Perhaps you will agree that separation is difficult enough for adults involved. When you share a child or children with your former partner, there are many reasons that your circumstances may be even more challenging, complicated, and distressing. Usually, families experience a bumpy ride. Before and after your separation, you and your children may experience feelings of insecurity, uncertainty, and vulnerability. These emotional responses are normal and to be expected as your lives inevitably change. However, in some families, if one parent sets out to harm the relationship that the child or children have with the other parent, then parental alienation is occurring. This blog explores the effects of parental alienation, how to recognise parental alienation, the legal implications of parental alienation and what you can do if your child is being influenced by their other parent so that your relationship with your child is being strained, run down and debilitated.

When parents separate, in some families, the child or children become enmeshed in disagreements between their parents. While it is impossible for the children not to be impacted by your separation, it is clearly not in the best interests of the children for them to be consciously or unconsciously drawn into the arguments between you and the other parent – particularly if one parent sets out to harm the relationship the child or children have with the other parent.

You and your child deserve to be safe at all times and so if you or your child are in danger, please ensure that you call your local police immediately.


What is Parental Alienation?


Parental alienation is specific to parental separation when a behaviour change in one parent happens such that one parent deliberately damages and undermines the relationship the other parent has with their child. When parents compete for affection and become competitive for the child’s attention and love, the effect of this tussle for the child’s love may be for one parent to turn their child against the other parent.  This type of influence on a child may understandably force the child into a position where they choose to align specifically with one parent to keep the peace and for their own safety and survival.

Even if the child previously enjoyed a close relationship with a parent, parental alienation may irretrievably and irreversibly destroy that special bond between a parent and their child.

Manipulation, nasty and unkind comments about the other parent and untrue allegations of emotional, mental, physical, and sexual abuse are all hallmarks of parental alienation. Such disturbing comments are made by one parent to influence the child and are designed to cause the child to dislike and even hate the other parent (as well as the warring environment between the parents) and may result in the child’s refusal to spend time with one of the parents.

Constant and consistent undermining of one parent is parental alienation and can cause the child’s relationship with one of their parents to be so damaged that it breaks down. Parental alienation seeds hostility issues and breaks trust between the targeted parent and the child. In many cases, the child may refuse to see and become estranged from one of their parents. It is not difficult to see how parental alienation may inadvertently cause psychological harm to the child.

As each family circumstance is unique, it may be either parent, regardless of gender, that may alienate the other parent. Evidence does not suggest that fathers or mothers are more responsible for parental alienation, however, the person who is the primary carer of the children is more likely to be the alienator because they may have more ‘influence’ over the children as they spend more time with the children and caring for the children.

If one parent falsely believes that the other parent is somehow unfit, unsuitable, or unworthy to parent, then, when in the presence of the child or children, they may embark on an unjustified campaign of denigration where one parent makes negative comments about the other. This is parental alienation.

Dr Mandy Matthewson of the University of Tasmania states that “Parental alienation has been extensively researched largely in the US and to some extent in Europe and Canada, however it is a relatively new area of research in Australia.”  Dr Matthewson asserts that parental alienation is far more common and impactful than people thought. She writes that through research conducted by The Family and Interpersonal Relationships Lab, they found “a very distressed group of people grieving for their children, who work very hard to try and have a relationship with their children.” She continued: “In some cases, they have spent a lot of money to try and get that relationship with their children back by going through Family Court to get appropriate custody arrangements.” Grandparents and other relatives are also affected by parental alienation. Research at the University of Tasmania, around Australia, and globally, is ongoing.

International researchers conclude that parental alienation is a form of child abuse, or family violence. When one parent influences the relationship their child has with the other parent to the extent that the child rejects the targeted parent, the effects on the child can be calamitous and destructive.

And yet parental alienation has affected and continues to impact millions of children and parents around the world. There is still misunderstanding and even denial around parental alienation.

Researchers have found that intervention may improve parental alienation outcomes. As more research results are evaluated, parental alienation is being increasingly described in terms of emotional abuse, which may cause the child or children grave psychological harm.

