Children's Therapist Can Not Testify at Divorce Proceedings About Mother's Behavior

Schwartz v. Schwartz, 616 S.E.2d 59 (Va. Ct. App. 2005)

A court presiding over divorce proceedings in Virginia must consider the "mental condition of each parent" in making custody or visitation arrangements.  At the same time, as in most states, statements made to a licensed mental health care provider by a client are privileged (i.e., the provider cannot testify regarding any information obtained while examining or treating a client without the client's permission).  Formerly, this privilege was often disregarded during custody or visitation proceedings because the client was considered to have placed his or her mental condition at issue in these proceedings. However, a new law (VA. CODE § 20-124.3:1) was passed that limits the admissibility of mental health records in these proceedings.

Found in DMHL Volume 25 Issue 1