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All too often in divorces that are less than amicable, the children unfortunately become tangled up in the battle between mother and father.

Such was the case as reported recently on the Canadian CBC news site. In this instance, the father was alleged to have “recruited” his teenage son onto his side, seemingly persuading him to take an active role against his mother during a very bitter divorce battle.

In June 2011, the teen was living with his mother and his two other siblings, when he went to visit with his father and never returned. Since then, he has displayed what the mother described as “hostile” behaviour towards her. The father claimed that he had tried to reconcile the two and indeed in 2014, they agreed to attend a family reunification program, with the result that the boy moved in with his mother. However, this was short lived and he soon returned to his father’s home.

One of the principal questions during this hearing was whether or not the boy had effectively been alienated from his mother, rather than estranged.

Experts reviewed the evidence, which included “selfie” photos of the teen and his father, said to be preparing themselves to do battle – one of which included the pair “high fiving” each other, allegedly in reference to the anticipation of a win in court.

Justice Murray Blok found that the ex-husband had in fact “made no real attempt to resolve the fractured family situation” and that he was indeed guilty of parental alienation, having not only criticised his ex-wife in front of their children but asked them to spy on her and made suggestions to indicate she was a dangerous individual. The court heard how the man’s mother too, had had a part to play in attempting to destroy the relationship between her former daughter-in-law and her children by reporting her to the authorities without evidence and ordering her off her property.

The judge subsequently suggested that the teen and both his parents should attend another family reunification program – on the basis that in the early stages, the boy should have no contact with either parent. Also as a condition, the father has been ordered to undertake separate therapy sessions. In addition, the grandparents will not be permitted access to the boy, should the parents not attend the program.

 

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