If the other parent is claiming that you abandoned the child or that the child is afraid or excessively angry at you, and therefore the relationship is allegedly damaged, a judge may require you and the child to engage in therapeutic intervention services.
The purpose of therapeutic intervention services is to restore the damaged parent-child relationship. It can be a very useful service in the right cases. But it can also be used for sinister purposes if the other parent is manipulative and destructive.
It is important to have an attorney who is experienced in handling these kinds of cases, because therapeutic intervention can become a way that the other parent controls you and continues to alienate the child from you (if parental alienation is suspected). The judge will usually rely exclusively on what the therapeutic interventionist recommends. This places you at a disadvantage, because if you have the wrong therapeutic interventionist, that person may continually recommend more sessions in order to make more money. After all, there is a financial incentive to keep the process going.
Also, if the other parent has been engaging in parental alienation, it is rare that a therapeutic interventionist is going to expose that behavior. You may need to obtain your own expert to do a thorough investigation to determine whether parental alienation exists and if so, what the remedy should be. The tricky part is convincing the judge that another expert should get involved. Often, the court order specifies that no other expert can be hired without the court’s approval or the therapeutic interventionist’s authorization. Therefore, you need to be able to articulate to the judge why you need to take this important step for the best interest of your child.
Click here to read more about parental alienation, because it is frequently the reason why therapeutic intervention is needed in the first place. If so, then you should have an attorney your side who understands how best to steer you through this tricky and contentious process.
The Maricopa County Superior Court has a roster of mental health experts. Some of those experts provide therapeutic intervention services. Often, a judge will ask both sides to provide three names each of experts they want to provide those services. This is often referred to as a “blind list,” because the names will be listed without reference to which side recommends which names. The judge then randomly selects one of the names from the six names on the list. So it is important that you recommend the three names that are the best for your case. We have experience handling these kinds of situations and can give you valuable insight as to which experts are best suited for your particular scenario. For example, some experts tend to be more mother-friendly. Others tend to be more father-friendly. If Mr. Thomas is your attorney of record in your case, he will share with you the best names to offer in the blind list.
In summary, therapeutic intervention services can be valuable or abused. It depends on how cooperative the other parent is. It also depends on the expert you have and the way you interact with that expert. We are very experienced in helping clients navigate through this complicated process.