Can a counselor release mental health records to courts in a custody & divorce case without a signature?

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My daughter did not sign for her records to be released to the court. The counselor said she was subpeoned to court but thought it would be better to just submit records instead of appearing. Could she release these records to the court without my daughter’s signature? We are in Ohio.
She is an LPC. I think she’s a licensed something or other.
I have no idea if she would sue this person, but I just didn’t think you could release records even to court without a signature. You trust professional people to do the right thing by you. I just don’t want her to not go to a counselor if she feels she may need help because of fear of information not being secure.

Of course, since the court wanted the information my daughter would have needed to sign for them to be released, but she would have known they were released if she had signed for them to be released.

thanks. just wondering about our laws.

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3 Responses to Can a counselor release mental health records to courts in a custody & divorce case without a signature?

  1. Crazybird says:

    Everytime you go anywhere anymore….you sign your life away without realizing it. They have also made it to where if you don’t comply….you don’t get it. I don’t care if it’s as something as a shopping card at a store to legal deals in which it’s cheaper to admit to something you didn’t do to just paying the fee and not bankrupting your family to fight it.

    Not to mention….supposide "private" records are basicly "public" when you read the fine print.

    I mean look at the dude bankrupting a business and a family over PANTS!!!!!! Win or loose….the poor family will be bankrupt and didn’t break the law. What constitutes "winning" anymore? Broke and right?

  2. reefmedic79 says:

    That sounds like a blatant HIPPA violation, but what kind of counselor is it? If it was a State case worker then she is a ward of the court anyhow and can release all the records on your daughters case.

    BTW, the judge ordered the guy with the pants to pay for the cleaners court costs.

    If the "court orders" them released they have to be released, there are ways of preventing the court from getting them, but would probably require a lawyer on your part to attempt them from being released. I do think you have some recourse though if the Counselor voluntarily turns them over for one reason or another.

    It would help to know what the case is about, and how/why your daughter is involved and why her counselor is involved.

  3. Tracy says:

    The laws regarding confidentiality can be complicated, but in general mental health records cannot be released unless 1). a release of information is signed by the client, or guardian; 2). there is a court order to release the records; 3). there is an identified threat of suicide or homicide; or 4). suspicion of child or elder abuse. However, in a custody/divorce case, frequently evaluations are made by mental health professionals for the express purpose of making the judge aware of the dynamics in the family, and to make recommendations for custody. If such an evaluation was done with your family, you should have been made aware of its purpose from the beginning.

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