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FAQ 3 about Waiver of Mental Health Privilege & Maryland Divorce

By Lindsay Parvis


Mental Health Privilege & Maryland Divorce Blog Law Series – Part 9

FAQ 3 about Waiver of Mental Health Privilege & Maryland Divorce:
How does geography come into play?

This is a juicy question.  Why?  Because it’s not developed in our appellate case law.

Let’s start with what I mean by geography:  where the mental health provider is located.

This is easily an issue when:

  • Either
    • A Maryland resident works in or lives near/on the border of DC, Northern VA, WVA, DE, or PATheir mental health provider is located outside of Maryland
    • The provider is not licensed in Maryland
  • Or
    • An out of state litigant receives mental health services in their home state

Next, let’s look at what Maryland privilege statutes have to say:

  • §9-109 applies to:
    • Psychologists licensed in Maryland
    • Psychiatrist who are licensed but does not say in Maryland
  • §9-109.1 applies to:
    • Professional counselors certified, licensed or exempted from licensure under Maryland law
    • Psychiatric-mental health nursing specialists, who may or may not be licensed in Maryland
  • §9-121 applies to:
    • Social workers licensed and certified in Maryland

So, where does that leave privilege?

I’m aware of no appellate case law or statute that tells us.  Which leaves logic (which may or may not apply in court).  Logic tells me that if the provider falls into the statutory categories with similar qualifications, then privilege should apply.

How to know?

  • A written stipulation agreed to by all parties
  • A motion in limine, which can be filed to affirm admissibility of evidence

Definitely a topic that requires thought & strategy, to avoid surprises at trial.

About The Author

Lindsay Parvis

“Informed decisions lead to empowered action. I make complex information & advice understandable & manageable. So my clients can focus on what matters most… their family & building a better future.”

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