Toronto: Mom loses Custody for Alienating Kids from their Dad
Toronto - In a rare and perhaps significant 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.
McWatt's judgement was released January 16th and published on legal databases this week. By Friday, it was a hot topic with the family law bar.
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.
Courts are unlikely to take such a drastic step as transferring custody unless counselling and mediation have already failed time and time again. "We often talk about the best interests of the child, but often it's the least detrimental alternative," said Bala.