Do both parents need to consent for therapy in FL during or after a divorce or paternity case? People often ask us, “can my ex take my child to a therapist without my consent in Florida?” Generally, it is proper to look to a statute or case law for answers. Florida Statute 61.13(2)(b)(3)(a) provides that, “If the court orders shared parental responsibility over health care decisions, the parenting plan must provide that either parent may consent to mental health treatment for the child.” This is not the end of the story however. While either parent may consent to mental health treatment for their child, this does not give either parent a cart blanche to decide on which therapist, when, where, and on their own terms. Call Jacobs Law Firm, divorce attorney Orlando, divorce attorney Clermont, when you need answers to how your parenting plan works and to learn about mental health counseling divorce Florida. We will review your parenting plan with you and do so thoroughly to help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Call 407-335-8113.
Both parents should be allowed to participate in the process of consenting to mental health therapy, and both parents should be fully informed of the results of therapy to allow them to engage in shared parenting to promote the best interests of their child. This new change to the mental health parental consent law (Florida Statute 61.13(2)(b)3.a. does not give either parent a right to engage on sole parental responsibility decision-making. It is intended to benefit children going through stress during a divorce, not to advantage a parent acting unilaterally against the spirit of a parenting plan.
Let’s ask again, do both parents need to consent for therapy in FL? Can my ex take my child to a therapist without my consent in Florida? Now we look to case law for guidance. A recent First District Court of Appeals decision, Webking v. Webking, tested Florida Statute 61.13(2)(b)3.a. Webking v. Webking (Fla. 1st DCA June 17, 2022). The Webking Court reaffirmed that the Statute on mental health counseling divorce Florida requires that the court, if it orders shared parental responsibility over health care decisions in a parenting plan, provide in the parenting plan “that either parent may consent to mental health treatment for the child.” The Court reasoned that the modified parental consent law “recognizes the importance of mental health treatment for children whose parents are involved in a family law dispute.” While the Webking Court did not outright state how the law should be applied, or test it on various real life dilemmatic situations, by recognizing and promulgating its importance for the benefit of children in the crossfire of a divorce, it made perhaps an even bigger statement.
When you need to speak with a divorce and family lawyer experienced in drafting, interpreting and enforcing a parenting plan and mental health counseling divorce Florida, call Jacobs Law Firm at 407-335-8113. Collaborative divorce involves mental health counseling as well.