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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Stewart-Williams, MDR

Family Court: Court-Ordered Reunification Camps

Updated: Jan 24



What is Reunification Camps in Family Court? Reunification camps are court-ordered therapy sessions that force children to attempt to "repair a relationship" that is believed to have been damaged by being "alienated from a parent." These camps claim to remedy parental alienation which is an unfounded and highly disputed psychological theory in which one parent is accused of brainwashing a child to turn them against the other parent. So Family Court Judges order parents to pay to send their child to these reunification camps.


But the camps are controversial and triggering for children, especially for children who have confirmed accounts of abuse. Colorado and California approved bills to prohibit state courts from using reunification programs and other states are considering similar bills. United Nations Human Rights Council has even recommended in a special report that Family court-ordered reunification camps be prohibited. This is happening due to discretionary courts with no oversight. Additional reports give addtional insights.


I hear it all the time from parents who are starting the journey of Family Court on how things are going to "happen" in Court, and I cringe internally when I hear these things. Family Court is a court of discretion. This means that you have no control, the other party does not have control, and attorneys do not have control over what could happen to your family in the court systems. It is almost a roll of the dice and depends on the temperament of the Judge that you receive, and the jurisdication that your case will fall within.


It is discretionary, which means the Judges decisions and actions are up to the complete and full decision of the Judge. It does not matter if the Judge read your case, know the name of your children, or if the Judge has a bias, in Family Court they have the power to direct you and your children's steps. In Family Courts the law is just a guide, not a rule to follow - its optional and more credence is given to what the Judge "feels" is the best interest of the child. The trajectory of your life and your family is in the hands of tempermental individual.


If you can avoid this, then avoid it. Many times it gets to this level because one parent is focused on "winning." No one wins in Family Court. You can either create a framework of rebuilding or continue to tear down and destroy what was already identified broken. Mediation can allow both parties to empower themselves in strategic collaboration to establish a healthy process of division without toxic fighting and pain. Let me show you how to do it. Contact Us: info@familycourtombudsman.com

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