Alienating Mother Ordered to Pay $286,641.75 in Fines and FeesWritten by: Rob Print This Article
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Toronto residents K.D. and A.L. spent more than a decade battling over custody of their three children. Mother K.D. committed parental alienation child abuse against all three daughters starting at birth and continuing until present. Father A.L. was given sole custody of their children on January 2009. Subsequent court decisions have held K.D. liable for $286,641.75 in fines and legal fees due to her contempt of court and bad faith litigation.
The decision announced by Ontario Justice Faye McWatt in January 2009 was that an alienating parent can and will be stripped of child custody for repeated refusal to cooperate with court orders and relentlessly brainwashing the children to hate the other parent. Custody of their three daughters was transferred to their father who had spent more than a decade battling the alienating mother in court to attempt to remain a part of their daughters’ lives. Their mother is only permitted to spend time with them during psychotherapy. It appears it is the hope of the courts and their father that someday their mother will learn to behave reasonably and can become a part of her children’s lives again without continuing her destructive and abusive behaviors against the children.
In March 2009, Justice McWatt ruled that the alienating mother K.D. has repeatedly committed contempt of court by blocking custody, visitation, and telephone access of their children to their father, A.L. The court ordered K.D. to pay $35,000 in contempt fines.
In June 2009, Justice McWatt ruled that the alienating mother K.D. is responsible for repaying more than $250,000 of the father’s legal fees because she acted deceitfully and in bad faith throughout the case. As many parents who have fought a legal battle know, the cost of fighting the lies, false accusations, and total refusal to comply with court orders is astronomical. A.L. fortunately both loved his children enough to fight to be a part of their lives and had the income from being a surgeon to be able to fund the battle. Most parents in a similar situation simply cannot afford justice and often give up the battle, leaving their children to grow up in a cult-like environment controlled by a parent who is hell-bent on ensuring the children will hate the non-custodial parent for the rest of their lives.
Even though K.D. was ordered to have no contact with the children outside of therapy as of January 16, 2009, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice notes that it has been shown evidence that mother K.D.’s family continues to attempt to undermine father A.L.’s relationships with their three daughters. Furthermore, K.D. refuses to participate in therapy, claiming she does not have the funds to do so.
Was Jail Appropriate for K.D.?
Some journalists reporting on this case seem to believe that jail time would have been appropriate for K.D. The contention is that jail early would have prevented a lot of problems later.
Most fathers who’ve been denied access to their kids by demented ex-wives give up the fight rather than bankrupting themselves in lengthy court battles.
A Toronto surgeon had the money — and the persistence — to keep going. He won sole custody of his three daughters because his ex-wife spent more than a decade brainwashing the children to hate him.
She was subsequently fined $35,000 for contempt for ignoring repeated orders to get counselling. And on Tuesday, an Ontario judge imposed an even harsher punishment, ordering her to pay more than $250,000 of her ex-husband’s court costs.
The father’s expenses were “a litigant’s worst nightmare,” declared Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt. “She has acted deceitfully and in bad faith throughout the litigation.”
From my experiences, observations, and readings regarding contested child custody cases like this one, it is questionable whether tossing K.D. in jail for a few weeks would have made much difference. K.D. sees herself as above the law and above all rules. She would have twisted being tossed in jail for her own crimes to use it against A.L., telling her daughters that their father put her in jail and that he’s a bad person. Where she should have been put early on in this case was a psychiatric institution, not a jail.
Court Decisions Are Too Little, Too Late
While it is nice to see a Western court actually hold a woman accountable for child abuse and parental alienation when it is warranted, the reality is that it should not have taken a decade to figure out this case. Alarmingly, it appears the court already understood no later than 2000 that K.D. was already committing emotional child abuse via parental alienation and was likely going to continue doing so, as indicated by quotes from earlier judges decisions in the case:
 Justice Benotto wrote the following in her March 13, 2000 endorsement:
In the short life of this action, the parties have been before the Court on numerous occasions. I am at least the sixth judge to make an Order. The majority of the problems revolve around the parenting issues.
