Therapists’ Records and Custody

Therapists' Records

Therapists’ Records and Custody

In Simek v. Superior Court of San Matea, the court found that a parent does not waive a right to the doctor-patient privilege or the psychotherapist-patient privilege simply by requesting visitation.

In the Simek divorce proceedings, the parents could not reach a visitation agreement. The mother of the minor children requested the father’s medical records and the psychotherapist’s records, because she alleged the father had attempted suicide and had a nervous breakdown during the divorce proceedings. The father challenged the request for his records stating that his records were privileged.

The family trial court ordered the records to be delivered to the court in a sealed envelope to be reviewed by the judge. The father filed a petition with the appellate court seeking review.

The First District Court of Appeal held that a party’s records can only be disclosed when that party puts his or her mental condition “at issue” in a case. By submitting to a custody proceeding, a parent does not put his or her mental condition at issue. Therefore, the judge could not look at the medical records or the psychotherapy’s records. In addition, when a litigant puts his or her mental or physical state at issue, the scope of the inquiry permitted depends upon the injuries the patient-litigant has presented to the court.

If you need a divorce attorney in the Orange County area to address custody in the dissolution of a marriage or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, child support, spousal support and/or property division, contact our law office located in Laguna Hills at (949) 716-2102. Conveniently located off of the 5 and 405 freeway at Lake Forest.

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.

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