Therapist for Custody & Visitation Issues

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Therapist for visitation evaluation?

Feb 2008

My ex-husband, who has battled drug addiction for the last several years, has recently claimed a year of sobriety and would like to be reunited with our four-year old son. He has not seen our son in two years (and his presence in his life has been sporadic, at best, since our son was 5 months old). Our son does not remember his father nor does he even think he has a daddy. My attorney suggested that I contact a mental health expert to evaulate the impact of him coming back into the picture and mediate the process. I got a list of therapists from my insurance, but wondered if anyone here has had a similar experience - and can recommend someone. I want to do the right thing by my son (if in fact my ex has managed to stay sober for a year and is sincere in building this relationship); I just don't know the best way to go about it. Anyway, I look forward to your thoughts...

I can highly recommend Dr. Mary Claire Heffron, (510) 428-3000. I don't have a similar situation but went to her for help understanding my 7 year old daughter's needs around custody arrangements. She very quickly ''got'' my daughter and was also able to get her comfortable and to open up very quickly. My daughter is usually very shy around those she doesn't know. I found Dr. Heffron from BPN - read the other recommendations for her in the archives. anon

Need a special master or parent coordinator

August 2006

I am in need of recommendation for a special master (or I have heard them also referred to as parent coordinators). My childrens' father and I are not in agreement as far as how to raise our kids, and we need a coach/referee, as well as someone to help us mediate decisions, custody schedules, and help us follow our child care arrangements. Ideally this person would also help us plan out our schedules and keep us both accountable to the plans we have made together. They would also help us settle disbutes when we can not do so ourselves (most of the time). I am hoping to find someone who will prioritize the childrens' needs in all of the decisions and plans. Thank you for any advice on finding this person!
frustrated parent

A clinical pyschologist colleague is very successful with families who are looking for this type of support. He has mediation experience, works with the Kids' Turn organization, and runs a counseling practice focused on helping people be the best parents they can be in the stressful circumstances of co-parenting.
Chandler Hoffman, PsyD 1736 Franklin Street, Ste. 350 Oakland, CA 94621 (510) 847-7917 chandlerhoffman[at]

Dr. Christine Pigeon is an incredible mediator with a gift for focusing parents on solving problems inherent in custody situations without putting the child in the middle. anon