In the following three case studies, all names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the families involved.


Case Study 1


After two years of arguing and unhappiness, Leanne and Tim separate. They share three children, Anne (11 years), Riley (6 years) and Chloe (3 years).

Leanne is angry with Tim because a couple of months after Tim moved out of the family home, he moved in with his new partner, Charlotte. Leanne tells Anne, Riley, and Chloe that Tim prefers Charlotte and her two sons, Nick (8 years) and Zane (6 years) to his own family. Leanne is critical of Tim and starts to restrict the time Anne, Riley and Chloe spend with him. She repeats the message to the three children that Tim no longer loves them, that he has no time for them and that now has a new life with Charlotte and her boys. Leanne tells Anne, Riley, and Chloe that Tim is a useless father and that he does not care about them.

Within a few months, Anne, Riley, and Chloe feel that Tim is not interested in them and that he does not love them anymore. They believe Leanne that Tim has replaced them in his life with Charlotte and her sons. They do not want to visit Tim at Charlotte’s home, their relationship with Tim becomes increasingly strained and within six months Anne, Riley, and Chloe refuse to spend time with Tim at all.

They way that Leanne speaks about Tim to Anne, Riley and Chloe and her consistent message to them the Tim does not care for them and has replaced them with his new partner and her family, is parental alienation. Leanne’s constant denigration of Tim amounts to parental alienation.

Case Study 2


Ian and Robyn go through an acrimonious, messy separation and divorce.  They have two children, Clare (10 years) and Sam (7 years). There is a court order in place that states that Clare and Sam should spend equal time with Ian and with Robyn.

Robyn alleges Ian cheated on her for four years of their twelve-year marriage and that Ian’s betrayal of her is the reason they separated. Whether or not Ian was unfaithful to Robyn, Robyn has confided in Clare and Sam, and they have supported their mother through her depression and despair at Ian’s alleged actions. In the months prior to separation, Clare refused to speak to Ian. After the couple separated Clare and Sam flatly refuse to spend time with their father.

As a result of Robyn’s verbal and nonverbal communication about Ian to Clare and Sam, Ian is an alienated parent.



Case Study 3


Jasmine and Kim separated after nineteen years of marriage. They share two children together, Joseph (17 years) and Megan (12 years). Kim worked away on a fly in fly out basis for the last 10 years of their marriage and Jasmine looked after Joseph and Megan. While their separation and divorce seemed to be amicable, in the months that followed the divorce, Kim became increasingly bitter about the time he missed with Joseph while he was growing up.  Kim believes that if he had not worked away and funded the family’s lifestyle, he would still have a family.

Kim returns to the Sunshine Coast on a permanent basis. Kim repeatedly tells Joseph that Jasmine was a bad mother because she allegedly saw to it that he and Joseph could not spend time together from the time Joseph was 6 years old. Joseph is made to feel guilty, and he moves in with Kim. After two months of living with his father, Kim no longer wants to spend any time with Jasmine at all. Joseph becomes aggressive and hostile towards Jasmine and will not take her calls or respond to her text messages.

Because of Kim’s manipulative behaviour, Joseph is torn between his parents and chooses to cut Jasmine out of his life, to please his father. Kim is the alienating parent and Jasmine is the alienated parent.



Disagreements within your family can be complex and sensitive to resolve. The new year can be an especially difficult and sad time if you are struggling with disagreements and disputes in your family. January is known as the month in which most divorces happen.


When Does Parental Alienation Happen?


Parental alienation most frequently happens where there are acrimonious legal proceedings when one parent wants to achieve custody of the child or children, regardless of the consequences or cost. One parent may feel that their case is strengthened by denigrating and undermining the other parent. Parental alienation can begin before separation.

Generally, parental alienation occurs when one parent has sole parental responsibility for the child or children after a divorce or separation.

Exposure to parental alienation has devastating and grave consequences for the psychological health and social wellbeing of children.


