“What Kinds Of Counseling Can A Judge Order In A Custody Case?”

Counseling of various kinds is often used by judges in custody cases and for a variety of purposes. At the heart of the matter is the well-being of minor children. While the court may order parents into counseling, the purpose is to provide a better living environment for the children.
Here are some common kinds of counseling and their purposes:

Substance abuse counseling: Although a family law judge cannot force you or your ex to attend AA, rehab, or other substance abuse counseling, the court CAN make your visitation contingent on doing so. This will be ordered if the court is very concerned that a substance abuse issue is affecting the children.

Co-Parent Counseling: If the judge believes that the parents are having difficulties with co-parenting and making joint decisions, or sometimes just because they are engaging in conflict in front of the children, co-parenting counseling will be ordered. This includes training on how to work through conflicts, how to keep the children uninvolved in the situation, and guidance on the effects of parental behavior on the children. It can be a short class that both parents have to take separately, or a more involved long-term session where the co-parenting counselor helps work towards a co-parenting plan that both parents can execute.

Counseling for Children: The court may appoint a counselor for a child who shows signs of stress or behavioral problems. There is wide variety of reasons and purpose for this depending on the situation. Sometimes the judge will order it with the results being confidential, which means that the counseling is solely to help the minor and not for use in court. Other times the counselor will report certain things to the judge, like recommendations for when more visitation is appropriate or if the minor is being affected by certain things that are happening. They are commonly appointed in cases where child abuse has been alleged.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.