Roxanne Permesly - Sarasota therapist and counselor specializing in individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling and therapy, as well as family court services for parents and children
Roxanne Permesly - Counselor and Therapist in Sarasota Florida

Family Court Services for Parents & Children

  • Parenting plan development
  • Parenting coordination
  • Parenting assessments
  • Family reunification and contact issues
  • Social investigation
  • Consultation to counsel
  • Case review and recommendations
  • Trained Collaborative Family Law Professional

Whether a family is dealing with adoption, divorce, or reunification, court involvement is part of the process.  As well, on some occasions a specific incident brings the family into the legal process.  Allegations or charges must be addressed.  It is important that the issues and dynamics within the family, as a whole, and each individual are valued and assessed. 

Changes in a family create questions, concerns, and new issues to address. 
A family may come to the office for an independent assessment or consultation. Families want to handle these matters well, and may seek direction.  Knowledge of the party’s mental health and psychological well-being becomes relevant.   The disruption caused and the anxiety which builds requires some direction and guidance so that a positive outcome, both emotionally and legally, may be possible.
The professional is often asked to assess the level of functioning of the parties and to make appropriate recommendations for the court’s consideration.  The professional may work as a representative of the court serving as an independent fact-finder or as an expert witness for one of the attorneys discussing a particular area of concern. A review of the records, a series of interviews and collateral contacts with professionals involved, and a series of assessments and inventories, and a review of the literature will result in a written report which outlines the diagnosis, treatment, and recommendations. 

Children need guidance and need protection. 
The court may seek the assistance of the mental health professional to determine the specific needs or “best interest” of the child during the divorce proceedings and following the dissolution of the marriage.  And, subsequent changes in the family again bring the focus to adjustment and emotional well being.  (This material may be viewed at  )

Changes have been made in the Florida Statutes which requires each family to address the specific needs of its own situation.  “Primary residential parent” and “visitation,” both considered to be dismissive have been replaced by “parenting time”.   And decision making and long range planning are addressed.  A family is required to complete a parenting plan to be filed with the court as part of the settlement agreement.  The concern is that children’s needs are carefully assessed and considered as a separate, and most important, piece of the separations of the household.  Parents can work together, with the assistance of a professional to draft this plan making accommodations for the ages and long-term developmental needs of the respective children.  While parents may divide assets and households, they must share and mutually-raise their children.

As a parent moves forward in the legal process, it may be recommended that a parenting assessment is completed.  This assessment will outline the strengths and weaknesses of that parent and the quality of the parent-child relationship. Suggestions and recommendations will be included to assist the parent and counsel.  Many parents wish to improve their skills to better provide for the child’s care and seek such information as a resource.

A social investigation may be required.  It is important to understand each parent’s ability and availability to provide guidance and direction for the children when there is a rupture in the family unit.  This becomes of significant importance in high-conflict families or litigious cases.  Specific guidelines are outlined by Statute for consideration and specific training for the professional is required.  Individual assessments of each family member are required.  Each parent is observed with the children and others knowledgeable of the family are contacted. A report of the findings and a recommended parenting plan are completed.  The final report may be useful in the mediation and settlement conference or may be presented to the court for its consideration in rendering a decision regarding the best interest of the children. Often matters of abuse, alienation, or addiction must be addressed so that safety and remediation are included in the parenting plan.

The divorce itself does not end the task of parenting together.  Some parents move in to this with ease, putting their concern for the children at the forefront.  Others need continued education, guidance, and direction to focus on such tasks.  A parenting coordinator may be assigned to the family.  This professional will assure compliance to the parenting plan and educate the parties as to the effects of unresolved conflict and discord.

If there have been disruptions in the relationship between a parent and child, it may be necessary to develop a plan for re-introduction or reunification. With the involvement of a clinician supervised sessions and supervised visits can move into structured time together.

Even a pleasant addition by way of adoption or the creation of a blended family through a remarriage, may put strains on the individual members. The legal system may outline the procedure, but the process becomes the task of the family.