Parental Alienation is Recognised as Abuse


The Family Law Act (1975) Cth states that children have a right to a meaningful relationship with both of their parents. However, The Family Law Act (1975) Cth does not define what ‘meaningful relationship’ means. To assist separating families to understand what it means for a child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, the Courts have developed a number of guiding principles.  Every family is unique and so each child’s needs are assessed individually considering all the circumstances. What constitutes a meaningful relationship for one child of a particular age is different for another child of the same age in a different family context. The Court is future-focused and considers whether the meaningful relationship will benefit the child.

A meaningful relationship is one that is important, significant, and valuable to the child. In order to achieve a meaningful relationship, the child does not need to live for half of the time with each parent or spend a particular amount of time with each parent. When the Court evaluates how to facilitate a meaningful relationship, the Court focuses on the quality, rather than quantity, of time. Further, the Court does not presume that there is benefit for every child to have a relationship with both of their parents because not every child can achieve a meaningful relationship with both parents. The Court considers the nature and quality of the relationship between the child and their parents to establish if it is possible to foster a meaningful relationship with each parent that is beneficial to the child.

When a child is estranged from one parent and the relationship between one parent and the child has deteriorated, then it is logical to conclude that this situation is contrary to the principles foundational to The Family Law Act (1975) Cth where children have a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents. Parental alienation differs from estrangement where a child rejects a parent for legitimate reasons such as the parent being abusive or in circumstances where a parent is protecting the child by keeping the child safe from the other parent.

Are There Valid Reasons For Distancing a Child From One Of Their Parents?


When a child has been subjected to family violence or if a child has been physically, sexually, or mentally abused then the rejection of a parent may be justified. It is more difficult to distinguish parental alienation from children who have become distanced from one of their parents for justifiable reasons such as abuse or family violence.

There are cases where children may cling to an abusive parent because of the influence and manipulation they have experienced.


What Are The Effects of Parental Alienation on Children?


The effects of parental alienation can last for the full extent of the child’s life and affect the relationships that child will go on to have with others. Children may experience a range of psychosocial challenges including and not limited to anxiety, low self-worth, low self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence, poor social-emotional development, an inability to trust, an inability to form deep and lasting relationships, fears about commitment and social anxiety.

Research shows that where children have experienced parental alienation, later in life they have an increased chance of getting divorced and they are more likely to rush into relationships. Children who have experienced parental alienation are more likely to reject the idea of conventional marriage and they are more likely to have children outside of relationships. Children who have experienced parental alienation are also subject to an inflated possibility that they will become alienated from their own children.

Children who have experienced parental alienation may:

  • find it difficult to make decisions and find the motivation and discipline they need to be effective in their lives;
  • even in adulthood, be overly dependent on the alienating parent;
  • exhibit extreme co-dependence, uncertainty and even an inability to live an independent adult life;
  • be developmentally hampered such that when they become adults, they find it difficult to function adequately, happily, and successfully as adults;
  • have diminished abilities to be autonomous and self-sufficient.

Parental alienation is seriously harmful to children. Parental alienation frequently causes anguish to the alienated parent who may be unable to sustain a meaningful relationship with the child or children. In many cases, the damage done to the relationship between the alienated parent and child is irreparable and affects the child and their parent for the rest of their lives.

Scientists around the world are still researching the effects of parental alienation, however, at this point, it is considered a form of emotional abuse.



If your child is resisting spending time with the other parent, it is likely that you are facing a complex, stressful and upsetting situation. Not only must you consider the needs and wants of your child, but you may find yourself in the difficult position


How You Can Deal with Parental Alienation


The most effective way to reduce parental alienation is through early intervention.

Here are some ways you might deal with parental alienation:


1. Prevention: 


Take early action. Speak to a lawyer as soon as you suspect the other parent is causing your child or children to be alienated from you. While the courts consider that children have a right to a meaningful relationship with both of their parents, this presumption may be rebutted in circumstances where there is parental alienation due to the risks and serious consequences of parental alienation for the child or children.


2. Reduce the Risk: 


Parental alienation is a child protection matter because it is a form of child abuse. Research shows that effective approaches can be taken to prevent parental alienation. If parental alienation is happening in your family, seek independent third-party help: talk to a lawyer, doctor, psychologist, and/or child welfare.


