Cape & Cape 2013 FCWA 35

Parents of a 10 year old boy disputed arrangements, and the father alleged that the mother had alienated the child from him.  Evidence was given that the boy’s relationship with the father changed starkly during proceedings following release of a report by one expert who described the father’s personality style as consistent with psychopathy, a term supported by the mother but not by other experts (personality domineering).

A conference of experts agreed that the boy was aligned with his mother, where alignment means that a child has a better emotional fit with one parent.  It was noted that the mother’s behaviour amplified the alignment, and that the son became anxious over the conflict between the parents (parental conflict).

One expert noted it is not unusual for sons in single child families to step into a fatherly-like protective role if there is dispute between parents (parentification).