Ten Questions on Parental Alienation   

Warning: The information set out below is a general guideline provided by DOMENECH ABOGADOS. Specific advice should be sought before any action in reliance on it is taken, as explained more fully in this website's legal notice.

1. What is parental alienation?

The effect produced when one parent unfairly and systematically tries to turn their child against wanting to have contact with the other parent. 

2. What is the most extreme form of parental alienation?

A false accusation of child abuse.  Such accusation leads to contact with the child being prohibited by court order.  DOMENECH ABOGADOS will apply to the court to have contact resumed, usually in a supervised environment. Such supervised contact will generally continue until the criminal case of child abuse is heard and decided.

3. Why is parental alienation so in the news in Spain?

There have been a series of publicised cases where parental alienation – admittedly of a lesser form than a false accusation of child abuse – has resulted in significant changes in a separated couple’s relations with their children.

4. Can you give an example?

In July 2007, a court in Manresa ordered an eight year old girl who had suffered parental alienation by her mother and her mother’s family to stop living with her mother and to live, instead, with her father. The girl had flatly refused to see or speak to her father for a long time, her mother having turned the girl completely against the father. So such a switch of custody was a brutal change. The court ordered the mother to hand over her daughter to the girls’ paternal grandparents within a period of 48 hours. The girl was then ordered to live for six months with her paternal grandparents before moving to live all the time with her father. And, during those six months, she was not allowed to have any contact with her mother.

5. What happened next?

The girl ran away from her paternal grandparents’ house.

6. And then?

The court ordered she be returned to live with the paternal grandparents.

7.  What should I do if my child is systematically being turned against me by her other parent? 

Write down examples of how and when this occurs, because if sufficiently grave it may entitle you to request protection from the court.

8.  Will my word against that of the other parent be sufficient? 

Normally not. You are going to need independent witnesses to confirm the forms in which your child has been turned against you by her other parent. Best will be to have a report from social services to confirm this.

9. How do I obtain such report?

DOMENECH ABOGADOS will normally request the court to order that such report be undertaken.

10.  Might I myself be accused of parental alienation?

It is very difficult, after separation, not to make verbal digs against the other parent in the child’s presence. Many things your former partner does will annoy and it is too easy to take verbal swipes against them. But, although better avoided, such unfairness would not amount to parental alienation, which would need to be much more calculated and persistent.
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