Family Law Watch: Use Of Mental Health Professionals In Divorce

Enlisting the help of mental health professionals may be beneficial to individuals facing divorce. A good mental health professional can assist in minimizing stress during this difficult time.

1. Types Of Mental Health Professionals: There are various types of mental health experts available to assist individuals and families. A therapist/counselor can help individuals manage the stresses of divorce, including expectations regarding the outcome. A therapist/counselor can also help develop new relationship skills valuable both during and after divorce. This is especially true when children are involved and parents must learn to co-parent with each other for years after the divorce. Another mental health professional to consider is a custody mediator, who can help parents develop a viable custody and child-sharing plan that works for both parents. A parenting coordinator is an option for parents who may have difficulty resolving smaller issues like holiday child sharing details and communication disputes. If a custody dispute is headed towards litigation, consider hiring a custody evaluator, who will make an expert recommendation to the court regarding custody and a suitable parenting plan.

2. Benefits Of Hiring Mental Health Professionals: A mental health professional can help manage emotions and clarify expectations when it comes to difficult issues in divorce. Before hiring a mental health professional, individuals should do their own research regarding the professional’s background, education, and experience.

3. When Should A Mental Health Professional Be Employed?: The decision should be made by individuals with the assistance of their respective attorneys. An attorney can provide insight on whether, and at what point, to hire a custody mediator or a custody evaluator to address disputed custody issues. Individual counseling/therapy can help both before, during, and after a divorce.

The goal in enlisting mental health professionals is to help individuals move forward. Even those who are highly skilled and successful in other areas have benefited from seeking help during times of transition.