Skip to Content
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation* 905-581-7222
Parental Alienation Protecting Your Family's Interests for Over 30 Years

Learn About Parental Alienation in Canada

Family Lawyers in Ontario

If you are an access parent and you begin to notice a permanent change in the behavior of your child, it may be due to parental alienation. Our Ontario family lawyers are here to help if your relationship with your child is in jeopardy. We can advise you of your rights and options in this important matter.

Warning signs of parental alienation may include:

  • The child’s withdrawal from the relationship;
  • Complete isolation whereby he or she stops wanting to attend access visits; and
  • You notice that he or she consistently sides with and supports the custodial parent.

Call our offices at (905) 581-7222 or continue reading to learn more about parental alienation.

Parental Alienation Defined

Parental alienation usually occurs because the custodial parent has been brainwashing or indoctrinating the child so as to eventually eliminate the access parent from his or her life. The motivation behind the custodial parent’s actions can vary, it can be for vengeance or financial gain. Justice Perkins, in the case of S. (C.) v. S. (M.) 2010 ONSC 340, provides a useful definition of parental alienation at paragraph 92 of his judgment:

“Children who are subject to the parental alienation syndrome (I will call them PAS children) are very powerful in their views of the non-alienating parent. The views are almost exclusively negative, to the point that the parent is demonized and seen as evil. [...] PAS children feel empowered and are rewarded for attacking the other parents and feel no remorse or shame for doing so. [...] PAS children have a knee jerk, reflexive response to support the alienator against the targeted parent, often on the basis of minimal evidence or justification. PAS children broaden their attacks to encompass members of the other parent’s extended family. [...] PAS children are recruited by the alienating parent and alienated siblings to the alienating parent’s cause. [...] With PAS children, you cannot be sure who you are listening to – is it the child, is it the alienating parent, or is it Court Watch [an advocacy group supporting the father]?”

Therefore, and based on this definition, if a parent continues to see or have access to the child on a regular basis, he or she will not be considered to be “alienated.” A child being disrespectful towards a parent, or an increase in arguments between parent and child is not “parental alienation.”

Common actions and behaviors associated with parental alienation include:

  • BadmouthingThe alienating parent consistently speaks negatively about the other parent in front of the child, making derogatory comments or false accusations to create a negative image of the other parent.
  • Limiting ContactThe alienating parent might restrict or control the child’s time and communication with the other parent, making it difficult for them to spend quality time together.
  • Sharing Inappropriate InformationThe alienating parent tells the child details about the divorce or the other parent’s behavior that are inappropriate for the child's age or understanding, creating feelings of confusion, fear, or anger towards the alienated parent.
  • Undermining AuthorityThe alienating parent may undermine the other parent's authority by disregarding their rules and decisions or encouraging the child to disobey or disrespect the other parent.
  • False AllegationsThe alienating parent might make false accusations of abuse or neglect against the other parent, often resulting in legal complications and strained relationships.
  • Forcing the Child to Choose SidesThe alienating parent may pressure the child to choose between parents, making the child feel guilty for wanting to spend time with the alienated parent.
  • Rewriting HistoryThe alienating parent might distort or fabricate events from the past to create a narrative that portrays the other parent in a negative light.
  • Interfering with CommunicationThe alienating parent may intercept or block phone calls, texts, or emails between the child and the other parent, disrupting their communication.
  • Emotional ManipulationThe alienating parent might use emotional manipulation, such as making the child feel guilty for loving or wanting to see the other parent, or rewarding the child for rejecting the other parent.
  • Creating DependencyThe alienating parent may make the child overly dependent on them, fostering a sense of loyalty that excludes the other parent from the child’s life.

Reversing the Damage Caused by Parental Alienation

Once a child is diagnosed, he or she is said to suffer from parental alienation syndrome and the consequences flowing from such a diagnosis are that the parental-child relationship is deeply lost or altered. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that if you feel alienated you must intervene and attempt to reverse the damage that has occurred.

There are numerous recourses available to you if you have been alienated:

  • You may seek a court-ordered resolution (i.e. increased access or maybe even custody). Please note that this is expensive and requires a lot of evidence from objective third parties who can testify as to the nature of the relationship you shared with the child pre-alienation.
  • You and your child may also seek counseling in the form of reunification therapy with a professional who is familiar with parental alienation.
  • Another alternative is to unilaterally attempt to reverse the effects of alienation by maintaining consistent contact with your child (this is of utmost importance and should always be done when there is evidence of or suspicion of parental alienation). During this time you should try to engage in fun and conflict-free activities, avoid acting aggressively or attacking your child for his or her behavior, refrain from “bad-mouthing” the other parent, etc.

Understanding the Impact of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can have a devastating impact on both the parent and the child involved. It can lead to strained relationships, emotional distress, and long-term psychological effects. Our team of experienced family lawyers understands the complexities of parental alienation and can provide guidance and support to help you navigate through this challenging situation.

Some of the effects of parental alienation may include:

  • Emotional trauma for the child
  • Strained parent-child relationships
  • Legal implications for the alienated parent
  • Long-term psychological effects

At Feldstein Family Law Group P.C., we are committed to helping families overcome the impact of parental alienation and work towards a resolution that is in the best interest of the child.

The Family Bridges Program

In the most extreme of cases, where the alienation is so severe that choosing one of these three options would be useless, the courts can order that your child participate in the Family Bridges program created by Dr. Richard Warshark or the Families Moving Forward program, a local organization that does the same type of work.

