This post summarizes Florida mental health informed consent rules for mental health providers.
Florida parents who divorce typically share parental responsibility. When they do, either may consent to mental health treatment for a child.
Each parent remains their child’s natural guardian. See Section 744.301(1), Florida Statutes. As summarized in the table below, mental health treatment providers generally may accept informed consent by only one parent to “mental health treatment.”
A mental health provider’s ability legally to accept informed consent from only one parent may differ from what may be in the child’s best interests. Moreover, a mental health provider’s accepting one parent’s consent — even when the provider can — doesn’t always protect the provider.
When parents disagree about initiating, continuing, or ending their child’s mental health treatment, they may cause the provider heartache.
For example, the provider may have to hire a lawyer and lose substantial time away from practicing to defend attacks in custody disputes.
And, the parent who didn’t consent may complain to the mental health provider’s regulating board.
Even more troubling, a child caught in the middle who needs mental health treatment may not get it timely or effectively.
In Collaborative Divorce, however, parents have alternatives. They may anticipate and reach agreements about their child’s mental health treatment.