How does Ohio handle the rights of children in the context of parental alienation?

Understanding Parental Alienation in Ohio

In Ohio, as in many states, the court system recognizes the importance of a child's well-being and the fundamental rights of children to have a healthy relationship with both parents. Parental alienation, a process through which one parent manipulates a child to reject the other parent without legitimate justification, is taken seriously in Ohio courts. The courts are equipped to handle cases where parental alienation is alleged and take steps to protect the interests and rights of the children involved.

The Legal Framework Addressing Parental Alienation

While Ohio does not have specific statutes that define or explicitly mention 'parental alienation', the issue is addressed indirectly through laws that focus on the best interests of the child. Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.04 outlines factors that courts must consider when allocating parental rights and responsibilities. These factors include the willingness of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent, which can be adversely affected by actions that amount to parental alienation.

Court Interventions to Mitigate Parental Alienation

When allegations of parental alienation arise, Ohio family courts may order psychological evaluations, appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child's best interests, or require family counseling. In severe cases, courts can modify custody arrangements if they determine that parental alienation has occurred and it is not in the child's best interest to remain in the alienating parent's primary custody.

Case Law Illustrating Ohio's Stance on Parental Alienation

Historical references demonstrate how Ohio courts have dealt with parental alienation. For instance, in Kroener v. Kroener, the court found that the mother's actions had poisoned the children's relationship with their father. Consequently, custody was awarded to the father based on evidence of parental alienation by the mother.


Parental alienation is damaging and can have long-lasting effects on both children and parents. While Ohio law does not explicitly name 'parental alienation' as a legal concept, family courts actively address such behavior through established legal principles centered on the child's best interests. Parents facing issues of parental alienation should seek legal counsel to ensure their rights and their children's well-being are adequately protected.