Representing a parent’s view about what is in their children’s best interests is not about perpetuating alienation abuse. Alienating parents’ behaviour may contradict their claims. Alienating parents may make you think they focus on their children’s best interests. Yet, they may lead you to collaborate with parental alienation as a form of child abuse and family violence.
“D” is an alienated father. He was not surprised that his ex-partner fraudulently masqueraded as his eldest daughter. His ex-partner laundered her identity through her Family Lawyer to intimidate him into abandoning his children. He was more surprised that her lawyer didn’t get it and implicated themselves in alienation abuse.
How Family Lawyers Implicate Themselves in Alienation Abuse
A letter from his ex-partner’s lawyer took him aback. It said that his daughter wanted to contact him. Legal counsel included a sealed letter with his daughter’s unmistakable handwriting. His daughter had addressed the letter in what had become her practice as “D”, not “dad”. “D” was immediately suspicious. The legal letter also contained a proposal for settlement based on the children choosing when and how they would communicate with him in exchange for ceasing legal action.
After three years in the Family Law system, he thought he knew what to expect when he opened his daughter’s letter. Could it be an overture from his daughter to reconnect? Or, would it be what he expected, a demand that he agrees to her mother’s direction?
Imagine his shock when he saw his ex-partner’s handwriting! She had written the letter and put it in an envelope his daughter had addressed! His ex-partner wrote, “Don’t ever try to see to contact the children again. If you do, I will tell them that you hate them and that you’re violent and a child abuser“.
Was the Lawyer’s Conduct Ethical?
” D” wondered, “Had she fraudulently misrepresented herself? Was it a criminal offence? He went to the police. They smiled and said it was a Family Law matter. Was it ethical for a lawyer to send him a sealed letter, which their client claimed to be from his daughter, without verifying the contents? After all, the lawyer represented her and therefore knew about all her behaviours.
He wrote to them advising that he would make a formal complaint about their conduct. He rang their office, asking to speak with them. They told him that they were no longer representing her.
It was even more stunning that legal counsel thought nothing of proposing a settlement offer to cease legal action in exchange for him to agree that his daughter, at 12 years old, could choose whether she contacted him.
Is Family Law Validating Abusive Parenting?
“D’s” children had not spent time with him when he lodged his application to the Family Court for equal shared time. The experts made observations consistent with parental alienation and recommended the children spend time with him. They assessed that the children’s mother abused them, making them believe that he was a “bad dad” and that they had a right to choose.
He was stunned that his daughter repeated her mother’s accusations against him to the family consultant in her exact words but could not give details. When “D” tried to talk to his daughter, she quoted him sections of the expert family assessments (custody evaluations). Sometimes, “D” wondered if the children knew more about their mother’s legal case against him than she did!
“D” could not reconcile his ex-partner’s lawyer’s action to allow his client to misrepresent herself and to offer a proposal to give his daughter the “right to choose” a parent that the experts had assessed as harmful and abusive. Had legal counsel not read the family assessment? Did legal counsel know anything about parental alienation behaviours?
He spent over AUD$200,000 on various applications, as the experts recommended, until his final, doomed application for sole parental care and responsibility. He felt there was no other option. His application failed because neither he nor the experts could propose a means to remediate the children’s irrational hatred of him. No solution was available in Australia at that time. Family Law validated “bad parenting in the best interests of the child”.
Declaration and Dedication
I have based this account on details one client gave me years ago. This client shared with me certain materials and information that made me consider this account accurate.
I want to dedicate this article to this client who must remain anonymous and to all alienated parents who are silenced.