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Litigating Parental Alienation Claims: Strategies, Investigation, Obtaining Evidence, Role of Experts, Intervention

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, June 22, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will discuss the issue of allegations of supposed “parental alienation” and offer guidance for handling a case involving such allegations in court. The panel will discuss the term “parental alienation”, why it is controversial, how to defend against a claim of “parental alienation” in cases involving allegations of child abuse, how to litigate alleged matters where the resist/refuse dynamic presents itself, the role of a child’s attorney or guardian ad litem, and practical strategies for obtaining and admitting evidence to prove or defend against such allegations.


Ever more frequently, family lawyers are having to defend claims of alleged “parental alienation”, which supposedly occurs when a child is deliberately manipulated to align him- or herself with one parent and to refuse contact with the other. Counsel need practical strategies for investigating and litigating emotion-laden allegations in light of the law, science, and how various courts define the problem and deal with it.

The concept of “parental alienation” is a controversial topic/label and the evidence in support of it is questionable. “Parental alienation” is frequently misused as a construct to counter allegations of all forms of child abuse. Experts, such as counselors or psychiatrists, may have an economic interest in both diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. Proponents of “parental alienation” often fail to recognize the multiple legitimate reasons children have for resisting/refusing contact with a parent. A genuine case of parental manipulation, however, can lead to a parent being deprived, without justification, of the fundamental right to a relationship with their child.

Listen as this experienced panel of parent and child attorneys guides family law attorneys from investigation through handling a parental alienation case in court.



  1. Brief history and overview of the controversies about parental alienation
  2. Type of situations where it arises
  3. How courts define and address it
  4. Proving or challenging parental alienation
    1. Law
    2. Investigation
    3. Role of guardian ad litem
    4. Role of experts
      1. Selection
      2. Examining the child
      3. Admissibility
  5. Remedies and intervention


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the controversies surrounding the label of “parental alienation” in the mental health profession and in the legal profession?
  • Understanding the implications of “parental alienation” allegations for children’s safety and credibility.
  • What should be the role of a child’s attorney or a guardian ad litem?
  • How to litigate a case where the resist/refuse dynamic presents itself?
  • How to defend against a claim of alleged “parental alienation”?
  • How to keep the focus on the child’s best interests and a child-centered resolution?
  • What are the purported remedies for the resist/refuse dynamic, and are they effective?


Chester, Suzanne
Suzanne Chester

Legal Aid of North Carolina

Ms. Chester is the director of The Child's Advocate, a project of Legal Aid of NC. Attorneys from The...  |  Read More

Ducote, Richard
Richard Ducote, Esq.

Ducote Law Firm

Mr. Ducote, an attorney licensed in Louisiana (1978) and Pennsylvania (2009), has been one of the nation’s...  |  Read More

Goldstein, Seth L.
Seth L. Goldstein

Law Offices of Seth L. Goldstein

Mr. Goldstein created a resource and referral program dedicated to helping litigants in child abuse cases. He...  |  Read More

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