Under these programs, the alienated parent and child are sent to a hotel or a resort for four days of intensive therapy (64 hours of treatment) with two mental health professionals. During this time the child is able to spend time with the alienated parent, hopefully reconnect, and is taught to have a compassionate view of both parents as all parents make mistakes. The child is also taught the importance and benefit of having two parents present in his or her life at all times. This process, however, can be very expensive and in some cases, may cost approximately $20,000 (USD).

Protecting Your Child's Best Interests

When it comes to child custody, our team at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. is dedicated to protecting the best interests of your child. We understand the complexities and emotional challenges that come with custody battles, and we are committed to providing compassionate and effective legal representation.

Our experienced family lawyers in Ontario are well-versed in handling cases involving parental alienation, and we are here to help you navigate through the legal process. Whether you are seeking to prevent or reverse the damage caused by parental alienation, we have the knowledge and resources to support you every step of the way.

At Feldstein Family Law Group P.C., we prioritize the well-being of your child and strive to find amicable solutions that promote a healthy co-parenting environment. Our team is ready to advocate for your rights and ensure that your child's needs are met.

Take the first step towards protecting your child's best interests and contact us today for a consultation. We are committed to providing you with the support and guidance you need during this challenging time.

For more information and guidance that relates to your specific situation, call our Ontario family lawyers at (905) 581-7222.

Meet Our Dedicated Team of Lawyers

Over a Century of Collective Experience
  • Andrew  Feldstein Photo
    Andrew Feldstein Founder

    Andrew Feldstein graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1992. Prior to focusing exclusively on family law, Andrew’s legal practice covered many different areas, including corporate commercial. One of Andrew’s fundamental objectives is to achieve those goals mutually and collaboratively, as set out by him and his client.

    Read Bio
  • Daphna  Schwartz Photo
    Daphna Schwartz Lawyer

    Daphna Schwartz joined Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2007 as an associate lawyer. She was previously practising family law in the Barrie area. Her practice includes all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and property issues. Daphna is also qualified to practise Collaborative Family Law.

    Read Bio
  • Anna  Troitschanski Photo
    Anna Troitschanski Lawyer

    Anna Troitschanski joined the team at Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2012. Prior to that, she practised Family Law at a boutique Newmarket firm. Her experience covers all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and division of property.

    Read Bio
  • Nick  Slinko Photo
    Nick Slinko Lawyer

    Nick Slinko attended York University from 2003 until 2007 where he majored in both Law & Society and Philosophy. Nick graduated in 2007 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. He proceeded to earn a Juris Doctor in Law at the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Nick was Called to the Bar in June of 2012 after completing his Articling term with the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. He became an associate with the firm immediately thereafter.

    Read Bio
  • Veronica  Yeung Photo
    Veronica Yeung Lawyer

    Veronica Yeung joined the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. as a summer student in 2014 and returned as an articling student in 2015. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2016, Veronica was welcomed to the team as an associate lawyer.

    Veronica attended York University for her undergraduate studies and graduated as a member of the Dean’s Honour Roll when she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Honours Criminology.

    Read Bio
  • Shana  Gordon-Katz Photo
    Shana Gordon-Katz Lawyer

    Shana joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as an articling student in 2017. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2018, Shana was welcomed back to the firm as an associate. While completing her articles, Shana assisted with legal matters covering all areas of family law.

    Shana attended the University of Western Ontario for her undergraduate studies, where she graduated as the gold medalist of her program, Honors Specialization in Classical Studies.

    Read Bio
  • Rachel  Zweig Photo
    Rachel Zweig Lawyer

    Rachel joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C as a Summer Student in 2019 and returned as an Articling Student in 2020-2021. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2021, Rachel was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.

    Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa, Rachel obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at Ryerson University with a major in English Literature.

    Read Bio
  • Lauren  Harvey Photo
    Lauren Harvey Associate Lawyer

    Lauren joined Feldstein Family Law Group as a Summer Student in 2020 and returned as an Articling Student in 2021-2022. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2022, Lauren was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.

    Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Western Ontario, Lauren obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at Wilfrid Laurier University majoring in Criminology and minoring in Law and Society.

    Read Bio
  • Quinn  Held Photo
    Quinn Held Associate Lawyer

    Quinn spent two years as a Summer Student and then completed her Articling term at a boutique Family Law firm in Orangeville, where she was exposed to various complex Family Law matters. Following her Call to the Bar of Ontario in June 2022, she became an Associate with the Feldstein Family Law Group.

    Prior to obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor, Quinn obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Guelph majoring in Criminal Justice and Public Policy and minoring in International Development.

    Read Bio
  • Kyla  Johnson Photo
    Kyla Johnson Associate Lawyer

Take the First Step

We’re Ready to Help

Fill out the form below to begin your free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers or call us at 905-581-7222.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.

    We're Committed to You

  • Convenient Meeting Locations
    Our team is able to meet with you and provide quality family law legal services in Markham, Oakville, Mississauga, Vaughan, and the surrounding areas.
  • Quick Response Times by Email & Phone
    This is one of the most difficult times in your life and our goal is to help make this transition as smooth as possible. To help put your mind at ease we ensure that our team is always available to guide you.
  • Free Consultations
    We understand you have questions and need guidance on your next step. We make getting these questions answered as easy as possible. We offer free consultations for our new clients.
  • 30 Years of Experience

    Experience Matters. Our founding lawyer has over 30 years of experience in the legal field. As a firm you get over a century of dedicated legal experience advocating for your family's best interests.