Mental Illness Is Involved In A Divorce Or Custody Case

In custody cases, invariably there is a comment by one of the parties that the other parent is just “crazy.” Even if that is true, and the other parent is diagnosed with a mental illness, how exactly does that affect custodial rights?

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, mental illness is a medical condition that affects a person’s thinking, feelings, and abilities to cope with the demands of daily living. This definition covers a wide variety of conditions, ranging from mild depression to severe schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But the real question is, if a parent has mental illness, will the court grant them the majority of the parenting time with the child? Or if you are the one with the mental illness, will you be prohibited from keeping your child?

Mental Illness and the Custody Process

Some people manage their mental illness with medication, or therapy, or learn how to cope with their mental illness. For the person who decides not to use the conventional means and instead self medicates, then there is a problem. Essentially, no matter what your mental illness is, you can still have custody of your children if you are managing your illness.

The courts determine who gets custody of the children based on the best interests of the child. Of course, everyone believes that they are acting in their child’s best interest, no matter how bad the behavior may be. Stability is the number one factor in my opinion. If you are stable and provide a stable environment for your child, your mental illness (if managed) will not be used against you. If your mental illness has you leaving your child home alone, then that is a different story. The best interests of the child is the primary goal when the court is deciding what is in the best interest of your child.

Is it Mental Illness of the Stress of Divorce or Custody Battle?

Keep a record of the other parent’s behavior

Is an Order of Protection Necessary?

Mental Illness Alone Does Not Prevent Parenting Time

Get Professional Help if the Stress of Divorce or Custody is Causing Problems

The Role of the Divorce Attorney with a Mentally Ill Client

Your Mental Illness is Likely Affecting Your Child


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