Last week, the news reported the decision in the custody case involving Miami Heat guard, Dwyane Wade’s, children, after one of the longest custody trials ever in Cook County. Apparently, a large part of Mr. Wade’s decision to seek sole custody of his children was allegations regarding his wife’s alienating behavior. In the decision issued by Judge Renee G. Goldfarb, the Judge held:
This court finds that (Siohvaughn Wade) has embarked on an unstoppable and relentless pattern of conduct for over two years to alienate the children from their father, and lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between them.
We have previously blogged many times on issues regarding parental alienation. Though I do not believe that it has yet occur ed, we discussed the movement to have "Parental Alienation Syndrome" included as a diagnoses in the new edition of the DSM. We have also discussed programs that deal with parental alienation as well as different cases addressing whether there can be tort liability for parental alienation.
What the Wade case shows is that when a parent embarks upon a course of conduct to alienate children from the other parent, and shows little desire, if not an utter inability to foster and encourage a relationship between the children and the other parent, that parent risks losing custody. Parents divorce each other. They don’t divorce the children. We cannot ignore the danger of harm to the children when a parent seeks to prevent or destroy the children’s relationship with the other parent. The research is clear that children need both parents in their life. However, when a parent seeks to destroy the children’s relationship with the other parent, they risk having their own time with the children limited in order to mitigate and/or prevent the opportunity for further damage being caused.
The results of parental alienation can be tragic. It is encouraging to see a court take it seriously and spend sufficient time exploring the issue.