Dr. Fidler was appointed by the Court to conduct an assessment. She spent many hours with the parties and the children. Her report extensively analyses the family dynamics, articulates the serious concerns she has about the mother and makes specific recommendations.
Dr. Fidler outlines significant psychological problems on the part of the wife. These problems are having a direct effect on the children. In addition, she states that the wife has demonstrated “significant difficulty complying with Court Orders” and a “notable disregard for authority.” This is reflected in the number of motions before the court to require compliance with Orders and agreements. Indeed, as recently as February 10, the parties signed a consent, compliance with which is already in issue.
Dr. Fidler states that the children are at “substantial risk” as a result of the mother’s conduct. She gives examples of the effects of her conduct on D., the oldest child and recommends therapy for her. She also recommends therapy for the wife. The wife refuses to acknowledge the effect of her behaviour on the children.
I am concerned that each day that goes by creates more and more risk that these children will be further alienated from their father and consequently permanently harmed. A remedy cannot wait until trial.
I therefore order:
1. The recommendations of Dr. Fidler with respect to the parenting plan will be implemented by the parties. The parenting plan, including overnights with the father, will be incorporated into my Order. I recognize that this is an expansion from the consent signed by the parties on February 10. However, I am firmly of the view that these children require maximum time with their father immediately.
2. The wife is to submit to counseling (as outlined by Dr. Fidler) to address the issues contained in the assessment report. It is mandatory that this commence immediately for two reasons: to address the ongoing risk to the children and to assist the trial judge.
3. The father is to arrange for counseling for D. to start as soon as possible. He will be entitled to take D. to her appointments whether or not the appointments fall within his parenting time. While I urge him to consult with the mother on all issues concerning D., in the event of disagreement, he will have the final decision making on this issue. He is to keep the wife informed of all matters in this regard and the wife is entitled to information directly from the counselor. I urge her to be involved in this process and to co-operate with her husband for the child’s benefit.
4. As long as the mother complies with the terms of this order, there will be no change in the primary residence of the children.
Reading through the January 2009 court decision, it is so very clear that K.D. is a mentally ill mother who likely became so due to child abuse from her own mother. She is a poster child for how child abuse creates mothers who will likewise abuse and control their own children.
What is very important to realize is that the courts and law enforcement enabled her to abuse the children. They took inappropriate measures because they don’t deal with mentally ill parents like K.D. in a rational fashion. The court’s concept of demanding compliance with rules under threat of some vaguely defined penalty that may or may not ever happen is supreme idiocy. K.D. doesn’t follow rules because she believes she is above them and that she can always make somebody else look like they are at fault for the rules not being followed. Expecting a mentally ill person like K.D. to follow these courts orders was totally irresponsible and shows how poorly educated judges are on psychology that is essential to cases like this one.
Bill Eddy is a notable example of a legal professional who understands personality disorders and how they adversely impact families, children, and justice. His writings, seminars, and work with the High Conflict Institute help educate those in the legal profession to understand how mental illness presents particularly difficult problems in litigation. Among the books he has written, High Conflict People in Legal Disputes stands out as an excellent guide to how personality disorders drive legal conflict. It is general-purpose, covering introductory psychology of personality disorders and case examples in family and civil law courts. This book is highly recommended for lawyers, judges, litigants, and therapists.
As to the exact nature of K.D.’s mental illness, the 2009 court decisions do not state a finding. I find it disturbing that despite a psychological evaluation and extended mental health contacts with this family that there was no documented statement as to the nature of the mental health problems from which K.D. suffers. Being familiar with cases like these from reading, discussions, and personal experience, my speculation is that she has a DSM-IV Axis II Cluster B personality disorder such as Borderline Personality Disorder.
Possibly the court believes it is helping to avoid stigmatizing K.D. with labels of mental illness. I believe this is misguided. Mental illness is extremely common. The continuing foolish attitude exhibited by many who try to hide mental illness is that it enables the mentally ill to cause more damage and not make progress recovering from their problems.
