Considering a Therpaist for Your Children
How to Win Child Custody)
Carefully evaluate the posture of your divorce action. Is a custody fight a certainty? Are your children already being tugged at by both parents, more correctly both sides as extended family and friends all seem to get into the act, and suffering as a result of the tension and animosity? Take the initiative in getting your children to a therapist of your choosing, unless there is a court order prohibiting it.
Your spouse is probably claiming that your children are having emotional problems under the existing arrangement; if so, that will make it difficult for your spouse to argue against professional help for the children. Be careful to avoid the appearance that you’re slipping in a biased evaluation of your children in the guise of therapy. The court may view this as an abuse of your parental discretion and an attempt on your part to use your existing custody for your own purposes against your spouse.
If you are a custodial parent of your children, you have the right and obligation to see they get the necessary care. If they have become quiet, withdrawn, upset, disinterested or in some way different than usual, something is wrong. You’ll be the one who chooses the therapist based on objective parental concerns and explains the reasons prompting you to bring in the children.
Ask the therapist’s opinion, frequently, as counseling proceeds. It’s natural as a parent to do so, and your watchfulness looks good. Express your concern each time; ask how it is going with your children and whether you should add or change anything in their routines. Inquire if there is something different that you might do to make it easier for your children. You don’t need a written opinion from this therapist—you know what it is.
The therapist that you have arranged for your children is available for a declaration or testimony, if needed, should you seek a temporary court order. Of course, your spouse has the right to question the therapist to try to get favorable testimony. The therapist owes his or her allegiance to your children. This professional does not perform the independent evaluation mentioned earlier, a task done only for the purpose of litigation. Your therapist may be so persuasive, however, the evaluation won’t be needed.
Eventually, your attorney may ask for an opinion in writing, but only if and when needed in writing. A written opinion is a shortcut for your spouse to find out what the therapist is thinking. It gives your spouse’s team something to cross-examine the therapist about if the opinion changes. Don’t even mention your attorney’s name to the therapist; avoid letting it look like your attorney has retained an expert for litigation. The therapy the children need is only incidentally a source of evidence regarding their best interests.
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How to Win Child Custody