Contact a lawyer now

Family Lawyer Winnipeg Blog


Parental Alienation Defined in Canada

Going through a divorce is a challenging situation. It can be challenging when children are involved. The separation agreement brings child custody to the table. Thus, parents fight the child custody battle in court.

When you are fighting a custody battle, the parental alienation term may come up. It is a prevalent thing these days. This involves creating false and negative traits about the other parent in the child’s mind.

So, how is parental alienation defined in Canada? What is parental alienation law? This article will focus on answering everything related to parental alienation in Canada. Or consult with an experienced lawyer to get the best advice.

What is Parental Alienation Canada?

Parental alienation generally occurs after divorce. It is an extreme outcome of the child custody battle. The term means that the child has chosen one parent over the other. One parent has influenced the child to grow unwanted nature against the other parent. And the child has done it with no judgment of their own.

Parental alienation generally takes the form of falsely and negatively accusing another parent. As a result, the child may not approve of the accused parent anymore.

The parent who makes such false claims is the alienating parent or the alienator. The parent who is falsely accused is the alienated parent.

What Qualifies as Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is considered a disorder. This happens mainly during child custody battles. The act of parental alienation involves brainwashing the child. The non-custodial parent bad-mouths or makes false accusations about the custodial parent to the child.

There could be many signs of parental alienation. The most common of them all is claiming of cheating. One parent can claim that the other parent has cheated on the family. This can make the child feel cheated as well.

The alienator can also stop the child from seeing the other parent. This can come in the form of lying. The alienator parent may say that the other parent has no time for the child.

Planning tempting activities can also qualify as parental alienation. For example, the child was supposed to spend the weekend with the non-custodial parent. But the alienator may come up with sudden activities like weekend trips. This is mainly done to prevent the child from spending time with the other parent.

Another widespread example of parental alienation is breaking the custody rules. The alienator usually never agrees with custody arrangements. So, the parent may come up with absurd excuses not to let the child follow them.

The final form of alienation is becoming obsessive over the child. The alienating parent may control every act of the child, mainly to avoid the child meeting the other parent. The alienator may track the child’s phone calls, texts, and personal space. This can mentally harm the child.

Can You Sue for Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is a common situation in custody disputes. One parent may bad-mouth the other parent to the child, and there can be even more serious scenarios. Any one of the parents may persuade the child by falsely accused of sexual abuse against the child’s other parent. So, is suing an option in such cases?

The first thing you must realize is that filing a lawsuit requires proving the claim. But parental alienation is an adamant claim to prove. Almost all the activities happen behind closed doors. It is improbable that you will be able to prove parental alienation.

A court will always want to keep the best interest of the child during a custody battle. If you sue your former spouse for parental alienation, the court will ask the child to testify. Now, no court would want a minor to testify against their parent. So, it is not ideal to ask children to act as witnesses against one of the parents.

Another thing to consider here is the outcome of the lawsuit. There is almost zero chance of money damages during such cases. No court can judge the alienator to compensate money for their acts. The parent may be asked to pay lawyer fees at best.

But you can still consider using the other parent only if the case is extreme. For example, your former spouse may be falsely accusing you of sexual abuse. In such a situation, you can sue the other parent for parental alienation. Remember that the case must be very extreme for any consideration by the alienation law.

What Happens if a Parent is Found Guilty of Parental Alienation?

The Family Law Act Parental Alienation allows the court to deal with an alienator. But for this, it would be best if you proved an alienation happened. After that, the court can take many different actions against the alienator.

As mentioned already, alienation does not involve any monetary damage claim. So, the first thing the court can do is arrange therapy sessions. This can come in different forms as well. The alienator can be sent to individual therapy. Both you and the alienator can be asked to join family therapy as well.

The court can also bring changes in the parenting plans. This can be a great strategy to improve the relationship between the child and parents. But if the alienator is harming the child, the court will favour the alienated parent.

Finally, the court can take extreme measures. This can come in the form of disallowing any parenting time for the alienator, and this decision will come in the extreme cases mentioned above. The alienator may have been making false sexual abuse accusations. In such a situation, the court will change the complete parenting agreement.

Is Parental Alienation Illegal in Canada?

Parental alienation is a common thing during divorces. This happens during child custody battles, and it can take horrible forms if not regulated. So, is parental alienation illegal in Canada?

Unfortunately, there is no law against parental alienation in Canada. Whatever cases Canadian courts get, they are handled under the Family Act. But the good thing is that most Canadian courts acknowledge the situation. This means that you can seek legal support from parental alienation.

Almost all courts consider parental alienation as a serious issue. They see this act that can bring harm to the child. As a result, the legal system has a few examples of making decisions once you prove parental alienation.


So, how is parental alienation defined in Canada? The term refers to creating a negative impact on one parent by the other. It generally takes place during custody battles.

The non-custodian is mainly involved in alienating the custodian parent. It can create a very negative mental state for the child.

The legal authorities of Canada take the issue very seriously. They will consider the best interest of the child. Thus, you can reach them for legal support against parental alienation.