3. Enforcement: 


Where a court decides that parental alienation is happening and is serious, the Court has the discretion to change the residence of a child or children from the alienating parent to the other parent – even if the alienating parent has primary care of the child or children.


4. Treatment: 


The most effective treatment for children (and parents) where there has been parental alienation includes therapy and reunification programs.

Parental alienation is extremely serious. If you believe that your child or children’s other parent is engaging in alienating behaviour, then you should obtain legal advice as soon as possible.  If parental alienation is severe and ongoing, it may be a child protection matter. This means that if your case is severe, the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) will need to be made aware of the circumstances and FACS will step in.


How Does The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Consider Parental Alienation?


Section 60CC of The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) sets out how a court determines what is in the child or children’s best interests. The main considerations are:

  1. The benefit to the child of a meaningful relationship with both of their parents;
  2. To protect the child from physical or psychological harm or being exposed to abuse, neglect, or family violence.

The court must consider complex, damaged, and dysfunctional family dynamics between parents and children. The court base their decisions on findings of fact and therefore it is imperative that clear evidence of alienating behaviour is provided to the court. This evidence can be in the form of affidavits from the parents and, importantly assessments from independent experts including Child Court Experts, Counsellors, Family Consultants, Family Therapists, Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

Every matter is heard on its own specific circumstances, because no two families are the same and no two children are the same. In the end, the court makes determinations that they feel best facilitates the best interests of the child.

Here are some examples of cases involving parental alienation:


Ward v Ward

In Ward v Ward (No 2) [2016] FamCA 890 (20 October 2016), parenting arrangements for Y aged 14 and X aged 12 were disputed between their parents. The parents argued in front of the children and the relationship involved high conflict. After they separated, both parents re-partnered. The relationships between the parents and the children became increasingly challenging. X became more closely aligned with the father and Y became more closely aligned with the mother.

Multiple family reports were written and one of the counsellors reflected that the father and his new wife were pressurising X to behave in a certain way towards the mother. The judge considered the family relationships and weighed-up the benefit to Y and to X of a meaningful relationship with both the mother and the father, although the judge acknowledged that each household posed some risk to X and to Y. The judge relied on the key issue: “emotional harm, including alienation from the other parent”.

In this case, it proved challenging to take X and Y’s wishes into account because X’s wishes were considered to be the ‘product of emotional manipulation’. The judge partly accepted this view and also acknowledged that X had expressed his wishes relatively early on.

The Judge ordered:

  1. Equal shared responsibility of X and Y was given to the mother and the father.
  2. X and Y may express a choice about who they want to live with.
  3. If Y, the older child, does not express a choice then he will live with the mother and spend such time with the father as he may choose.
  4. If X, the younger child, does not express a choice then he will live with the father and spend as much time with the mother as he may choose.
  5. The children must spend time together after school on Monday and Wednesday each week.


Goldman v Goldman

In Goldman v Goldman [2018] FamCACF 65 (12 April 2018) the mother was the primary care giver of two children aged 13 years and 11 years. After the husband and wife separated, the children lived with the mother, and the father spent time with the children on a limited basis.

A single expert wrote a report and concluded that the children should not live with the mother. The single expert made a recommendation that the children live with the father and that the children’s time with the mother was to be placed on hold for up to 6 months.

Her Honour, Cleary J found that the wife had been focused on ‘punishing’ and ‘turning the children’s affections away from the father’. The court found that the mother’s conduct was causing emotional harm to the children and posed an ongoing risk to the children that was unacceptable.

The Judge ordered:

  1. The children live with their father.
  2. For the children’s time with their mother to be suspended for a period of four weeks to enable the children to settle into their new environment.
  3. The mother to spend supervised time with the children for a period of 12 months.
  4. A regime thereafter for the mother to have unsupervised time with the children.

The father appealed the decision and sought a no-contact order for three months. The Full Court of the Family Court dismissed the appeal. The court held the view that this would cause the children more trauma.

