DURHAM: Family comes to Durham to fight parental alienation - WRBL

California family comes to Durham to fight parental alienation

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DURHAM, N.C. -

A California family is traveling across the country to stop children from being used to drive a wedge between two divorcing parents.

Joe Barrow and his family stopped in Durham Thursday.

Barrow knows about the void parental alienation can cause because of the distance between he and one of his daughters in a joint-custody situation.

"In the back of my mind, I'm always fully aware that our family is not fully complete." Barrow said. "Somebody has to do something. We're just one family."

Barrow brought his current family to the bull statue in downtown Durham after hearing the story of Derek Walker, who died in a standoff with police.

Read more: Durham man shot by police told friend 'I'm going to kill myself'

Walker posted an online rant that said his son's mother filled their son's head with thoughts including that he was not a good father. The mother denied that claim several days later.

"Had I not had a wife and three other children at home, that could have been me as well," Barrow said.

According to family law attorney Gray Ellis, many families deal with this kind of situation.

"The other parent is giving the child a choice as to whether or not to visit with the parent, is saying their version of what happened in the marriage to the child, which of course the child doesn't need to know about, talking poorly about the other parent," Ellis said.

Ellis said he encourages parents to find a neutral person their child can talk to, before alienation can occur.

"Get the child a therapist, make sure they're in touch with a minister," Ellis said. "Someone neutral that child can speak with that's not going to take sides between parents, but is a sounding board for that child."

Barrow said he is willing to do anything to get a part of his daughter's life.

"If that means being vocal and bringing awareness so that other people don't have to go through it, maybe that's what this is all about," Barrow said.

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