and social harm;
  • The only means by which H can enjoy a relationship with both parents is to transfer residence to the father.

The court made a child arrangements order for H to live with his father and spend time with his mother, subject to a three month embargo on direct contact while H settles.

The report is well worth a read:

This area of private law appears to be moving further towards a less tolerant attitude to parental alienation. Watch this space!