HUGS' Counselors Do NOT Evaluate Custody Cases and cannot make any recommendations on custody.
We may elect to see children whose parents are in the process of custody litigation. Due to the sensitive nature of divorce and all potential issues that may arise in such cases, we have very specific policies to which you MUST agree before we enter a counseling relationship.
1. Provided all proceedings have come to a close, we require a copy of the current, standing court order demonstrating custodial rights of each parent and/or the parenting agreement that is signed by both parents and the judge. We will need to have contact with the parent who has legal custodial decision-making for medical issues before we see the child for counseling, and will need to obtain written consent for the child to participate in counseling from the legal custodian(s) We prefer to have contact with both parents prior to seeing the child.
2. We ask all clients to waive their right to subpoena our counselors to testify in court. This policy is set in order that we can preserve the efficacy and integrity of the therapeutic process and relationship with you and/or your child. It is our experience that a counselor's appearance in court often damages the therapist-client relationship, and it is our ethical duty to make every reasonable effort to promote the welfare, autonomy and best interests of our clients. By signing this agreement, you waive the right to subpoena a HUGS' counselor and client records. If you prefer, we will recommend a referral to a therapist(s) who are willing to appear in court.
3. In the event that we are subpoenaed to appear in court despite this waiver-whether we testify or not - we charge the full standard Court Related fee. A retainer of $1,000 is billed and drawn on during the court process. Professional time is billed at $250 an hour. All time dedicated to any court-mandated appearance including but not limited to: preparing documentation, discussions with lawyers and/or a guardian ad litem, affidavits, depositions, wait time spent at the court house, time on the stand, and travel will be billed at $250 per hour. Food and lodging will be billed if expenses are incurred in relationship to the court case.
I understand these policies and I, and any of my representatives now and in the future, hereby waive any and all rights to subpoena Andrea M. Epting or any of HUGS' Clinical Volunteers, Student Interns, Counselors. Clinicians, Supervisors, or Directors, within the HUGS' organization.