They did however make a no-contact order for a period so that the children could re-establish their relationship with their father.

Generally, the court will not make an order that the children should move residence unless there is sufficient reason, as there was in Goldman v Goldman.


If you are in a situation where you are feeling anxious, confused and overwhelmed because you are tackling legal issues on your own or family matters, then help is easier to find than you might think!


How To Prove Parental Alienation


Parental alienation cases are frequently the most challenging cases to run. Compelling evidence from the alienated parent and independent expert  evidence is needed to prove one of the parties is alienating the child or children from the other parent.

Parental alienation cases can be tricky because instead of proving something was done, you will need to prove that something was not done, and your child has no reason to turn against you or refuse to spend time with you.

The best way to prove that parental alienation is occurring is to prove that negative behaviour by the other parent is harming the child. Parental alienation syndrome is the most obvious way to prove parental alienation.


What Are The Signs of Parental Alienation?


While there is no definitive set of criteria to assist you to understand whether the other parent is choosing alienating behaviour, there are certain signs you can look out for to determine if parental alienation is happening. In short, the alienating parent employs emotionally influential and manipulative behaviours to denigrate the other parent in the presence of the child or children. Some of examples of alienating behaviour are listed here:

  1. You notice that the other parent is limiting the time your child spends with you.
  2. Your child has been told not to mention things to you. For example: medical appointments or illnesses. Secrets are being kept between your child and the other parent.
  3. You are prevented from seeing or talking to your child. Your former partner may assert that your child does not want to spend time with you or talk to you.
  4. You become aware that your former partner is not encouraging a positive relationship with you and your child – and even that diminishing, and possibly untrue, things are being said about you to your child.
  5. Your former partner controls how your child communicates with you. This might be by monitoring phone calls, reading text messages, and insisting that they remain present when you facetime or skype with your child.
  6. You notice that the child acts or communicates differently when your former partner is present.
  7. Your former partner plans events that clash with the time that your child is supposed to spend time with you. For example, your former partner takes your child shopping for clothes or other essentials exactly when they are due to return your child to you or makes arrangements with your child’s best friend for a sleepover or to go to the movies to stop you from seeing your child at the arranged time.
  8. Your former partner contravenes the conditions of a shared parenting plan and refuses to be flexible with the arrangements for care of the child or children.
  9. Your former partner withholds information about your children, such as medical information or school reports. Consequently, you know less and less about the day-to-day concerns affecting your child and you lose touch with your child’s achievements and needs.


What is ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’ (PAS)?


You may have heard the term ‘parental alienation syndrome’. In 1985, American psychologist Richard Gardner wrote about Parental Alienation Syndrome for the first time. He found that parental alienation usually happens in situations of high-tension divorces and separations. Parental alienation syndrome can and does have destructive, serious, and overwhelming psychological and social effects.


Can My Child Be Diagnosed With Parental Alienation Syndrome?


While a child cannot be diagnosed with parental alienation syndrome, it is a recognised mental health condition in the United States in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which is the standard classification of mental disorders relied on by health professionals in the United States and is increasingly recognised in Australia.


If you are thinking about splitting up from your partner or spouse, you might be wondering what financial processes you and your family will be required to undergo. Venturing into the divorce process unprepared might leave you with the burden of additional hidden costs and further emotional stress at this already difficult time.


How Can You Recognise Parental Alienation Syndrome In Your Child?


Here are some of the tell-tale signs that the other parent may be alienating your child from you:

  • Has your child started to say that they ‘hate’ you?
  • Has your child started to express negative feelings about you?
  • Has your child begun to criticise you without evidence or justification?
  • Has your child begun to think that you do not have any redeeming attributes?
  • Does your child feel no guilt or shame about disrespecting and/or mistreating you?
  • Has your child started to dislike or ‘hate’ other family members, such as grandparents, causing a range of family problems?
  • Has your child expressed to you that they have negative feelings about you and that they are critical of you because the other parent has in some way suggested these ideas to them through their behaviour and/or verbally?


Are There Different Levels of Parental Alienation?


