Evaluation of parenting capacities is completed in the context of an expertise either in youth court (child protection) or in Superior Court (child custody). It involves the assessment of various components, such as the parent's capacity to fufill security, stability, stimulation, affection, material, education needs.
Following the parents' separation, a psycholegal expertise can be requested in order to assess the parenting capacities of the parents, the psychological functioning of the children and the capacity of the parents to respond in their way to these needs. The latter assessment aims also at determining what would be the healthier living environment for the child and access to each of his parent that would enhance his development.
In high conflict separations, some parents in the aim of protecting the children from the other parent, will devalue the image of the other parent, to the point where this parent can become hated and rejected by the child. The rejected parent then tries to regain access to his/her children. The alienating parent may consciously or unconsciously convey to the child that the other parent is not able to meet their needs. The child may be impacted in various ways. In the most severe case, the alienated child can cease contact completely with the rejected parent.
The aim of the psycholegal expertise is to identify the process before the situation deteriorates completely, since the rejection of the child of one or the other of his parents in the absence of valid reason is very harmful to his/her development.
Parental alienation syndrome is a process which at first, takes place insidiously but over time can evolve quickly if nothing is done to stop the process. It is therefore important to be able to identify early signs and work upstream in order to prevent further deterioration of the family situation.