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Can I take my nephews to a child psychologist without legal woes from custodial parent, their mom, my ex sister in law?

Charlottesville, VA |

I have two nephews that live the majority of the time with their mom.My brother has them every other weekend. One is 6, the other 3. Both have told my family things that concern us greatly and we have noticed the 6 year old is withdrawn and often lacks affect. His parents divorced last year. His mother moved in another man a week after my brother moved out, mom doesn't work but sends them to babysitter, home is in foreclosure. My ex sister in law is a sociopath that did and may still have drug prob & my brother is an alcoholic. I think kids need professional help to get out what is really going on. If I have my brother's permission, can I legally take the kids to speak with a psychologist without fearing legal ramifications from mom? The kids have never been priority to either & need help!

We have called social services & law enforcement before. I have copies of police reports that state the kids were assaulted by her live in but she lets him stay. She has been arrested for obstruction of justice. My brother was in jail for drug possession. The kids have told us stories of abuse at the hands of mom and her boyfriend. She does nothing to care for them financially. I am deeply concerned that they are damaged psychologically by the goings on and I believe that mom tells them to lie about things. They have as much as said so. My ex sister in law is the very definition of a sociopath. My brother is an alcoholic. Neither parent wants to admit to their problems and neither have made their children a priority.

Attorney Answers 2


The parents of the children have the sole duty and authority (outside of a court order to the contrary or an emergency) to provide medical care for their children. A doctor is not going to provide treatment without one of their consent. If your brother (I am assuming the children's father) schedules the medical care because he deems them appropriate, then there is no legal remedy for the mother against you. You would simply be the one transporting them to the appointments authorized by their father.

Responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and any attorney associated with Garrett Law Group, PLC. Responses should be considered and used for informational purposes only. Every case is unique in its facts, and all legal matters should be discussed with a licensed attorney prior to making any decisions or taking any actions.

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Yes, he is their father. However, she is the custodial parent though they share legal custody. Thank you.


The purpose of this site is to offer general information and NOT legal advice. No lawyer can give legal advice without hearing all of the facts. Based upon the limited information you have provided the immediate answer to your question is no, absent a power of attorney, court order or written authorization signed by both parents. If the parents share joint legal custody, most professionals will not treat the childern without the consent of the other parent. By law, if the parents share joint legal custody, each parent must confer and consult with the other before making any major decisions. If the father seeks treatment and the mother is withholding consent contrary to the best interest of the children, based upon the facts, this may constitute a material change in circumstances. If so, it may warrant a possible change in the exiting order. In order to protect the well-being of the children, your brother should consult with an experienced family lawyer in the area. If the interest of the children is being compromised, the court can get involved, once a motion is filed with the court. Best of luck to your family~

This response is only intended for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for hiring an attorney in your state. Further, by sharing this information, it is in no way intended to establish an attorney client relationship with the reader.

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Thank you. I have a follow up question given your response. My nephew, age 3, managed to get on a kitchen counter and swallow pills which led to him being taken to the emergency room and requiring his stomach be pumped. This happened at my ex sister-in-law's residence and she did not even notify my brother. Again she is the custodial parent but they share legal custody. Since they are supposed to be involved in these matters together, can anything be done about her not even informing him. We only knew because the children told us at their next visitation and because she posted on Facebook telling her live-in boyfriend where they were. (A mutual friend made us aware they were at the hospital. She did not respond to a text asking if the kids were okay but her mother did. She just said that the kids were fine but did not make their father aware of what was going on either.)

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson


Your brother needs to speak with a family lawyer right away to discuss filing a Rule to Show Cause against the mother for her failure to comply with the provisions of the order. As joint custodians, they need to "confer" with each other in all matters involving the children. This does not appear to be the case and he needs to take action to protect his rights and the interest of the children.

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