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Do I need consent from the non-custodial parent to start my child in counseling?

Tacoma, WA |

My divorce decree awarded joint decision making for education, medical etc to the non-custodial parent. My son has recently been showing signs of emotional stress over visitation. I asked him if he wanted to talk to a counselor who is special doctor for kids and he wants to. Do I have to get consent or involve the non-custodial parent to start him in therapy?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. See my website on Modifications. Your Parenting Plan gives medical decisions to the non-custodial parent. Very odd. You must follow the current Plan until it is modified.

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  2. Your question indicates that that there is joint decision making and that the non-custodial decision making powers.

    If you mean joint decision making, then see if the other parent will agree to a counselor. If not, then pursue the dispute resolution process in your plan. If this does not work, then you may need to go to court to obtain counseling.

    If you mether parent has sole decision maing, then you may petition the court to modify the non-residential provisions of the parenting plan.

    I would suggest that you contact a family law attorney and get a 30 minute free consultation. If you are unable to find one, contact my office and I will be happy to discuss the issue with you right away.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Pierce is licensed to practice law in Washing with an office in Seattle and services clients in all parts of Washington. He can be reached at 206-587-3757 or at the email address at piercefamilylaw.com Mr. Pierce is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Washington law. This response is only in the form of legal education and is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Pierce strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.


  3. From the information you've provided, your first step should be to discuss this with your ex, and tell them that you would like to do this and so would your son.

    If your ex won't agree to the counselling and you still believe it's in your son's best interests, then follow the dispute resolution process described in your Final Decree of Dissolution.

    Professional counselling will most certainly be beneficial for your son, for you, and for your ex. Qualified counsellors have assisted many of my clients and their kids in amazing ways. I'd be surprised if you ex will persist in denying your son the opportunity to work on his emotional well being, but it happens and it's unfortunate.

    Finally, if the dispute resolution process doesn't work for you, you can file a motion in Court. From my experience I can tell you that your motion stands a great chance of being granted. Ask the Court to grant you your reasonable costs, expenses, and attorney's fees (from you ex) for having to go to such an extreme to provide you son with a well-being process that will help him.

    Good luck.