Court Ordered Co Parenting Counseling – Licensed professional counselors are increasingly involved in litigation related to their work with families involved in divorce, separation, and child custody disputes. Counselors can fill a variety of roles when working with families involved in divorce disputes. For example, a counselor can create a therapeutic relationship with an individual family member, a couple, or the entire family unit. These roles are usually kept separate. But when working with high-conflict families, such roles can quickly become blurred. Thus, counsel can easily be drawn into litigation due to misinformation, hidden agendas, the expansion of what began as a simple task, or even a lack of knowledge of terminology and court procedures (for example, not recognizing when counsel should and should not provide information to the court).
Counselors must be enthusiastic and carefully complimentary when dealing with families in conflict and with court professionals. We offer 10 simple guidelines for advisors to follow.
Court Ordered Co Parenting Counseling
1) Be aware of ulterior motives. There is no doubt that individuals going through a separation or divorce rightly turn to counselors for support and guidance in dealing with one of life’s most challenging psychosocial events. But there is also the possibility that lawyers refer clients to counseling for other reasons. For example, if a couple is involved in custody disputes, a lawyer may refer a client to a counselor to document the client’s version of events or to set the stage for later obtaining a counselor’s opinion about the client’s mental health or ability to function. as a parent. There may also be situations where attorneys ask clients to bring their children to counseling in hopes that they will later receive a supportive opinion from the counselor about the individual’s parenting abilities.
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The counselor should be clear at the beginning of the therapeutic relationship why the client is there, what the client’s costs are, what the counselor can and cannot do, and whether the referral is from the client’s attorney for a specific reason. It is important that the counselor also knows who the identified client is.
Counselors can really work with clients to improve coping and change affect. For example, if the client has a history of substance abuse, proactive and voluntary participation in counseling may indicate the client’s interest and willingness to address the problem before being ordered to do so by a judge. Engaging in counseling can also demonstrate effort and reinforce the court’s impression that the client’s problems are under control.
However, it is important that advisers are not used to maintain a false impression for court purposes. A lawyer cannot verify the sincerity of a client’s motives, but we do not want to settle for a trick to gain an advantage in court.
2) Know your role and avoid dual relationships/multiple roles. A counselor in a therapeutic role provides support to clients and enables them to build on their existing strengths and make positive changes. In contrast, an evaluator gathers information from a variety of angles and sources for the express purpose of providing a report and recommendation to the court.
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Counselors can safely reflect on the client’s situation and progress. However, counselors should not make assumptions about the condition, progress, or damage of individuals they do not know or about whom they have limited information.
Sometimes a client or attorney will ask a treating counselor for an opinion on specific issues, such as parental health, abuse, or domestic violence. The consultant must provide recommendations and opinions that are consistent with the consultant’s role and competence. For example, it may be safe to say that a client has symptoms consistent with domestic violence. If the counsellor’s duties are limited to what the client tells the counsellor, it is however inappropriate to comment on the client’s propensity for violence. Likewise, it is not wise to repeat the client’s statements such as fa when the counselor was not present at the described actions.
3) Familiarize yourself with codes of conduct, legal laws and best practices. The 2014 ACA Code of Ethics specifically addresses issues such as informed consent and confidentiality, dual relationships, multiple roles, and client identification. When in doubt about a situation, counselors should always consult the ACA Code of Ethics and use the ethics consultation available through the American Counseling Association (call 800.347.6647 ext. 314 or email email@example.com).
It is also in the advisors’ best interest to be familiar with their state laws and regulations. Some state laws contain nuances that more clearly define when confidentiality must be breached, such as in cases of child abuse and neglect.
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Advisers should also refrain from giving legal advice to clients and at the same time be aware of the laws of their jurisdiction so as not to mislead clients. Advisers must refer clients to lawyers when legal advice is needed and in the client’s best interest. A counselor landed in serious legal trouble and a complaint to the licensing board when he suggested that a client the counselor believed was a victim of domestic violence take the children and move to another country where the family lives. States have specific laws regarding the removal of children from jurisdiction. Removing children without court approval or permission from the other parent can lead to criminal charges against the abducted parent and loss of custody.
4) Obtain approval and document all accounts. If separation or divorce is involved, counselors should obtain copies of all custody and visitation documents. Counsel should request a current copy of the court order and the document that the copy represents as a current copy. The agent’s informed consent document should include a presumption that all amended and updated court orders will be provided as they occur.
Without official documentation, advisers must keep detailed records of what they were told and to whom. Counselors working with children in divorce situations should seek consent and input from both parents whenever possible. If this is not possible, the reasons must be documented. Sometimes a court order gives a child sole custody or sole decision-making rights to a parent. In other cases, one parent may claim that the other parent is not involved due to separation or death. The client’s record should reflect what the counselor told the demonstrating parent so that the counselor has a reasonable basis to proceed if another parent comes forward and raises objections.
5) Offer support, not re-entry. From a human perspective, the therapeutic alliance is based on support and unconditional positive regard for the client. However, in high-conflict separation or divorce cases, there can be a fine line between the attitude that the client is 100% right and the divorced spouse is 100% wrong.
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It can be difficult for two people to reconcile financial and custody differences in their legal case when one person is entrenched in a system of false rights or stuck in a position of principle. Settlement is the art of compromise, and principled positions can be costly. In other words, clients sometimes become so intent on winning that they lose sight of the big picture and compromise more important parts of the case. Counsel sometimes do their clients a disservice by supporting the client’s position that the client cannot realistically proceed through a legal system that is often more specific in its application of law.
6) Maintain neutrality when necessary. This guide is common to counselors who work with children. It’s easy to invest in a parent who can see or talk to a counselor regularly. Hearing only one side of the story can affect the counselor’s perception of the child’s experience, especially if the child has limited verbal or cognitive abilities, lacks emotional understanding, or lacks details.
Counselors should begin by understanding that children in divorce situations generally do better when they are not in the middle. Counselors serve the child well by supporting the child’s relationship with both parents unless there is a clear risk of harm to the child. Counselors can refer family members who need support to other professionals to avoid conflicts of interest.
7) Don’t give your opinion to someone you’ve never met. It is common for a lawyer to ask the child’s adviser for an opinion and recommendation regarding the custody of the child or for advice from the client who will decide on the parent’s health and fitness. However, the advisor should stick to what the advisor knows.
Form Fl 311 Download Fillable Pdf Or Fill Online Child Custody And Visitation (parenting Time) Application Attachment California
It is okay to talk about the counselor’s own client—with the client’s permission—to include what the client has said, consistency of words, and affection and impression of the client. However, it is not wise to comment on a parent who is a counselor
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