Question: A judge issues a gag order instructing both parties not to discuss the divorce near, around or to our children. It has been discovered that the mother told the child therapist about a “girlfriend” that I supposedly have. The therapist questioned my oldest son concerning the matter. Did she violate the gag order by using a third party to communicate this information via a professional?
Answer: Whether or not ordered by a judge, discussing the divorce issues in front of, or with, the children is seldom advisable and often viewed by courts and child custody experts as inappropriate. Whether a party has violated a court order, such a an order to not involve the children in the divorce issues, will depend upon the exact terms of the court order, the conduct of the party, and any good-faith reason for the conduct. If your son is seeing a therapist for treatment of emotional or behavioral issues, the divorce and the conduct of his parents and other involved adults may be appropriate issues for the therapist to discuss with your son. The details of the court order and the context for your son’s therapy would have to be reviewed by an attorney experienced with custody issues. You should discuss the issue with your current attorney or, if you are not represented by counsel, your should review the terms of the court orders and issues with a qualified domestic litigation firm such as Cordell & Cordell.
Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.
Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues.