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Can a 10 year old child refuse reunification therapy with father who abused him?

San Francisco, CA |

My son and I left my abusive husband 2 1/2 years ago. I was given a 2 year restraining order against him. My son was ordered to have supervised visits with his dad, but that changed when the therapist spoke to my son and realized that the abuse was more involved than previously thought. This resulted in my son not seeing his father for 2 1/2 years.
Fast forward to now, my son was ordered to attend reunification therapy. He doesn't want to see his father, who as recently as April, has still been stalking us. I want to follow the law, but I also dont want to subject my son to mental anguish needlessly. His therapist feels that he shouldn't be forced to see Dad, but isn't the one allowed to make that decision.
Do I have to force him to attend reunification therapy with dad?

Attorney Answers 2


You need to get the order to attend reunification therapy reversed. Hard to believe a court would order therapy if your son's therapist testified as to the abuse.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.

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Attorney Fink is correct, try and get the order reversed.
Also, if the Restraining Order expired, and up until April you were stalked, try and obtain another restraining order, which would include your son.
Lastly, if your son must proceed with Reunification Therapy, many, if not most therapist will not participaet in forcing your son to participate. Hopefully, selection of a ReunificationTherapist was left up to you. Interview the Therapist on their approach to a child refusing to be present in the same room. Perhaps your son's therapist can contact the ReunificationTherapist. If your son needs the assistance of his own therapist, perhaps you can get a court order that his therapist be present with him during the Reunification to help him express himself.
Best of luck with a very difficult situation.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship

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