In a contested child custody dispute, if one of the parents suffers from mental illness, it is a factor to be considered in the court’s custody decision. Many parents going through a custody battle suffer from conditions such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder or a personality disorder.
The statutory provision of Minn. Stat. Section 518.17 regarding mental illness provides for the court to consider “the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; except that a disability, as defined in section 363A.03, of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child, unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child.”
(Note: the aforementioned definition of “disability” is “any condition or characteristic that renders a person a disabled person. A disabled person is any person who (1) has a physical, sensory, or mental impairment which materially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.”)
If one parent (Parent A) suffers from mental illness, the question is whether the other parent (Parent B) holds a “trump card” as a result of first parent’s mental disorder. A case of untreated or unmanaged mental illness may place the parent (Parent A) at a disadvantage. It is important to note the difference, however, if a parent is managing their mental disorder. The issue is the child’s best interests, so if the mentally ill parent is managing their illness (with proper medication, following a caregiver’s recommendations, etc.) then it does not compromise the child’s best interests to be in the care of that parent, and may not provide the other parent (Parent B) with a “trump card.”
A parent suffering from mental illness is well-served to be candid about their condition. In most cases, the parent’s openness will cause the family court to consider the mental health issue in a light most favorable to the candid parent.
My husband has been addicted for 4 separate substances-Steroids, lortabs, xanex and adderall(adderall made him paranoid schizo). He has been to rehab 4x in 3 different states in a span of 5 years. He was not addicted to nor taking anything at the time we married. I believe his addictions stem from mental illness. My child and I left our home (we were separated for a year and half)because he hit me in front on my child. He broke in my house repeatedly to watch me sleep the next day following the abuse. His own mother called the police and he was standing in my house watching my son and I sleep. I got a protective order for my son and I prior to leaving the state to relocate on sudden notice. My 5 year old is Autistic. I am asking what chances he has of gaining any or joint custody. This took place in Alabama.
Will the courts authorize an evaluation of the parent in the case where the parent with Mental Illness absolutely refuses treatment and doesn’t think anything is wrong with them? The laws really suck because I am in a situation where my wife is completely delusional (visions, voices, multiple personalities etc). She doesn’t think anything is wrong with her and our family has tried for 5+ years to get her in to see anyone. She refuses and we can’t “make” her go. I am done and want a divorce but what are my options since I have a 14 yr old child at home? Can I get out with full custody since my wife has not been officially diagnosed?
Does a mother in a wheelchair have any more or less of a right to see her child than a mother with (treated) Severe Depressive Disorder? What about a blind mother? Or a deaf mother? Denying a depressed parent (ESPECIALLY a mother) the right to spend time with her kid does NOT improve the mindset of the depressed mother. Since my child was taken from me in late February I have had 3 suicide attempts. I never actively tried to kill myself when she was around. Isolation is bad bad news for a depressed individual; they already feel pretty worthless and when you take away the only thing that really matters to them it makes a shitty situation seem all the more helpless. Mental illness already carries a huge stigma in this country; just remember it’s like any other disability. It cannot be cured but it can be managed through treatment. I have a right to see the child I carried and delivered. I don’t deserve to have my illness compounded by ignorant people who do not understand what this condition does to a person. Medication only goes so far. But compassion and a kind word can make a bit of difference. The difference between going to bed and waking up kind of down or going to bed and never waking up because you downed a bottle of sleeping pills along with a bottle of wine. You would not tell a woman in a wheelchair to get up and “tough out” trying to walk, you would not try to make a blind woman see, you would not scream so loudly at a deaf woman that your own eardrums burst. A compassionate person would help the wheelchair-bound woman across the street, guide a blind woman, and communicate with the deaf woman as well as they are able. Why does a chronically depressed woman not get the same consideration?
Since my son was born I’ve had two attempted suicides due to major depressive disorder and post partum depression with added stress of my failing marriage. I am getting help through the state mental health services in WA. My husband has not been around since the birth. Can he use my mental illness against me?
i am a single mother of 3. i have a 19, 8 and almost 5 yr old. i work full time at a very good company for almost 8 yrs. my bills are paid, they may be a little late but they are paid! this is in regards to my two youngest. my kids are feed, clean and have clothes. they have their own rooms. my kids are in good schools (our district is in the top 10 of the our state). they are both smart and thriving in school. they both play soccer and my 8 yr old is in girl scouts. they have an amazing sitter and have been with her for 3 yrs. i do not drink, smoke or use drugs. i have no over night guests. we have lived in the same place for 5 yrs. i take the to all dr and dentist appts. (their father does not EVER go to any) i go to school functions, soccer practice and games and girls scout stuff too. he does not attend. i actually play and do stuff with them. not because i have to because i want to, i love them they are my world! they have chores, bedtimes, they are well loved and taken care of. he does not call them to check on them and even has had me watch over night his other son and his current gf’s kid OVERNIGHT! he has never once said anything about my parenting.
so all of the sudden, because i asked him to help with our daughters insurance for her school computer , its $30! he flipped out!!!!!!!!!!
he said i am unfit and a bad role model. he said i need to stop playing a victim and expecting everything to be handed to me! he also said because i am depressed and on medication, he is going to take them away! i take my medication the way it is prescribed and see my dr every 3 months! my medication is put up, they cant get to it and my depression has NEVER affected my parenting to them!
can he prove me unfit??????????????????
Based on what you have asserted in your message, no – he would be hard pressed to prove you unfit. Moreover, it sounds like he was venting, and not likely that he would actually pursue a legal action.