Monday, September 28, 2015
Mental Health Privilege
There is a common belief for some reason that mental health records are always discoverable in a custody case. This is not the case. Rule 503 of the Mississippi Rules of evidence states that the records are not privileged related to custody. However, the records may not be relevant. The comments provide that under subsection (d)(4), when determining whether records are relevant to a custody, termination, or adoption action, some of the factors courts should consider include whether: (1) the treatment was recent enough to be relevant; (2) substantive independent evidence of serious impairment exists; (3) sufficient evidence is unavailable elsewhere; (4) court ordered evaluations are an inadequate substitute; and (5) given the severity of the alleged disorder, communications made in the course of treatment are likely to be relevant.