Parental Alienation – What are the signs and what should you do?

Over the last few years the Court has seen an increase in the number of cases raising issues of parental alienation.  Being prevented from having a close relationship with your child can be a devastating and traumatic experience and it is therefore important to spots the signs and take legal advice at any early stage.
In this article we take a look at the signs to look out for and steps to take if you suspect that your child is being subjected to parental alienation.

What is parental alienation?

Parental alienation is when a child no longer wants to maintain a relationship with one parent which is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent. Examples of parental alienation can include criticising the other parent in front of the child, limiting or stopping contact with the other parent, not sharing important information about health and education and giving the impression to the child that the other parent does not want to spend time with them.

What signs should I look out for?

If a child is being subjected to parental alienation, the child may become withdrawn and not want to spend time with you, express negative views about you and your extended family and not want you to attend school events or activities. Other common signs include the other parent contacting the child excessively during their time with you and making serious unfounded allegations.

What if I suspect parental alienation?

If you suspect that your child’s mother or father is alienating the child it is essential to seek early legal advice.  Our family lawyers can discuss your options with you and ensure that appropriate action is taken to avoid the relationship deteriorating further or completely breaking down.  In some cases family therapy may be a good starting point however in many cases an urgent application to the Court is necessary. You should keep a record of any unusual behaviour and try speaking to the other parent about your concerns and make a note of their response.   School reports and GP records should also be obtained as they can often evidence the parent being excluded.

How do the Courts deal with parental alienation?

Courts are increasingly recognising parental alienation and the harm it can cause to a child. In most cases the Court will order a fact finding hearing to determine the allegations of parental alienation followed by a report from the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) and expert evidence from a psychologist who will assess the child. In some cases the Court may make the child a party to the proceedings and appoint a guardian. Recent case law shows that the Courts are willing to take a robust approach and order a transfer of living arrangements where findings of parental alienation have been made. In very serious cases the Court may order a transfer of living arrangements at an interim stage to prevent further emotional harm to the child.

Cases involving parental alienation are complex and challenging.  our team of experienced family lawyers for further advice.

 If you have concerns about parental alienation or you are a parent being accused of parental alienation, please contact Dimple directly on 01483 887766, email or start a live chat today.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Dimple Patel

Senior Associate, Family Law

Dimple is a Senior Associate Solicitor in the family law department. She qualified as a solicitor in 2007 after reading law at City University and...


Senior Associate, Family Law

Dimple Patel

Dimple is a Senior Associate Solicitor in the family law department. She qualified as a solicitor in 2007 after reading law at City University and has worked as a family solicitor in both Surrey and London. She joined Hart Brown in 2022.

Her practice involves advising on all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects of divorce and dissolution of civil partnership. She has extensive experience in negotiating financial settlements and advises clients with substantial assets including family businesses, pensions, trusts, foreign assets and inherited wealth as well as clients with more modest income and assets. She also deals with the variation and enforcement of existing financial orders.

Dimple assists clients to protect assets and family wealth through prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She also assists cohabiting couples with cohabitation agreements, financial and property disputes as well as financial claims for children of unmarried parents under Schedule 1 Children Act.

Dimple has considerable experience advising on arrangements for children following divorce and separation including relocation of children both within England and Wales and abroad. She also assists clients where there are concerns around domestic abuse through personal protection injunctions such as Non-Molestation and Occupations Orders.

Dimple is a member of Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers and other professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. She aims to provide practical, tailored advice to enable her clients to make informed choices with a focus on early settlement.

Dimple often receives wonderful feedback from her clients, here are just a few testimonials.

“Dimple is very professional and reliable. I was able to always count on her excellent advice, quick responses to my queries and sympathetic balanced communications with all parties. I would whole heartedly recommend her to anyone dealing with family legal issues”

“Dimple quickly understood the challenges I was facing and we spoke a lot on the phone which I found helpful and calming. She is very bright, professional and warm and just the person one needs when dealing with difficult and unfamiliar issues. Dimple is committed, has good judgment and eye for detail. She is a highly competent solicitor and I highly recommend her.”

“Thank you so much for your help, support and advice through this difficult process. I appreciate all you’ve done and look forward to a brighter future, thanks to your help”

“Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. You were so easy to work with at every stage of the game and I really appreciated having you to turn to. I still can’t believe how smoothly everything went! And the good news is, I’m genuinely finding happiness again in my life.”

“Thank you for your assistance and support over the last few years in relation to my difficult and challenging divorce proceedings and help to conclude the child matters with the best result I could have hoped for. I appreciate all your efforts on my case. I am so happy that I am spending quality time with my son and that he is getting to know his extended paternal family. Thank you for helping to make this happen.”