Can I Get a Court Order to Have Someone Help Me and My Ex Communicate?

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I completed a long custody battle which was adjourned until a settlement was forced and the evidence collected was never reviewed as the case didn’t go to trial. The Forensic Psychologist was a complete disgrace and derelict in his duties as he was completely biased towards my daughter’s mother and I have much evidence of this conclusion. Since then I have continuously had problems with her. She never admits fault. She has never been wrong, made a mistake, had an accident nor apologized for anything. Most psychologists would classify this behavior as a personality disorder (probably narcissistic) but, I believe you’d actually have to be impartial and doing your job to diagnose the problem. She continually does things wrong then uses gaslighting, arguments, changing the subject etc. to avoid admitting fault. It is absolutely abusive and hurtful to my daughter as well as me. She causes much mental/emotional abuse and gets away with it. My only recourse has been self defense which is mainly yelling back and cursing, which will be used against me. How can I prove this and have her held accountable? Can I have a court-ordered third party involved in our communications? Thanks.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Yes, a court can do this in a couple of different ways. The first would be to order you and your ex to attend co-parent counseling. Unlike any other form of joint counseling, co-parent counseling is specifically designed to help co-parents to communicate more civilly and respectfully, which in turn allows them to co-parent more effectively. It is the preferred method for obvious reasons, and while many courts haven’t before had such requests, nearly all courts will be delighted to agree to it. However, be careful to not phrase your request in a blaming way (i.e. don’t say things like “she is abusive” and “she is a narcissist”, because then you come off as an angry guy who is just trying to control her and “pay her back”). Instead explain that the two of you have difficulties communicating, and it is affecting your daughter, so you’d like to be ordered to go to counseling so that the two of you can find a different way to communicate. It helps if you can offer to pay for the counseling, at least initially, as that both makes you look like a good guy, and also end-runs any objection she might raise based on cost.

The other thing that a court can order is a Special Master (basically a court-appointed person to manage your case), but you really don’t want to go that route, as it can backfire if you get a biased Special Master, much like it seems that it did with the psychologist.

We also recommend the book They’re Your Kids Too: The Single Father’s Guide to Defending Your Fatherhood in a Broken Family Law System, which talks about co-parent counseling, along with other things like parental kidnapping and deflecting false allegations of abuse.


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Can I Get a Court Order to Have Someone Help Me and My Ex Communicate?
Article Name
Can I Get a Court Order to Have Someone Help Me and My Ex Communicate?
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My ex is verbally abusive, and narcissist, and it's impossible to communiate rationally with her. Can a court order someone to help us communicate?

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"