Most people fail to learn about how destructive mental illness can be until they themselves suffer from it or are attacked by a person who is suffering from it such as during a contested child custody case. Judges in family law cases need extensive education on psychology, especially personality disorders as these are very poorly understood by the general populace and legal system. A litigant being assailed by a mentally ill person, much as A.L. was assailed by K.D., often has little idea of why it is happening. The courts are supposed to dispense justice and protect the victims from the perpetrators. But all too often, they enable perpetrators like K.D. to continue to commit offenses for years. Judges who do this should not be working in family law as they effectively become accessories to domestic violence and child abuse because of their incompetence.
Courts and Law Enforcement Must Stop Pandering to Mentally Ill Parents
Courts and law enforcement let mentally ill parents, and mentally ill moms in particular, trample all over the legal, moral, and ethical rights and interests of their children and their other parent. In this case, it is very clear that the mother by 2001 was demonstrating total disregard for court orders in every way, and doing so contrary to the well-being of their children. The courts and police should have severely curtailed her custody in 2001 pending her demonstrating significant progress in learning to control her destructive behaviors. It should have been made crystal-clear to K.D. that if she continued her destructiveness and failed to participate in effective psychotherapy, her custody would be terminated. Instead, this case was dragged out for several more years.
Ironically, partial cause for dragging it out for so long is because A.L. had zero confidence in the courts based upon his experience with them. K.D. consistently violated court orders, thereby rendering the courts meaningless. So he tried to deal with K.D. directly, even taking her and the children on expensive vacations to get time with the kids. But dealing with a mentally ill mom like K.D. is basically impossible. These women are obsessed, controlling, and unable to separate from their children. They are irrational, threatening, and harmful to the children and father.
Mentally Ill Moms Enabled by Government to Abuse Children
It may be that the reason there are not more mentally ill fathers acting like this is because the courts and police would have thrown such fathers into prison for the same criminal and abusive actions being committed by the mentally ill mothers. As is so typical in Western societies, victim feminism and the dishonest propaganda it spreads cause governments to act in sexist manners that are harmful to children. The public is quick to believe the false allegations of mentally ill mothers, and those allegations can cause tremendous damage to both the children and fathers.
Even though such mentally ill parents are acting criminally via child abuse and false accuations, I don’t advocate sending them to prison. It is just going to expose them to even worse people than they are and mess them up even further. Prison for these people would be like sending them back to their abusive childhoods, it will just cause more damage and make healing more difficult.
Instead, they belong in psychiatric institutions under intensive therapy. They are broken twisted souls who are this way more often than not from a history of child abuse. While it would be nice for them to drop the denial and work on their problems, most of them will never do this voluntarily. The result is that they, for the interests of their children and society, must be forced into making changes to their behaviors. If they can’t change, they are a danger to their children and ex-spouses and should be banned from contact from them until they show an ability to change. As they develop the ability to behave rationally, safely, and reasonably, they should be reintegrated into their children’s lives. But there must always be safeguard mechanisms in place to return them to psychiatric institutions if their progress reverses drastically and they again become harmful.
If the court and government had intervened a decade ago when it was appropriate to do so, probably all or nearly all of the lasting psychological damage to these children could have been avoided. I hope that the court’s far-too-late custody change in this family will allow the three daughters to grow up without severe psychological damage. However, the oldest daughter, at age 14, is already likely to be very damaged. It would not be surprising if it takes many years of therapy for the brainwashing and emotional abuse committed against her by her mother to be repaired. Even then, I suspect she like many other alienated children will continue to bear the crushing burden of the abuse inflicted upon her well into her adulthood. The younger two daughters are less likely to be as severely affected, and it’s possible that the youngest at at 9 may escape much of the worst parts of the alienation damage. All three are likely to need at least some long-term support in being rational and responsible parents if they choose to have children. Hopefully their father A.L. will be able to provide enough such assistance to enable his three daughters to avoid repeating the cycle of child abuse on their own children.
K.D.’s Abusive Childhood
As with so many parental alienation cases, the alienating parent K.D. in this case appears to have been an abused child by her own description. Testimony of A.L. indicates that he only became aware of her history of child abuse after she was pregnant with their first daughter. This is not unusual. Often parents who were abused are triggered into bizarre behaviors by the arrival of the first child in their lives. When the child arrives, the fears and terrors of the parent who was abused as a child trigger thoughts that may have been suppressed for years. It is as if the child is the fertilizer for the seeds of child abuse in the parent to grow to maturity and renew the cycle of violence and aggression in a new generation.
Reading through the court documents, it is clear that K.D.’s family of origin was abusive. Of particular note, her mother, a Polish immigrant to Canada, exhibits many of the behaviors associated with personality disorders. In particular, many of them sound like examples straight out of Dr. Christine Lawson’s book Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship.
 On one occasion, at the front of K.D.’s mother’s home, the mother quickly exited the home and confronted A.L. insisting “K.B.D. is mine! K.B.D. is mine to help me with her father.” While yelling this to A.L., the Respondent’s mother was punching the Respondent at the same time. The Respondent’s father was very ill at the time and died not long afterwards. A.L. took the Respondent and left the mother’s home, but K.D. had the Applicant stop the vehicle at a pay phone where she spoke to her mother for an hour. The couple then went home.
 K. D’s mother accused A. L. of raping the Respondent and impregnating her. K. D. was too afraid to contradict her mother at the time, but eventually told her that she was not raped.
 A. L. came to learn that K. D’s mother seriously and consistently beat the Respondent as she grew up. A. L. saw the mother regularly wear a strap around her neck in her home before they were married. A. L. witnessed the mother drag one of her young grandchildren (K.D.’s sister’s child) from one part of her basement to another part of it. The Applicant was reassured by the Respondent, however, that the mother would never do anything like that to their children.
 K. D’s evidence in a May 9, 2008 affidavit filed in this court starkly describes the kind of upbringing she had and the effect it had on her. She swore the following:
I have used physical force to discipline my children. I grew up in an immigrant strict Catholic home. I know what it is like to be slapped severely for not obeying your parents. I had bruises for weeks after my beatings. The more severe the beatings became the angrier I became, and the more determined I became to stand my ground. Needless to say, the beatings continued and continued. No one talked to me about the issues … no one tried to reason with me because my views were not their views. They beat me until I became submissive, but my anger grew inside. That is why we have so many angry children.
K.D. herself also shows many of the attributes associated with Borderlines. Of minor note, she was employed in a medical profession. Many Borderlines are involved in medicine and they can be excellent medical care providers while at the same time having severe mental illness. The popular concept that the mentally ill are so dysfunctional that they cannot help but show their illness to others is totally false, especially when it comes to those who developed their psychological dysfunctions as part of defensive adaptation to child abuse.
K.D.’s childhood was filled with child abuse. The court documents cite more examples of maternal child abuse than paternal child abuse. It is likely that K.D., as is the case for many Borderlines, had to learn to survive ongoing and relentless child abuse. Children in such cases often “learn to have BPD” as a coping mechanism to avoid more abuse and trauma. If they don’t, they may die.
There are some cases of BPD that were not caused by abuse, and even among abused children there seems to be a genetic component to why some children develop BPD and other do not. But with most cases, it appears to be learned or conditioned behavior. Borderlines learn destructive parenting skills from their abuse or develop their own destructive behaviors trying to control other people. They therefore often pass BPD and/or other mental illnesses on to their offspring, setting their own children up to continue the cycle of child abuse. From their abusive parent(s), they learned what kinds of child abuse are “appropriate” means of raising children. As humans tend to be imitative creatures, abused children tend to become abusive parents unless there is adequate education or experience apart from the child abuse to model another way to raise children.
K.D.’s behaviors precisely reflect the typical pattern of a Borderline mother creating a Borderline daughter who then proceeds to abuse her own children, making it far more likely they will develop BPD and other mental illnesses, too. Substance abuse, depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and personality disorders are common results of long-term child abuse.
