Using Mental Health Professionals in Family Law Cases

One of the most important resources we can utilize in family law cases is the mental health professional. Whether it be a social worker from the Domestic Relations Office or Family Court Services Office in your County; a private social worker; psychologist, psychiatrist; licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; or a Court-appointed parenting facilitator or coordinator, these professionals can make the difference between a successful or non-successful outcome in your family law matter.

Many cases we deal with on a daily basis are “high-conflict cases.” A high-conflict case is characterized by frequent and continuing bouts of litigation; modifications on an almost annual basis; disparagement of the other parent to the children and others; abusive use of social media; total dysfunction in relationship with other parent, and the resulting harm to the children involved.

Some high-conflict cases will be litigated until the children involved have emancipated. This is a sorry state of affairs, and we family lawyers hate to see children impacted by the misbehavior of their parents to this extent.

If your case has some of the characteristics of a “high-conflict case”, the assistance and intervention of a qualified mental health professional is imperative. As a client, you have the right to request that a mental health professional be appointed in your case to aid the attorneys in diffusing the problems that have been created in the past. A family law case consists of not only complex legal issues, but many social and behavioral issues as well. Therapy, counseling, co-parenting classes and social studies are necessary in many cases to stop the fighting in and out of the courtroom.

Remember, there are no winners or losers in family law cases; only problems needing to be solved.