In Illinois, alienation is the programming of a child by the alienating parent to believe that one parent is good and the other parent is bad with the goal that the child completely rejects the other parent. A recent Illinois custody case, In re the Marriage of D.T.W., illustrates alienating behavior of a mother against the father.
In the case, the Court stated it could not ignore the evidence of the mother’s alienating behavior when considering each party’s willingness to facilitate a continuing relationship between the children and the other parent. The Court took note of the mother’s actions such as:
* taking children for medical treatment on a repeated basis that lead to a
curtailment, restriction or cancellation of the father’s visitation;
*the mother’s repeated attempts through pleadings to prevent the father’s scheduled visits through pleadings;
*the existence of a child’s journal and the child’s use of words such as “abuse” and “abandoned” which raised questions of the origin of the idea of writing a journal about the father and the source of the child’s information about the events memorialized in it;
*the mother’s efforts to alienate the children from the father’s sister. In the most egregious example of trying to alienate the children from the aunt, the mother filed a criminal petition for order of protection on behalf of one of the children against the aunt and caused the child to testify at the trial; and
*the mother’s failure to follow the pre-trial recommendations of the 604(b) court appointed evaluator, failure to follow court orders, and her pattern of behavior and her unwillingness to obey court orders that were not in her favor.
This case also illustrates that court appointed evaluator’s reports are not controlling. The Court held that a 604(b) recommendation concerning the custody of a child is just that, a recommendation.
In the end, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s decision awarding sole custody of the children to the father and granting his petition to remove them from Illinois to Florida.
Please contact The Law Firm of Erin N. Birt, P.C. at 630-891-2478 with any questions about the case and whether it may apply to your situation.