A father who hasn’t seen his son in nearly nine years is this week reaching out to others who have suffered parental alienation.
Mark Kosmider will be in the Royal Square on 25 April from 11:00 to 14:00 to lend support to those affected and raise awareness of the difficult topic.
His son was born in 2007, but Mark hasn’t seen him since around 2010 following a custody battle, which was complicated by allegations made against him that later proved to be unfounded.
Pictured: Mark with his son's toy, which he takes everywhere with him.
It took him a couple of years to put a name to what he had gone through, but eventually realised it was parental alienation – being frozen out of his child’s life.
Mark has since been in contact with around 500 people around the world affected by parental alienation, which mostly includes parents, but also stepparents, grandparents and children.
Over the course of his exchanges with families and individuals affected by parental alienation, Mark says he noticed that most stories begin with a custody dispute and that fathers tend to be most affected.
Mark says the risk of parental alienation lurks behind every divorce or separation, as one parent is “always going to be disadvantaged”. “The time of the non-custodial parent is always going to be restricted,” he explained.
Pictured: “I only want the best for my child," Mark says.
In “extreme” scenarios, things can turn sour, with one or both parties making accusations. In Mark’s case, allegations that were later discarded “severely interrupted” his relationship with his son.
“I couldn’t meet him at my home, it had to be at a children’s play area, with a court supervisor. It was not spontaneous. It was very bizarre and very fractured.”
The experience left Mark feeling humiliated and demeaned and after one final meeting during which he says his son was like a stranger, Mark made the agonising decision to withdraw from his life. “I only want the best for my child, and I thought it was best not to be in this life so that his mother could concentrate on raising him,” he told Express.
Pictured: Mark and Penny will be on the Royal Square this Thursday.
Since then, Mark has returned to Jersey and focused his efforts on raising awareness of the issue in the island in hope of helping others through the emotional struggle.
He will be on the Royal Square on 25 April from 11;00 to 14:00, which marks Worldwide Parental Alienation Awareness Day, to speak to anyone affected by parental alienation.
He will be joined by one of his friends, Penny, who admits she knew nothing about the issue until she met Mark by chance and learned of how “consumed” he has been by the situation.
“I didn’t know about it at all,” she said. “But I can see the effect it has. I can’t imagine as a nana like I am, that someday it could just stop and I wouldn’t see my grandchildren.”
As difficult his situation has been, Mark says it’s not an exceptional one. “Many people have been through the same thing. But change won’t happen until the people who are not affected are as outraged as those who are.”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.