Parental Alienator Frequently Uses Law Enforcement Against Target Parent
K.D.’s abusive conduct towards A.L. repeatedly resulted in the involvement of Canadian law enforcement. This is typical of Borderlines and people with similar personality disorders, also. What is less typical is that according to the court reports, it doesn’t sound like K.D. went to as great of an effort to get the police to attack A.L. as is common in many other cases. But that only lasted for a while. By 2007, K.D. was attempting to use the police against A.L. as so many Borderlines do. She started to add in false sexual abuse concerns and allegations, too.
 During their marriage, the police were called to intervene in different situations on three occasions. On the first occasion, in 1998, A. L. was holding J. in his arms. K. D. demanded that he give her the child, grabbed the baby from his arms, put the child on the floor and began to push the Applicant which ended in his falling on the kitchen table and onto the floor. Although no evidence of the parties’ weights and heights was led in the trial, my observation of them was that, at least in 2008, A. L. is much larger in height and weight than the Respondent. During the incident, D. was screaming and appeared to be horrified. K. D. disappeared from the kitchen where the incident had taken place only to appear again with abrasions on her knuckles and the police in the house. The police spoke to the couple, A. L. left the house and stayed away for a while. No charges were laid against either party.
 In the second incident where police were called, the parties were in the bedroom of the […] home. K. D. pushed the Applicant into the closet doors and called the police. J. was in her crib in the room at the time. The police attended, spoke to the couple and left. No one was charged.
 On a third occasion, after A. L. had spoken to his lawyer about how the Respondent spoke to him in front of the children, he was advised by counsel, to try and tape the Respondent during such a conversation. While A. L. and his family were in their vehicle going grocery shopping during the incident, he recalled that somewhere near Bloor St. and Castlefrank Rd., he tried to turn on the tape recorder in his pocket. K. D. saw the tape recorder, began to berate the Applicant in front of the children and tried to grab the recorder but could not. A. L. exited the vehicle and K. D. locked all of the doors with herself and the two children inside. A. L. called the police to get the Respondent to open the doors. The police attended and told the couple to cool off. A. L. testified that he did not need to cool off after the incident, but only felt relief that he was separating from the Respondent.
Alienator’s Inability to Differentiate Between Self and Children
A custody and psychological evaluation was ordered by the court about ten years ago. The psychologist, Dr. Barbara Fidler, found that K.D. cannot show she understands that the children should not be forced to share her anger at A.L. Moreover, K.D. does not believe that they should be allowed and encouraged to develop relationships with their father, and refuses to allow them to grow and develop normally without imposing her alienation agenda upon them:
 Dr. Fidler concluded, in February of 2000, that:
“The children are at significant risk for becoming aligned with their mother and in turn alienated from their father. Presently, and given her age, D. is the child most at risk. She is likely to set the stage for her younger siblings, who may follow suit at a younger age than is typical. Clinical intervention is necessary to assist K. D. to understand the complexity of D’s feelings and reactions, which are not independent of Mother’s, and to assist her to cope with these in a manner minimizing D’s loyalty bind and confusion, while at the same time fostering her relationship with her father. Ultimately, D. cannot possibly feel comfortable relating to her father freely and positively given her mother’s negative and angry feelings towards him.
K. D. has had significant difficulty complying with Court orders. K. D. has exhibited a notable disregard for authority and remained closed to reason and to opinions that differ from hers. Her concerns, including her perceptions of and her feelings for A. L., his ability to parent, and the children’s needs and best interests, provide a rationalization for her noncompliance. Determining consequences for non-compliance consistent with these children’s best interests presents a significant challenge.
For one, “make up time” becomes cumbersome to agree upon and implement especially given the parents’ animosity and ineffective communication. In addition the three children, each at different developmental stages have very different needs and interests. The parenting plan even if ultimately agreed to, needs to be put into a Court Order. It is recognized though that a Court Order is likely to be insufficient to ensure implementation and Mother’s compliance. Effective implementation will remain even more difficult if not impossible while the parents remain in the same home. Hopefully, the situation will improve after the physical separation, however, difficulties are likely to continue. A parenting coordinator may assist the family to implement their Court Ordered parenting arrangements.
