Parents with mental health conditions and child custody

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Custody, Divorce, Family Law |

Divorce is a challenging journey, especially when children are involved. It is not uncommon for one or both parents to struggle with mental health issues.

One out of every five Americans lives with a mental illness. That is a significant portion of the population and many of those people are parents who parent their children.

The best interests of the child

The court will always prioritize the best interests of the child. To do that, it uses a list of factors to determine where the child should be based on what the court thinks is in their best interest.

Judges want to ensure that a child is cared for physically, mentally and emotionally. If a parent is able to manage their mental health issues and the issues do not impact the parent’s ability to care for their child, the mental health matter may not be of any concern to the court.

If, however, the parent is obviously struggling, refuses to acknowledge a suspected mental illness, or refuses help, the court may make a determination that restricts that parent’s time with the child.

Of course, even in those cases, if the parent is able to stabilize themselves and show the court that they are now under medical care, adhering to medical treatment and trying hard to get more time with their child, that parent can file a motion at any time to change the amount of time they get with their child.

The role of the court

The role of the court is not to take kids away from their parents but rather to protect them. Divorce is difficult for everyone and parenting after divorce may look significantly different post-divorce than before the divorce, when both parents were, in most cases, living together and raising the children together.

Remember that having qualified, competent counsel is extremely important and one of the most critical aspects you should consider if you struggle with mental illness and have a case to make.

We work on these cases all the time and understand the difficulties that come with emotional challenges. You deserve compassionate care and support, not judgment, during this challenging time.