“Maternal Gatekeeping: Mothers as Alienators:”- Bill Corbitt June 2024

“Maternal Gatekeeping: Mothers as Alienators:”



Author Bill Corbitt is a distinguished United States Air Force veteran, former federal agent, with an impressive track record spanning over 35 years as a digital forensic investigator. Bill is widely recognized as a leading expert in the field, with his expertise often called upon in courtrooms.


The following is just an extract from Bill Corbitt’s report into Maternal Gatekeeping from a USA perspective. There are many similarities to the difficulties we face in Australia where acceptance of Parental Alienation (maternal gatekeeping) is hard to achieve.

Do click  on the link above and take the time to read the full report. It’s well worth while!

Common Tactics in Family Lawfare

False Allegations

In custody battles an extremely high percentage of mothers’ resort to making accusations of abuse or neglect as a strategy to gain a legal advantage. These accusations, even if unsubstantiated, can lead to repercussions for the father involved, such as loss of custody and limited visitation rights, etc. Research clearly indicates that these false claims are prevalent in custody disputes and can heavily influence court rulings in favor of the accuser (Trocmé & Bala 2005).

Example: In one case a dad was wrongly accused of misconduct by his former spouse amid a difficult divorce. Even though there was no proof the accusations resulted in a termination to his visitation privileges. Although he was later cleared of all charges the ordeal lasted for years causing a decline in his bond, with his kids (Bala, Mitnick, Trocmé, & Houston 2007).

Manipulation of Legal Processes

Mothers typically manipulate legal processes to delay proceedings, increase litigation costs, and create a perception of uncooperativeness on the father’s part. All are unethical tactics but are also highly effective. These tactics include repeatedly filing motions, requesting continuances, and failing to comply with court orders, all of which can exhaust the father’s financial and emotional resources (Bruch, 2001).

Example: A mother might repeatedly change lawyers or file frivolous motions to delay custody hearings. This tactic not only prolongs the legal process but also imposes significant financial and emotional strain on the father, making it harder for him to sustain his fight for custody or fair visitation rights.

Exploiting Legal Biases

The legal system frequently shows prejudices that lean towards mothers, in custody battles. Traditionally courts have leaned towards granting custody to mothers assuming they are the caregivers. This partiality could be utilized by mothers to obtain custody agreements regardless of the fathers’ role or abilities, as a parent (Nielsen, 2011).

Example: In many jurisdictions, the “tender years doctrine,” which favors mothers as custodians of young children, is implicitly applied. Fathers often find that their roles as equal parents are minimized, leading to custody decisions that do not reflect the father’s significant involvement in the child’s life (Warshak, 2015).

Impact on Fathers

The application of strategies in Family Law warfare has frequently harsh impacts on fathers. The initial outcomes involve losing custody or facing visitation privileges resulting in emotional turmoil, despondency and a feeling of powerlessness. As time passes these legal disputes can damage the bond between the father and his children as extended separations and the emotional burden of proceedings wear them down.

Limited Legal Recourse

Fathers facing false allegations or legal manipulation have little to no recourse unless they expend an exorbitant amount of money. The burden of proof lies heavily on the accused; hence men are guilty and must prove their innocence — a clear violation of federal and Constitutional law. The legal system’s slow, practically nonexistent, response to rectifying false claims means that significant damage to the father-child relationship may be irreparable by the time the truth is established (Jaffe, Crooks, & Bala, 2009).

Example: A father who is wrongly accused of violence will have to invest a lot of time and money to clear his name. This situation can lead to court restrictions that hinder his ability to bond with his child, potentially resulting in lasting damage and distance between them.