Schwartz v. Schwartz | EZ Justice, PLC

Analysis: Schwartz

Facts:

The children’s therapist testified in a show cause hearing (in which the father tried to establish the mother was in contempt for violating a prior court order). The therapist said that the mother denigrated the father in front of the children. Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Thatcher found the mother to be in contempt, largely on the basis of this testimony.

Ruling:

Virginia Code Section 20-124.3.1 prohibits testimony concerning a parent by a therapist for anyone (parent or child) without consent of both parents, in a case involving custody or visitation.

Comment of Olivier Long:

Would the result have been different if the father had called the therapist to the witness stand only to talk about the best interest of the child, and not about conduct of the mother? Such testimony might be allowed in a custody or visitation hearing, but it would not be relevant to a hearing for the purpose of establishing the mother had violated a court order by criticizing the father in front of the children.