Legal Consultation for Mental Health Professionals
From forming a business entity and crafting informed consent forms to issues of HIPAA, court orders, and subpoenas for records, there are many reasons mental health professionals may need to consult an attorney. As an attorney and licensed mental health professional, I understand the intricacies of the many issues related to the practice of mental health.
As an experienced licensed mental health professional, I understand the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Experienced in various aspects of legal practice relating to representation of mental health professionals—including quashing subpoenas and advising on the release of records—I am able to represent mental health professionals both in District Court as well as before their respective licensing boards. In addition, I often consult with mental health professionals who are in the process of establishing their practice or those who want to remain update-to-date with changing laws and regulations. These types of consultation may assist in preventing the need for legal representation in the future.
Guardian Ad Litem
The court may appoint an Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in some divorce and custody cases. The GAL is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interest of the child. The GAL will conduct an investigation which includes interviewing the parties and the child and may also include interviewing other family members, healthcare providers, teachers, or other persons, reviewing documents or medical records related to the child or parents, and conducting home visits, The GAL then complies this information into a report which includes the GAL's findings and recommendation and is provided to the court and the attorneys.
Parenting Coordination is a process that assists parents in implementing a parenting plan, monitors compliance with the parenting plan, resolves conflicts regarding the children in a timely manner, and seeks to protect and sustain safe, healthy, and meaningful parent-child relationships. Social science research: has shown that 10% of custody cases consume 90% of the court's time. With judicial efficiency becoming increasingly important as court dockets increase, Parenting Coordination was one solution to the problem. Parenting Coordination can reduce litigation in high-conflict cases by resolving disputes in a child-centered and less adversarial manner.
When parenting disputes arise, the Parenting Coordinator attempts to successfully mediate the dispute between the parents so that they may reach a mutual agreement. If no agreement is reached, the Parenting Coordinator may then make the decision based on the best interests of the child or children if the issue is within the scope of decision-making authority granted to the Parenting Coordinator in the court order. Some examples of issues that may be submitted to the Parenting Coordinator for resolution are:
Location of exchanges (particularly during summers or holiday breaks)
Scheduling ‘make up’ parenting time
Children’s participation in extracurricular activities
Specific healthcare providers, such as counselors or pediatricians
It is important to note that, unlike mediation, Parenting Coordination is not a confidential process. Reports to the court are required when the Parenting Coordinator makes a decision and additional reports to the court may be made at other times when the Parenting Coordinator deems appropriate. Copies of any and all reports to the court are also provided to the parties’ attorneys. Parenting Coordination can be particularly helpful for parents with a history of co-parenting conflict, communication problems, or frequent litigation. In these cases, the parents may first resort to the Parenting Coordinator to resolve minor disputes without the emotional and financial costs of litigation.