A recommendation for sole custody to one parent, or for joint custody is contraindicated at this time. The parents remain unable to communicate effectively and thus joint custody is unrealistic. While the recommended usual schedule has the children living primarily with their Mother, a recommendation for sole custody to her is contraindicated due the significant concerns related to her parenting and her willingness and ability to involve A. L. in the children’s lives and decision-making. Further, the results indicate that K. D. may misuse the authority that accompanies sole custody. A. L’s input into medical and educational decisions is imperative given not only his knowledge-base, but also given his receptivity to advice and guidance. K. D’s overprotective parenting and her anxiety and fears are likely to colour her judgment and decision making at times. Also, A. L. is more likely to involve K. D. in major decisions than she is to involve him. Furthermore, he is more likely to foster the children’s relationship with her than she is with him.
 She dismissed any concerns that A. L. was unable to properly care for the children or that the Applicant had ever sexually abused the children.
Alienators Generally Disregard Court Orders
The court ordered joint custody with a parenting plan and parenting coordinator be used to ensure that the children would be able to spend time with their father, A.L. K.D. promptly went to work with her parental alienation access blocking, ensuring that counseling and most contact were eliminated in short order. What little contact she allowed, she insisted she be present or it would not occur at all.
 By March 13, 2000, Justice Benotto recommended that Dr. Fidler’s Parenting Plan be implemented. She also recommended counseling for D. and the Respondent, noting that the children were at “substantial” risk” as a result of their mother’s conduct. There is no evidence that K. D. went to any counseling ordered by the court. A. L. arranged for counseling for D. The child went for a time and then the counseling was stopped by the Respondent. D. refused to speak to her father at this time. She was 6 years old.
 Again, on May 4, 2000, Justice Benotto made an order in this matter appointing a parenting coordinator. The schedule of overnight visits set out by Dr. Fidler and ordered by Justice Benotto on March 13, 2000 was never adhered to by the Respondent. Instead, A. L. hadtwo weekends with his children after March 13, 2000. During the second weekend, the Respondent called constantly to see how the children were doing. D. constantly asked who was calling. After that visit, the children were never brought back to the Applicant’s house again.
 Pursuant to the March 13, 2000 order, A. L. was to have two evenings per week with the children. In the summer, he was to have time with the children. Some of this access took place. By September 2000, however, the Respondent did not give A. L. any time alone with the children.
 Between 2000 and 2006, the Applicant drove the children to school and back on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He arranged his schedule, as he had done throughout the children’s lives, to accommodate this access to them. In fact, the Applicant rarely took his children to school without the Respondent being there for the rides.
 K. D. also moved away from the Applicant’s home after he had chosen to move close to her and the children after the separation. Only after the Respondent’s move was A. L. able to take D. to and from school alone. That stopped shortly after it began, however, at the Respondent’s whim.
 Any attempts that A. L. made through professionals to talk to K. D. about parenting the children failed during this period. He finally resolved not to go to court because the court orders made no difference to the Respondent’s behaviour. He concluded that it would be better to try and bargain for the children with the Respondent directly. She had warned him, during this period that “If you keep putting pressure on me about the children, you’ll get nothing!” He did not go to court between 2000 and 2006.
As is typical of many court orders in contested custody disputes, the children were to be available for telephone contact with their non-custodial parent, A.L. Although A.L. went to consistent effort to contact the children on a regular basis at reasonable times, K.D. blocked that access with increasingly severe tactics designed to ensure the children would not speak with their father. This is yet another sign of parental alienation.
By the end of 2003 the Respondent was preventing me from speaking with the children when I called and I no longer received telephone calls from my children. I continued to call the children every Monday, Wednesday and Friday according to our court-ordered parenting plan to say goodnight but at best, was only able to leave a message. In fact, I called nearly every night at 6 p.m. as I had very little contact with the children.
