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NSW Are Psychiatrists Required to Notify Both Parents?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by JJJ, 1 September 2014.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Member

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    I just found out that my ex partner took our child to a psychiatrist without informing me. We have been divorced for years and I would have thought the Psychiatrist would have had a legal obligation to let me at least know he was treating or seeing my child. Does anyone know if there is a law on this and if so what it is? I am grateful for any thoughts.
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi JJJ,

    1. A psychiatrist is not required by law to seek the consent of both parents before seeing a child. If parents are separated, the psychiatrist continues with the presumption that the presenting parent (parent taking the child in for sessions) has authority/consent order allowing them to do so. Where the other parent objects, the psychiatrists has discretion and makes a professional judgement as to what is in the best interests of the child.

    2. A psychiatrist is under confidentiality duties not to disclose information from the sessions and about the child to the other parent. This includes information about whether or not the psychiatrist is in fact treating the child or whether the child is seeking treatment at all. There are limited instances where a psychiatrist can break confidentiality, one of which is if he/she suspects that the child is being abused or suffering neglect.

    You can read this information sheet for more information.
     
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  3. JJJ

    JJJ Member

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    I am so grateful for you taking the time to provide this feedback. Do you know if there is a legal obligation for the parent to inform the other parent of a proposed psychologist consultation in the case of a separated but joint parented situation? Also, if the psychologist know's this is a case of a separated but co-parented situation and doesn't make an effort to even inform the other parent is this still ok?
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi JJJ,

    Whether one parents must inform the other really depends on what you have agreed to in your parenting agreement. Is there some sort of formal agreement between you and your ex-partner?

    In relation to the psychiatrist, no, there is no obligation to inform the other parent. The psychiatrist will have confidentiality duties to concern about. I would suggest speaking with your ex-partner, child and the psychiatrist and ask to be kept in the loop.
     

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