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Divorce and parental mental health

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Blog, Child Custody & Support, Divorce & High Asset Divorce, Family Law |

Divorce is difficult, especially when children are involved. One common question that often comes up is who the kids will live with.

Sometimes, one parent alleges that the other parent would struggle to raise the kids on their own because of mental illness and asks the court for full custody.

So what’s a parent to do?

Let’s assume you are the parent who has the mental illness. First, allow me to reassure you by sharing with you that one in five Americans lives with a mental illness.

That’s a big, big number of people in the country, and courts know it.

If the parents are looking to the court for decisions about custody, the judge will take into consideration many factors, including the mental health of the parents, to determine the best interests of the child.

Courts want to make sure the child is safe and cared for. A parent’s mental illness does not automatically mean they cannot have custody, but it is something the court will look at closely.

The judge will look at:

  • The mental condition’s impact on parenting ability
  • Professional evaluations and opinions
  • The child’s well-being
  • The parent’s behavior

Essentially, the court needs to make sure that if a parent has a mental health condition, they are under treatment, the condition is under control and it does not affect their ability to parent.

Of course, the court will want objective opinions to answer that question, so it may ask the parent if they can reach out to their doctor and see their medical records.

They may ask the doctor for their opinion.

In conclusion, can mental health be an issue?

Yes, but it is not the only thing the court looks at. The judge will look at the entire picture to decide what is best for the child.

Even if the court decides the child should live with the other parent, it is very likely that the parent who has the mental health condition will visit and communicate with them.

If you are going through something like this, it is crucial to seek legal advice and advocacy. An appropriate strategy is critical where the other parent may act in a way that is not in good faith, which happens often. With the right resources and knowledge, a parent and their legal team can work together to work with the court to find a solution that works for everyone.

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