Miss Advised

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’m getting divorced from my husband who is a no good son of a bitch and deserves to rot in hell, but that’s besides the point.  Anyways, the bastard is refusing to pay for my youngest daughter’s therapy because he says I’m the reason she needs therapy. I’m so committed to getting her in therapy that I’m going to drop the bastard from my health insurance, car insurance and anything else that’s under my name, and I’ll use the money I save on those things for therapy (my attorney said it’s ok).  So the question is, what type of a therapist do I send my daughter who is 9 (and not listening) to?

ANSWER

Let me start from the top and work my way down.  You never told me which state you live in, but your language (and attitude) sounds familiar, so I’m going to guess you’re from the land on the other side of the Hudson River. Presuming I’m correct and you live in NJ, you need to know that you have been misinformed and you may not drop your husband from anything he currently receives as a result of impending divorce.  It doesn’t matter what he’s done to provoke it or what bills he’s not paying.  Legally, you’ll be in deep shit.  This morning I spoke with Mr. Richard Wiener, an attorney practicing in the Garden State, and here’s what he had to say on the matter: "... both parties are obligated to maintain the status quo of all debt, obligations and liabilities incurred during the marriage to extent possible. If he is refusing to pay for the therapy, you must immediately file a court motion and get a Judge to order him to pay. By the same token, he can get a similar order."

Now that we got the pesky legal issues out of the way, let’s discuss your question:  You need a therapist who will require at least you and ideally you and your soon-to-be ex-husband to participate in Parent Coaching. Any shrink who agrees to work with your kid without her parents is not one that I’d ever refer to, and here’s why:  Kids are almost always the product of their environment (unless you are a friend of mine who has children or you are related to me and have children, in which case your child's problems have nothing to do with you). I’ve been practicing for 16+ years and I’ve never met a kid whose issues I couldn’t trace back to what’s going on (or what’s not going on) in the home.  If you don’t change what’s going on in the home, working with the child is virtually pointless.  I have a great behaviorist in New Jersey who I’m happy to refer you to.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Bi.