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What you need to know about mental health and child custody

| Jan 8, 2021 | Child Custody |

Most people recognize that there are a few things that you should never ask others about and that their health is one such topic. Parents who find themselves negotiating over child custody may not have the luxury of keeping such information private, though.

A parent’s mental health may become center stage and shape how a judge rules on custody in a case. 

How your mental health can impact your child custody rights

You should know that a family law judge’s primary objective is to make custody decisions that they believe are in the best interest of your child. A judge will likely be unwilling to award you custody of your child if they suspect that your mental health problems may make you unable to make your child’s welfare, health or safety as a priority. 

If a judge has a reason to believe that your mental health issues are severe enough that you may aggressively lash out or engage in self-harm, then they too may determine that you’re unfit to raise your child. The likelihood that your mental health will affect your custody case increases if you’ve ever been hospitalized for mental issues or are unable to live independently. 

Your mental health concerns are not a complete barrier to child custody

While you may think that your prospects of securing custody of your child are low if you have a mental illness, that’s not necessarily the case. It can help your case if you have medical records showing how the mental health counseling you receive or the medication you take significantly improves your condition. Pointing out that you don’t have a history of abusing your child can also enhance your case. 

And, some mental health conditions are common enough that they’re well understood. If you suffer from occasional depression, for example, that may not impact your custody case at all. Even with severe mental health issues, you may still be awarded visitation rights.

It’s not uncommon for parents who received mental health diagnoses to hide their condition out of fear of it impacting their custody case. A child custody attorney will 

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View the profile of Illinois Family Law Attorney Alex Fawell
DCBA | DuPAGE County Bar Association Member
Lead Counsel Rated Attorney