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Name: In re Brittany C. et al
Case #: B223459
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 01/20/2011

Suspension of visitation until therapeutically recommended was not error where the minors were being emotionally damaged by the visits. The four youngest minors in this dependency case all expressed a desire to not have to visit mother. There had been repeated problems with visitation with both mother and father including confrontations which required the visits to terminate. DCFS reported that the trauma regarding visitation had caused emotional distress to the minors, and requested that the court suspend visitation, leaving future visitation in the hands of the treating therapists. The therapists recommended that the children remain in individual therapy until such time as the therapists recommended that conjoint counseling could occur. The court suspended visitation, set a hearing in three months, and asked for written reports on when therapeutic visitation and conjoint counseling could begin. Parents appealed the order, contending that the effect of the order was to deny them visitation. The appellate court rejected the argument. The visitation order must be viewed in the context of the family dynamics. The court has the power to suspend visits when continuing them would be harmful to the minors’ well-being. It was not improper for the court to consider the recommendations of the therapist and the desires of the children before attempting a visitation plan.