This private law Children Act application relates to a teenage boy, D. D is aged 13. On 23rd November 2016 his mother applied to the court to vary a residence order, originally made in 2008, and for a child arrangements order providing that D should live with her. The father immediately responded by issuing an application for a specific issue order seeking the return of D to his care. D is a party to these proceedings and a children’s guardian (‘the guardian’) has been appointed for him. The applications come before me now for a finding of fact hearing. This is my judgment relating to fact finding issues
In the light of those ‘typical behaviours’ displayed by D, I am satisfied on the simple balance of probability that D has become alienated from his father.
I am equally satisfied that the cause of D becoming alienated from his father is the mother’s behaviour as I have described it in this judgment. I am concerned that some responsibility may also attach to her partner, T, though as he has not provided any evidence, written or oral, it is not possible for me to make a finding on that point.
I have no difficulty at all in making those two findings. It is the third question that is the most difficult. Has D become alienated from his father as a result of a deliberate course of conduct by the mother or has she unwittingly behaved in a way that has caused the alienation? I have reflected very carefully on that issue. The assessment and prediction made by Recorder McLaren QC, albeit some nine years ago, have proved to be remarkably accurate. The mother has always had a burning desire that D should live with her. She has not let the truth stand in the way of her ambition. Neither, I fear, has she allowed consideration of the potential harm to D that would likely be caused by the obsessive pursuit of her ambition stand in her way. I am satisfied that in this case this mother has deliberately alienated D from his father. I find accordingly.
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