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Keep child custody litigation and your child's therapist separate

Children are typically resilient and can adapt to new lifestyles after divorce when they understand that they are not to blame and that their parents love them and want to support them as they process their emotions. However, many parents in Texas and elsewhere have found it helpful to enlist additional support from outside sources, such as their child's teachers, guidance counselors, or, in some cases, licensed therapists. If a child is seeing a therapist, it might be a mistake for parents to try to drag him or her into their child custody litigation.

If there is already an existing court order, it no doubt specifies who has legal custody of any and all children involved. In most cases, the court sees fit to grant shared legal custody unless there is a justifiable reason not to. When both parents have legal authority to make decisions in a child's life, it is best for both parents to discuss and help choose a licensed child therapist for their son or daughter.

Perhaps, one parent believes it is in his or her child's best interests to meet with a therapist to help him or her cope with a divorce. If the other parent is not in agreement and both parents have legal custody, the issue will need to be resolved before any action is taken to hire a therapist. If parents are unable to negotiate a satisfactory solution, they may want to settle the issue in court.

If a child therapist is hired, Texas parents may want to avoid involving this person in any further child custody litigation that may arise. It is helpful to remember that a child therapist's job is to provide support to the child he or she has been hired to evaluate, not to take sides in a custody case or to facilitate parental negotiations. That is best left to experienced legal advocates whose job it is to protect their clients' rights and children's best interests in negotiations outside a courtroom or during litigation.

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