How Does Mental Health Impact a Child Custody Dispute?

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Whenever the parents of a child or children decide that they are going to part ways, the question of child custody often arises. It can be difficult enough negotiating your child custody arrangement, but when one parent has a mental health issue that may prevent them from being able to care for their children, it can be all the more challenging. It could take a more straightforward divorce and turn it into a contested divorce.

Below, we discuss the different types of custody plans your family may choose and how the mental health of a parent can impact your agreement.

Your PA child custody lawyer can help you either demonstrate to the courts that your child’s other parent has a mental health issue that is a concern, or show that if you are the parent with a mental health condition, that you are in fact able to care for your children.

A Diminished Capacity to Care for the Children

If a marriage or relationship has broken down and one parent is struggling with their mental health, it can often have a significant impact on your child custody dispute. It isn’t the fact that one parent has a mental health condition, but rather the question of whether or not their condition is going to prevent them from being able to adequately care for their child(ren).

For example, a parent who is plagued by alcoholism and refuses to seek treatment may be found unfit to care for their child, particularly if they have a history of their alcoholism impacting their life and their child’s life in a negative way.

They may have been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol, public intoxication,or being drunk and disorderly, or perhaps they lost numerous positions at work due to the influence of their alcoholism.

In any case, the parent who is not dealing with a mental health issue will need to demonstrate to the courts that the other parent’s mental health condition will either put the child in harm’s way or influence them negatively.

Possible Outcomes in Your Case

If you’re unable to resolve your child custody dispute after going through mediation, it will be up to the judge to review the details of your case to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interests of your child(ren).

Let’s continue with the previous example. If the parent with alcoholism agrees to seek treatment, completes their treatment, and then remains sober, the courts may find that a joint custody agreement is what is best for the children.

Conversely, if the alcoholic parent refuses treatment or has a history of relapses, the courts may find that the parent should only be allowed to see their children under supervision.

There are a number of different mental health issues a parent might be struggling with, but getting the help they need to get their condition under control so that it won’t harm their children is the best way to ensure that mental health issues don’t prevent a parent from having a positive relationship with their children.

Get Help from a PA Child Custody Lawyer

If the issue of mental health has come up in your child custody dispute and you want to ensure that your children’s best interests are the number one priority, reach out to an experienced PA child custody lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Our firm will work rigorously to build you a powerful and compelling case to help protect your children’s well-being. You can give our office a call at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529) or complete the convenient contact form we’ve provided below to schedule your initial consultation today.