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Can you win child custody if you have a mental health issue?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Divorce, Family Law

Child custody frequently involves heated discussions in the divorce process. During their battle for custody, one parent might use the mental health status of their spouse to gain favor. If you are a parent struggling with mental illness, this situation could put you at a disadvantage. Even so, it is essential to note that mental health is not the only consideration for child custody. Winning custody might be challenging, but it is possible.

How the court considers a parent’s mental illness

The court puts a premium on the child’s well-being, health and safety. The judge would evaluate your mental state to see if you can still provide a stable environment for the child amidst your condition.

  • Severity of your mental illness: If your condition causes you to neglect your child or pose harm to them.
  • Adherence to medical treatment: If you are receiving treatment or willing to seek professional help.
  • Potential to worsen: If there are chances of your condition worsening.
  • Awareness of child: If your child is old enough to understand your condition and its effects on their development.

When presenting your case to the court, it is crucial to highlight your capacity for effective parenting. Your eagerness to improve could also persuade the judge that you can provide a stable environment for your child. Your positive relationship with your child and active involvement in your child’s life could also strengthen your case.

Losing custody does not mean losing your parental rights

Fighting for custody is challenging, more so if you have a mental illness. According to studies, about 70-80% of parents with mental health issues lose custody over their child.

When things are not going your way, there are other ways to preserve and strengthen your relationship with your child. Your child might not permanently live with you, but you can continue your involvement in their life. You can discuss parenting arrangements that are beneficial for the whole family. You and your spouse could collaborate to provide a thriving environment for your child even if you have separated.

Mental health challenges should not disqualify someone from being a loving parent. Parents should focus on what they can offer to protect and foster their child’s development. If you are a parent with mental health conditions, know that you have a right towards your child. In this complex battle, it would be beneficial to seek the support of an experienced family lawyer who can advocate for your rights with compassion and determination.