Sometimes, marriages break up because one parent suffers from mental illness, which often manifest in behaviors that erode the relationship. Aggression toward a spouse or other family members, excessive spending putting a family at financial risk, or issues of addiction to drugs or alcohol may be related to a spouse’s struggle with mental health.
Custody When a Parent Suffers from Mental Illness
When a divorcing parent has concerns regarding the mental health of a spouse as it relates to the well-being of a child, a court will typically act to ensure that a child is safe from harm, that assets are protected, and that a plan is created for the parent in question to be evaluated and undergo treatment if child custody is to be determined.
- The child’s best interests are paramount in a custody decision. The court will act to protect the child, but also strive to safeguard the child’s and both parents’ rights to have a relationship.
- If one parent alleges that the other suffers from mental illness posing a risk to the child’s well-being, the court will typically order a mental health evaluation and enter an order limiting or prohibiting contact based on the recommendations.
- This might result in supervised visits for a period of time while a parent undergoes therapy, medication, or other recommended treatments as a condition of parenting time.
- If substance abuse is part of the illness, a court may order random drug testing as a condition of parenting time and perhaps graduation from a twelve step program followed by a new evaluation.
Contact an Experienced Child Custody Attorney for Help
If you are considering divorce and have concerns regarding the safety of your children because of a spouse’s mental illness, contact the Lake county family law office of Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC for immediate assistance at 847-680-4970.