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Oct 31, 2018

Therapy records are an explosive issue in custody battles

By Laurie H. Pawlitza
Special to the National Post View original

For some years, the courts in Canada have been grappling with the many litigants appearing before them who have mental health issues. It is now quite common for judges to take training to help them deal with such litigants, who also often appear in court without a lawyer.

If asked, judges and lawyers both would usually agree that high-conflict family law cases often involve spouses with addiction or mental health issues. In these cases, and especially when custody and access issues are involved, judges may have to decide whether a spouse’s private medical or therapeutic counselling records will be produced to the other spouse.

Earlier this year, such issues were raised in a case in which the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl asked Justice M.D. Faieta to order copies of all of the father’s medical records from his doctor, psychiatrist, and “any other medical, psychiatric or health professional and any hospital and addiction treatment facility regarding his mental health and/or alcohol dependency” from the year of their child’s birth to date. The mother also asked for a “decoded OHIP summary” which would set out all of the treatment the father had during the period in issue.

This article was originally published in the National Post. To read the complete article, please visit the National Post's website