Can My Therapy Records be Subpoenaed in a Divorce?
Child custody cases during a divorce can lead to a variety of uncomfortable situations like child custody evaluations, interviews with a guardian ad litem, and having your therapy records subpoenaed. All of these things have a universal factor in common, they come with the threat of revealing private aspects of your life. If you have concerns about your records being subpoenaed, talk with an Oklahoma Family Attorney about your options to preventing this.
When Can My Therapy Records Be Subpoenaed?
Not all divorce cases involve subpoenaed therapy records, but the ones that do usually involve child custody decisions. The family court wants to see whether you are fit to raise your child and one way to do this is to look at therapy records of you or your child if your child is in therapy. Information from these therapy records can reveal information on parenting behaviors, abuse, or negative interaction patterns.
To answer the question, you or your child’s therapy records can be subpoenaed when they deem this necessary to find out more information for deciding on child custody or visitation. Information from your records on billing, therapy notes, your diagnosis if there is one, and your progress can all be used as evidence of your ability to be a parent. It is not uncommon for parents in this position to fear the stigma and outcome of releasing therapy records.
While there exists a privilege of confidentiality between you and your therapist, there are certain exceptions to this rule. Courts have the power to obtain your therapy records despite your refusal when the request of the records is deemed vital for the well-being and best interests of your child.
Can I Prevent a Subpoena?
You may be feeling close to hopeless at this point, but you may not have to. There are some ways to prevent a court subpoena. Talking with your therapist and a lawyer about your rights in this situation may allow ways around releasing you or your child’s therapy records.
There are five ways to prevent a subpoena when it comes to therapy records. Your therapist can look deeper and figure out whether the subpoena actually involves the full force of the law. Valid subpoenas must allow enough time to respond or quash a subpoena. Your therapist must explain to you what can happen and must obtain your consent in writing, but you may refuse to consent.
Negotiations with legal counsel or the requester can be attempted. You can file a motion to quash the subpoena or file a protective order. Therapists can refuse to answer questions during testimony. Another thing therapists can do is provide reasons for limiting the release of information for your records.
Family Lawyer in Oklahoma
Preventing the release of your therapy records in court can be a tedious process. Consider hiring an Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer to figure out what steps you can take in this situation. Contact the Putnam Law Office at (405)-849-9149 for a consultation today. Mr. Putnam is an Oklahoma City, OK attorney who is dedicated to his clients.