As further evidence of access blocking, K.D. repeatedly moved the children’s residence further and further away from their father. Although some parental alienators may attempt to make excuses for ripping their children out of schools and communities to move them far away from their other parent, apparently K.D. could not even come up with any rational and plausible excuses.
As K.D. needed excuses for why she would not comply with court orders to let the children see and talk with their father, she trained them to communicate that they did not want to see their father. She went so far as to make repeated false allegations of physical domestic violence and child sexual abuse against A.L. This was not a new phenomenon for K.D., rather it originates from her abusive childhood. Her mother apparently taught her to use false allegations as a tool of control and dominance. Her mother’s willingness to make false allegations was amply demonstrated by false accusations of rape that K.D.’s mother made against A.L.
When the Respondent became pregnant with our first child D., I was shocked to be falsely accused by her mother of raping the Respondent. In addition, once prior to separation and twice while living separate and apart in my home, the Respondent assaulted me in front of the children and each time called the police claiming she had been assaulted by me. The police left each time and no charges were ever laid. The Respondent falsely accused me after separation of sexual molestation of my daughter, and of obtaining sexual gratification from being around my children. I was not allowed to attend the library with the girls as the Respondent falsely accused me of doing something to J. while at the library. These false allegations were most upsetting to me, as I had done nothing to deserve them. The assessor, Dr. Fidler, investigated the Respondent’s allegations about my conduct with the children and found no justification for any of them.
Parental Alienation Causes Lifelong Damage
The court noted testimony and reports from Dr. Barbara Fidler, and considered references she made to the long-term psychological damage caused to alienated children that continues to manifest itself via bad consequences until long into adulthood.
 There is a broad range of effects of this severe sort of alienation on a child. Some of them are low self-esteem to self-hatred, guilt, feelings of abandonment, feelings of being unloved and unworthy. Children may feel self-doubt and doubt about their ability to perceive reality. They may have simplistic or rigid information processing. They can have inflated self-esteem. They may have poor differentiation of self. They may be aggressive and have poor impulse control. Where there are court orders and children become aware that the orders are not being obeyed by the alienating parent, these children can learn that it is acceptable not to obey court orders. Alienated children can lack compassion and remorse and can also develop an ability not to feel guilt.
 Dr. Fidler testified that long-term research by Amy Baker on adults who were alienated from a parent as a child suffered depression in 70% of the individuals studied. Two thirds of the same population became divorced themselves – a quarter of that group more than once. The adults talked to researchers about interpersonal problems, dysfunctional managing of their lives and difficulties trusting other people. One third were reported to have substance abuse problems. Fifty percent of this group in this study became alienated from their own children.
 Dr. Fidler also testified that the study in question found that the bulk of those involved had wished that “someone had called them on their strong wishes and statements not to see the other parent”, but that they could not do it themselves. They could not reverse their public stance against the alienated parent, but wished someone else would make the decision for them that they had to see that parent. This way, the child could “save face”.
Dr. Baker is a recognized expert on parental alienation, children of divorce, and emotional abuse of children. Her book Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind covers the long-term impact of parental alienation upon children into adulthood. The book presents 40 case studies based upon interviews of adult children who were subjected to parental alienation and “recovered” from it enough to realize they were alienated.
Dr. Baker and her colleague Dr. Andre have written a book called I Don’t Want to Choose: How middle school kids can avoid choosing one parent over the other. It is intended to help children in the middle of a parental alienation war find a way to avoid alienation and to keep both of their parents involved in their lives. We’ve given an overview of this book in a previous article. Click here to view it.
Planning to Keep Both Parents and their Families in Children’s Lives
One of the typical signs of a parental alienator is refusal and/or inability to express any plan or even desire for the target parent to be part of the children’s lives. The court recognized that K.D. fits this profile precisely, whereas A.L. has a plan on how to try to reintegrate K.D. into the children’s lives by reversing the parental alienation brainwashing with help of experts such as Dr. Richard Warshak, using therapy to help the family and K.D., and trying to keep the children’s lives stable outside of the custody change by continuing to have them enrolled in the same schools.
