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Therapists are often a big part of the divorce process, particularly in child custody hearings. The couple seeking a divorce often have to attend therapy sessions if there are children involved, in the hope that the two may reconcile and prevent the children from going through the stressful divorce process. The children involved also often attend their own therapy sessions to help them deal with the fact that their parents are breaking up and to preserve their mental health throughout the process. Although therapists are very helpful in the divorce process, there are two tips to remember when using them during your divorce.
If your case goes to trial, your attorney will call many people to testify on your behalf. However, your attorney will also likely understand that therapists should not be called as a witness. Many therapists do not want to testify in court due to the confidential nature of the relationships they develop with their patients. If they are subpoenaed though, they may have to disclose the information they learned from their patient. The only exception to this is the guardian ad litem (GAL) that will work as your child’s representative. Under Illinois law, these individuals are not allowed to testify about anything the child has told them.
Additionally, a judge will likely not give much weight to a therapist’s testimony. The relationship between a therapist and their patients is often very personal and the two usually form a close bond. Judges know this and so, if one testifies on your behalf, the judge will understand that the therapist likely has a bias that will affect their testimony.
In some cases, a couple may allow a therapist to make decisions regarding parenting time. An agreement is usually included in the Allocation Judgment, and a judge simply has to approve it. The problem with this scenario is that therapists generally like to move very slowly, particularly if the family is going through reunification therapy because there is a problem between one of the parents and the child.
This becomes exhausting for everyone involved and can actually make reunification more difficult because the child and the parent have been separated for so long. A judge in a divorce case is there to make decisions and in the case of child custody matters, they should be the ones making them. A judge will make child custody determinations fairly, and quickly.
Therapists are very helpful to the divorce process, and many skilled Hinsdale divorce lawyers recommend working with them to help with the many issues associated with divorce. However, an attorney will also advise on what aspects of the divorce a therapist should help with, and what ones they should not. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we can advise on the role a therapist should play in your divorce, and help you with every other step of the process. If you are going through a divorce, call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation so we can review your case.