Legal Question in Family Law in Texas

On what grounds can the noncustodial parent ask the courts to order his child attend family counseling. Custodial parent would be responsible for this since child is in their home state of Texas. Noncustodial parent lives out of state out east and has for almost 10 years now since the divorce. Child is in special education in the public school system and there are no behavioral issues at school and all the special need educators have not recommended any counseling in 8 years of school. Grades are above average. Is this easily granted for such a request just because the noncustodial parent wants it? Custodial parent in Texas has no criminal record, drug or alcohol problems and child is well cared for. Child is a young teen so coming of age and occasionally "talks back" to noncustodial parent on the phone. Child visits the noncustodial parent out of state during the Summer, Christmas holidays and Spring Break.

Asked on 2/03/15, 2:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kevin Henderson Kevin Henderson Attorney at Law

The first place to look for your answer to this question is the document that established conservatorship. In Texas, that would be the Decree of Divorce or the Final Order in Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship. In this document there will be an appointment of either joint managing conservators or sole and possessory conservators. Where joint managing conservators are appointed there will also be an allocation of parental rights between the parents. One of those rights is the right to consent to psychiatric or psychological counseling or treatment for the child. This right (and the other rights as well) may be exercised either exclusively by one parent, by agreement of the parents or independently by either parent.

If the appointment was for a sole managing conservator then usually that person has this right exclusively. This and other rights may be given exclusively to one or the other of joint managing conservators. If one parent has an exclusive right the other parent should not be making decisions which violate that right. For joint managing conservators who are to exercise this right by agreement, obviously they must come to an agreement before either of them can make this decision. If they are unable to agree, then the person who wants counseling would have to take that issue before the court for a decision. If either parent may consent to this treatment independently then the non-custodial parent could sign the child up for counseling while the child is with that parent. That may not go over well with a Texas judge if this gets into court.

Issues like this are always fact dependent. It really isn't possible to state all the "grounds" that may be relevant to a case. If you have questions about your particular case you should schedule an appointment to discuss it with an experienced family law attorney in your area.

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Answered on 2/03/15, 2:50 pm

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