Dr. Richard Gardner found there to be different types of parental alienation being: Mild parental alienation, moderate parental alienation, and severe parental alienation.


1. What is mild parental alienation?


Where a parent provides a reason or reasons for a child or children not to spend time with an alienated parent and the child enjoys spending time with the alienated parent when they are alone, this is mild parental alienation.


2. What is moderate parental alienation?


When a child or children resists spending time with an alienated parent and harbours resentment towards that parent when they are alone together then this is known as moderate parental alienation.


3. What is severe parental alienation?


When a child or children does not want to contact the alienated parent or spend any time with them, and they hide or even run away to avoid spending time with that parent, then severe parental alienation is occurring.


What Causes a Parent To Become An Alienating Parent?


It is common for the alienating parent to create a polarised situation where there is an “us and them” dynamic: families divided into a “you are with me or against me” camp. Parental alienation frequently occurs because the alienating parent has borderline personality disorder or narcissistic traits.

A parent with a borderline personality disorder may express anger and other emotions in a hyper-reactive way To a parent with a borderline personality disorder, distress feels intense and tends to last longer, than for the average person. A parent with a borderline personality disorder may be unable to take responsibility for things that go wrong, and they are more likely to experience a victim mentality. They believe that because they have been wronged, they are entitled to behave in a similar way towards others.

A narcissistic parent has no capacity to care for the needs or perspectives of others, is self-centred and simply does not understand that the best interests of their child or children must be at the forefront of their parenting. As they separate and divorce, rather than focus on the impact of their behaviour and the language they use about the process and the regarding other parent when they are with their children, their attention is solely on their own needs and getting the outcomes they want. They do not consider their children, because they cannot. They may be unkind and desire to devastate and damage the other parent. In fact, they are hurting their child and/or children who need and have a right to a relationship with both parents – if the child or children are safe from psychological, physical, and emotional harm while in the care of the other parent.

Sometimes, a parent may have antisocial personality disorder where they seem to have no conscience regarding the destructive and negative actions and behaviours they choose and where they lie, withhold information, and mislead their child or children.

If a parent has a borderline personality disorder, an antisocial personality disorder or if a parent is a narcissist, they engage in parental alienation because they are seeking revenge against their former partner and they are mentally unwell.  Tragically, their child or children stand to be irreparably harmed as a result of their behaviour.

What Can You Do To Deal With Parental Alienation?

If you want to reduce the impact of parental alienation in your family here are seven helpful suggestions:


1. Keep the Spotlight on Your Relationship with Your Child


While the very nature of divorce and separation seems to be that many things are out of your control, including the behaviour choices of the other parent, at the heart of what you can control is your relationship with your child or children. Focus your attention on creating happy times and positive moments and memories for and with your child. Do enjoyable, fun activities together. Cosy up and watch a light movie together with your child or children, head outside to the beach or to the park, and choose activities that your child will enjoy. Keep your communication with your child respectful, loving and understanding.


2. Keep Communicating


Keep trying to communicate with your child or your children even if your efforts are being thwarted. No matter how disheartened you feel if your calls, emails, text messages and letters are not getting through to your child or your children, keep up the stream of contact.

Make sure you keep a record of all of your attempts to contact and communicate with your child or children. Retain copies of emails, letters, or messages. Keep a log in a book or a file on your computer that records the times you tried to call and hold onto receipts from the post office if you have sent letters or packages to your child or children. Recording your efforts and keeping copies of your correspondence may mean the world to your child or children at some time in the future when you can prove that you did try to keep in touch.


3. Keep Calm and Neutral.


If you are the alienated parent, it is human to want to react and get angry. You may even be tempted to get even by running your former partner down. Focus on the very best interests of your child or your children and resist being drawn into any counter-productive behaviours yourself. If you respond in a way that is defensive or frustrated and you denigrate the alienating parent, you are likely to draw your child or children into the argument between you and your former partner and you may be guilty of alienating your children, too. Breathe deeply, keep calm, find a neutral position, and avoid exposing your child or children to the parental dispute.


