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A 42-year-old Toronto woman who spared no effort to alienate her three daughters from their father has been ordered to pay court costs of $251,641.

"I can only characterize the costs incurred by the father as a litigant's worst nightmare," Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt said Tuesday. "No litigation of this sort should ever have generated this kind of cost if the parties had any common sense or reasoning powers."

The father, a 56-year-old vascular surgeon, had originally claimed $557,719. Although Judge McWatt awarded less than that amount, she pointed toward the mother – known as K.D. – as being the culprit in the runaway litigation.

"The mother's behaviour has amounted to bad faith," Judge McWatt said. "In addition to being contrary to the best interests of the children, the mother's contemptuous actions toward this court required the father to go to extraordinary and unnecessary lengths – at great expense – to address the damage she caused."

Last year, Judge McWatt ordered that the three girls be seized, sent to a parental-alienation centre in the United States for deprogramming and prevented from communicating with their mother. The children – aged 14, 11 and 9 – now live in the sole custody of their father.

On Tuesday, Judge McWatt said that K.D. has refused her order to obtain therapy. In violation of another order, Judge McWatt said that, "there have been surreptitious efforts by members of the mother's family to contact the children and undermine their relationship with their father.

"The future of children is of utmost importance to courts everywhere in Canada," she said. "This case was of particular note in the context of family life after separation. The issue in this case is potentially significant in many custody and access cases presently before the courts."