When a married couple decides to divorce, it is common for communication to break down – after all, the relationship wasn't working for a reason, and heightened emotions from the stress of a split can make interactions even more contentious. This is especially true in child custody cases, where both parents are trying to maximize the time they will spend with their kids. Sometimes a family therapist can be employed to ensure the best interests of the child are represented and promote more effective communication and coping strategies for everyone involved. Therapists may also be called as expert witnesses in certain cases. Read on to learn more about the role of family therapists in child custody hearings – as well as when an experienced family law attorney needs to get involved.
Roles of Family Therapists in Child Custody Hearings
When it comes to defining post-divorce family relationships, therapists who specialize in marriage and child custody can help troubled parents and children work through difficult times. Particularly in high-conflict situations, mental health professionals can be beneficial in stabilizing conflict and preventing toxic situations from escalating. They can also provide parents and children with coping skills related to anxiety, mistrust of the other parent or the court system, and concern about losing custody of a child. This can help parents remain stable during the custody process and limit emotional damage to kids.
However, while there are numerous benefits to seeking the support of a mental health professional during a divorce, family therapists can also create complications in child custody cases. Sometimes ethical boundaries can get blurred with regard to confidentiality, and things children say to the therapist in confidence can be used in court against one parent or another. Therapists have also been known to cross lines by recommending custody arrangements that they perceive to be in the children's best interest – however, these suggestions may not take the full picture into account. This is particularly true if one parent has been more involved in therapy than the other and has used sessions to complain about their former spouse. This one-sided view could harm one parent's chances of having a relationship with their child, which is why you always need an experienced family law attorney on your side before your custody hearing starts.
How an Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help
While family therapists can play a vital role in child custody cases, they can also potentially harm your chance to have a meaningful relationship with your child after a divorce. An experienced family law attorney can help safeguard your reputation and ensure you are represented in court in the best possible light. Pennsylvania family law attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm can help you fight for your family's future. The Lento Law Firm has helped many Pennsylvania parents achieve favorable results in custody hearings, and they are ready to help you. Call 888.535.3686 or contact us online today to discuss your case.