April 14, 2020 Section of Litigation

No-Contact Orders in Parental Alienation Cases

It is critical to understand why family courts order temporary no-contact periods between the favored parent who has been found to have engaged in alienating behaviors and the child.

By Ashish Joshi

Parental alienation is not new: The mental condition has been described in the legal cases since the early nineteenth century and in the scientific literature since the 1940s. See, e.g., “Westmeath v. Westmeath: The Wars Between the Westmeaths, 1812–1857,” in Lawrence Stone, Broken Lives: Separation and Divorce in England, 1660–1857, at 284 (1993); David M. Levy, Maternal Overprotection 153 (1943). One of the most widely accepted definitions of the condition is a “mental condition in which a child—usually one whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict separation or divorce—allies himself or herself strongly with an alienating parent and rejects a relationship with the ‘target’ parent without legitimate justification.” D. Lorandos, W. Bernet & R. Sauber, “Overview of Parental Alienation,” in Parental Alienation: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals 5 (Lorandos, Bernet & Sauber eds., Charles C. Thomas Ltd. 2013).

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