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  1. #1
    Kiwigirl is offline Junior Member
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    Joint legal custody

    If parents have joint legal custody, can one parent take a child to counseling without the others permission?
  2. #2
    tiredofdrama is offline Member
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    You must give the state that you reside in.
  3. #3
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Ans also state what the order says regarding joint legal custody
  4. #4
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigirl View Post
    If parents have joint legal custody, can one parent take a child to counseling without the others permission?
    It doesn't matter what state the poster is in. Unless the orders state that if they disagree one of them has the final say, then it takes the agreement of both parents.
  5. #5
    tiredofdrama is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    It doesn't matter what state the poster is in. Unless the orders state that if they disagree one of them has the final say, then it takes the agreement of both parents.
    OP has logged off, but just out of curiosity, what if the parent that takes the child to counseling just doesn't tell the other parent about it? If one parent encourages the child to withhold information or simply flat out lie to the other parent, is that a violation of the custody order?

    I'm not hijacking, I'm just trying to think of ways that a parent could do something without getting the other's permission.
  6. #6
    proud_parent is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiredofdrama View Post
    OP has logged off, but just out of curiosity, what if the parent that takes the child to counseling just doesn't tell the other parent about it?
    Unfortunately, that sort of thing happens all the time. Often, the parent acting unilaterally will get away with it...at least until the other parent gets a bill from the provider or an EOB from the insurance company, or the child lets it slip that a counselor is involved.

    There are therapists out there who are savvy enough -- sometimes as a result of having been dragged into a court battle before -- to ask about legal custody status when a child is brought for treatment by one but not both parents. Of course, some parents will lie about legal custody status when asked. I know of few therapists who require proof of custody/guardianship and who seek releases from all responsible parties before providing treatment to a minor. In my experience, it is more common for a therapist to accept the authorization of only one parent.

    So the technically correct answer is that a parent with joint legal custody CAN take a child to counseling without the other parent's permission or knowledge -- but a parent who does so risks being found in contempt. Even if contempt is not proved, the other parent may insist that treatment stop until a mutually agreed upon provider is selected.
    Last edited by proud_parent; 11-18-2008 at 10:42 AM.
  7. #7
    truebluemd is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by proud_parent View Post
    Unfortunately, that sort of thing happens all the time. Often, the parent acting unilaterally will get away with it...at least until the other parent gets a bill from the provider or an EOB from the insurance company, or the child lets it slip that a counselor is involved.

    There are therapists out there who are savvy enough -- sometimes as a result of having been dragged into a court battle before -- to ask about legal custody status when a child is brought for treatment by one but not both parents. Of course, some parents will lie about legal custody status when asked. I know of few therapists who require proof of custody/guardianship and who seek releases from all responsible parties before providing treatment to a minor. In my experience, it is more common for a therapist to accept the authorization of only one parent.

    So the technically correct answer is that a parent with joint legal custody CAN take a child to counseling without the other parent's permission or knowledge --
    but a parent who does so risks being found in contempt.
    Even if contempt is not proved, the other parent may insist that treatment stop until a mutually agreed upon provider is selected.

    How is it generally enforced? I don't see many posts about violation of legal custody issues
  8. #8
    proud_parent is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by truebluemd View Post
    How is it generally enforced? I don't see many posts about violation of legal custody issues
    It is enforced in the same way other violations of court orders are enforced. One party files a Motion for Contempt/Rule to Show Cause. The other party is served. There is a hearing. The party alleging contempt presents evidence that the behavior was willful and violated the order, the other party presents his/her defense.

    Perhaps you don't see more posts on this issue because proving contempt takes time and effort. One must weigh the benefits of pursuing legal action against the cost. If the behavior is isolated, or if the child has benefitted even though one parent was out of line, perhaps the matter isn't worth pursuing. Furthermore, for a first time contempt, the result may be no more than a slap on the wrist.

    On the flip side, you have those who choose to bide their time until there are multiple violations before pursuing legal action. After all, when a parent believes that his/her rights under joint legal custody are superior to the rights of the other parent, chances are that attitude will be manifest in other ways: medical decisions, educational decisions, compliance with court-ordered parenting time, etc.

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