4. Encouragement, Gratitude and Positivity


When you are up against the most hurtful and unfair situation of all – your own child being swayed against you by their other parent, it is understandable that you will want to react and respond out of rage. Your language will follow you to the dark side if you let it, and your child or children stand to be seriously affected at a time when they need your understanding and to see, feel and hear you find words of encouragement, gratitude, and positivity – even when you do not feel like it. If you can find the energy to speak to your children in an affirming, positive and upbeat way, you will find that they draw closer to you, rather than pull away.

Find genuinely positive things to say about the reasons you love your child or children and tell them why you look forward to spending time with them again. Ask your child or children about what matters to them and listen patiently. If they have done something well, then tell them so. If they have an insightful realisation, praise them.

At very least, tell your child or children that you are grateful that you are their parent and that they are your child/your children. Ask them what they are looking forward to the next day or in the next week. Tell your child or children you love them and think of them – even and especially when they are not with you – and that you look forward to seeing them again soon. You will find that your children will respond far better to your words of encouragement and positive reinforcement than to the reinforcement of any sadness and negativity.


5. Say what you mean and mean what you say


Think carefully about what you say to your child or children and then always follow through on what you say and your promises. If you make a promise to your child, you must keep it. Keep consistent and keep your word.  Your child or children need to know that they can rely on you and that you will do everything in your power to always follow through on a promise you have made to them.

If you do not keep your word, as well as disappointing your child or your children, you hand your former partner opportunities to use your inconsistency in ways that will likely hurt you and cause harm to your children. Do not give your former partner the chance to further alienate your child. Be true. Say what you mean and mean what you say.


6. Own your zone.


No-matter how hard things get, keep accountable and avoid blaming or shaming your child or children in any way for your former partner’s behaviour. If you blame or shame your child, this will create challenges in the relationship that you have with your child. In order to avoid blaming and shaming your child, it is important that you find ways to manage your state.

Whether you lean into sport, the support of friends or the experienced ear of your doctor, therapist, or counsellor, find healthy and resourceful outlets for your frustrations so that you avoid taking them out on your child or your children.


7. Professional Emotional Support for You


If you have made it through a difficult separation and divorce you may well relate to feeling emotionally exhausted and wrung out. Divorce is one of the most stressful events that you will ever face in your life and it will involve getting to grips with loss, life changes and the crushing of the hopes and dreams you had with your former partner. Even if it has been your choice to separate and you have been the person to instigate the break, you would be super-human if you were not going through the phases of grief that follow a relationship break-up. And while you are dealing with all of the triggers and picking up the pieces of you old life and attempting to shape a new and different life, your children are drawn through the changes with you and each child will be experiencing their own loss, sadness, and the readjustments that they are required to make, though none of their choosing.


8. Legal Support


If you are experiencing parental alienation after a bitter divorce or separation having the right team on your side can make a huge difference. Your team should be made up of mental health professionals, counsellors, and legal professionals. They have knowledge and experience dealing with similar situations and will help you maintain your relationship with your children.


Are you going through a complicated or messy separation or divorce?  Discover how our expert family lawyers can help you


If you are thinking about separating or getting divorced, and you know you need expert advice, book in for your complimentary chat with the Anumis Legal Family Law Dream Team. We understand what you’re going through and we’re here to help you. For your obligation free chat with our expert family lawyers, call 07 5455 6347 or email, now. We look forward to assisting you.


If you’re looking for a family lawyer on the Sunshine Coast, check out our family law page to learn more about our services.



Nadine Love

Nadine Love is a lawyer and part of “the dream team” at Anumis Legal. She completed her law degree at Southern Cross University and received the New South Wales Bar Association Prize for Evidence and Civil Litigation. In addition to her passion for family law and therapeutic jurisprudence Nadine is also a celebrated international author, personal & business coach, drama therapist and motivational mentor. Nadine’s interests encompass swimming and walking in the rainforest with golden retriever Anu, and Australian Shepherds, Lex, and Onyx. She combines her strengths of advocacy, empathy and out-of-the box problem solving to support her clients to achieve their best legal outcomes.

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