 K. D. presented no real plan for re-establishing and maintaining a relationship between the children and A. L.
 A. L. recognized that he would have to utilize significant therapeutic resources if a change in custody is ordered. He testified that he had been looking into the program offered by Dr. Rand and Dr. Warshak which assists in the transition of children between homes in parental alienation cases and he was willing to utilize this program. There is no evidence in this trial which suggests that this program is inappropriate or anything but what this family needs. And, as a result, I find that it should be used by the Applicant to handle any transition for the children from their mother’s home to his home. If the children are placed in his care, A. L. will have some significant challenges with the children. The children in the past have pleaded to go home during access times and A. L. has not prevented them from returning to their mother. If the children are to go through an experience as significant as a change in custody, A. L. will need to be committed to following through with the order. He has testified that he understands how difficult this will be and is prepared to deal with the consequences that will likely come from a change in custody.
 One issue that was raised at this trial is the Applicant’s work schedule. A. L. indicated that he would take time off work to assist in the transition and then he would hire a nanny to assist with child care responsibilities. He also indicated that he would have support from his sister C. L. and her family to assist on the weekends he was on call at the hospital. C.L. confirmed that she would assist in this regard.
 This plan is a substantial difference for the children. The children are used to having their mother as the primary caregiver and have not had many experiences with child care outside of family. A. L. testified that he was able to arrange his schedule around the children. I accept this based on his prior ability and commitment to exercise access over the years.
 A.L.’s plan is to keep the children in their current school. With respect to access to the children’s mother, he is prepared to follow the recommendations of the therapists working with the family and would follow the advice of the therapists around access between the children and their mother. His plan is in the best interests of the children and he is the only party who can support a relationship between the children and both parents.
Dr. Richard Warshak is another well-known expert on parental alienation and how to help target parents and children overcome the damage caused by it. His book Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex explains in detail how alienation occurs, what motivates alienators, and how mental illness often is the root cause for alienating behaviors. He discusses particular techniques by which target parents can combat the alienation without engaging in counter-alienation. Children deserve to have access to both of their parents and to experience the goodness and love that each can offer. Alienators cannot see this, so target parents must learn to see it well enough for the whole family. It is unfortunate, but the best chance for the children to grow up mentally healthy is to be in the primary custody of a non-alienating parent with the alienating parent allowed into the children’s family circle to the extent that she or he does not attempt to destroy or dominate it.
Transition of Child Custody to Father Appropriate
In the custody decision announced on January 16, 2009, the court reached a well-founded conclusion that the mother K.D. would never support the children having relationships with both parents, but the father A.L. would. Therefore as is appropriate, K.D.’s custody was terminated pending progress is remedying both her behaviors and the parental alienation damage she inflicted upon the children.
 The three children of the marriage have been alienated from the Applicant over a long period because K. D. is unable to accept that it is in the best interests of the children to have a relationship with their father. She has been given several opportunities to change her behaviour over many years, and refuses to do so. I find that her unrelenting behaviour toward the children is tantamount to emotional abuse as described by Dr. Fidler. The views and preferences of the two older children are not their own. And for the children to have any further contact with the Respondent, significant therapeutic intervention is necessary.
 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. It is now time for his and the children’s fates to be free from K. D’s control. She has shown that she cannot be entrusted with it.
Contempt of Court Decision
The court first determined the custody decision, then on March 27, 2009, announced its findings on contempt of court allegations by A.L. against K.D. The court found that K.D. had repeatedly and intentionally violated court orders of which she was well aware with no just cause. She was fined $35,000 for her violations.
Legal Fees Decision
As is not surprising, this case generated astronomical legal, expert, and therapist bills for A.L. He claims his costs have been $557,719.21 over the more than one decade span of the legal case. The court found that K.D. acted in bad faith throughout the case and failed to file financial disclosures, yet appeared to have substantial assets. However, the court believes that A.L. has higher income and the K.D. Consequently, it ordered that she pay A.L. a total of $251,641.75 to cover some of his legal fees.