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In the article below key factors are presented to show parental alienation does not serve the best
interests of the child. Jehovah’s Witnesses hide behind the First Amendment to say they are practicing
their religion and thus entitled to alienate the child from their non-member parent.  The courts are now
starting to recognize the deep psychological damage this does and taking appropriate action to protect
the best interests of normal development for the child.  

Mom loses custody for alienating dad
In a stunning and unusual family law decision, a Toronto judge has stripped a mother of custody of her
three children after the woman spent more than a decade trying to alienate them from their father.
http://www.thestar.com/news/2009/01/24/mom_loses_custody_for_alienating_dad.html

By: Tracey Tyler LEGAL AFFAIRS REPORTER, Published on Sat Jan 24 2009
In a stunning and unusual family law decision, a Toronto judge has stripped a mother of custody of her
three children after the woman spent more than a decade trying to alienate them from their father.
The mother's "consistent and overwhelming" campaign to brainwash the children into thinking their father
was a bad person was nothing short of emotional abuse, Justice Faye McWatt of the Superior Court of
Justice wrote in her decision.

The three girls, ages 9 to 14, were brought to a downtown courthouse last Friday and turned over to their
father, a vascular surgeon identified only as A.L.

Their mother, a chiropodist identified as K.D., was ordered to stay away from the building during the
transfer and to have her daughters' clothing and possessions sent to their father's house.
McWatt stipulated that K.D. is to have no access to the children except in conjunction with counselling,
including a special intensive therapy program for children affected by "parental alienation syndrome." The
mother must bear the costs.

Harold Niman, the father's lawyer, said the decision serves as a wake-up call to parents who, "for
bitterness, anger or whatever reason," decide to use their children to punish their former partners.
"Maybe if they realize the courts will actually step in and do something and there is a risk of not only losing
custody, but having no contact with their children, they'll think twice about it," Niman said in an interview.
McWatt's judgment was released Jan. 16 and published on legal databases this week. By yesterday, it was
a hot topic within the family law bar.

The judge said awarding A.L. sole custody was the children's only hope for having a relationship with their
father, given their mother's long-running transgressions.

These include ignoring court orders, shutting the door in A.L.'s face when he came to collect the children
and refusing to answer the phone when he called to say goodnight. (He was granted telephone access to
say good night on Monday, Wednesday and Friday). At times, she also arranged for police to show up when
her daughters had overnight visits with their father.

Eventually, K.D. cut off contact altogether, refusing to allow A.L. to see or speak with his daughters. He was
reduced to shouting goodnight to them through the door of their home, often not knowing whether they were
there.

"It is remarkable that A.L. has not given in to the respondent's persistence in keeping his children from him
over the last fourteen years and simply gone on with his life without the children as, no doubt many other
parents in the same situation would have and, indeed, have done," McWatt said.
The mother squandered several chances to change her behaviour and is unable to accept it is in her
children's best interests to have a relationship with their father, the judge said.
Nicholas Bala, a Queen's University law professor who specializes in family law, said "badmouthing" or
negative attitudes by one parent toward another is quite common among separated couples. But in recent
years, the justice system has begun to understand the harmful effects of the worst form of this behaviour.
In most cases, the problem is resolved through counselling, where parents are encouraged to accept
they'll both always be in their children's lives, said Bala. "I tell them, `... if you're the survivor, you'll be going
to the other's funeral, not because you love that person, but to support your children.'
"Having said that, there are some people – and I think some of them are suffering from personality
disorders – who will not respond to therapy and will not respond to directions from judges."
Transferring custody is a last resort, because "it can be quite dramatic and traumatic" – yet sometimes
better than the alternative, said Bala.

"We often talk about the best interests of the child, but often it's the least detrimental alternative, really."
Bala said courts are unlikely to take such a drastic step without hearing expert testimony about what's
happening in the family. A child may be avoiding a parent for legitimate reasons such as physical or
emotional abuse.

McWatt heard testimony from Barbara Fidler, a Toronto mediator and clinical psychologist who predicted
eight years ago the three girls were at risk of becoming alienated from their father.
The Office of the Children's Lawyer argued the family dynamics could not continue.
Fidler said research points to long-term damage in people alienated from a parent in childhood.
Children are more susceptible at about age 10 or 11, after their brains have developed to the point where
they can hold positive and negative information about a parent.

If what one parent is saying about the other doesn't accord with their own perceptions, they can become
confused.

In some cases, the only way out of the emotional conflict is to take one parent's side. The child can even
begin inventing his or her own reasons for hating the other parent, the court was told.
Early intervention is best, Niman said."Really, parental alienation is a process. If you can nip it in the bud,
that's the best advice I can give to clients.

"Because the longer it goes on, the more difficult it can be to undo."