Can My Mental Health History Effect My Child Custody Case?

Divorce and mental health

When dealing with any case involving minor children, parents can become aggressive, protective, and callous. Parents may bring up any evidence they can find to aid their own situation and hinder the time split with the other parent. Such evidence may even include a parent’s mental health history. If you are involved in a child custody dispute, employ an experienced and aggressive Florida Child Custody Attorney to ensure your rights to your child are protected.

When considering any child custody dispute, the court will always look to discern what is in the child’s best interest. In order to determine the child’s best interest, the Florida legislatures provided a list of factors for the court to weigh but did not limit them to these 20 plus items. In fact, the courts are able to consider anything that they deem relevant in their determination of the child’s best interest. However, some of the statutory factors the court does look to, include: “the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required; the anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation…; the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent; the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity…; the moral fitness of the parents;… The home, school, and community record of the child…; Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect…;” and finally the court may consider “the mental and physical health of the parents.”

It is clear that mental health of a parent is only one of the numerous factors considered in a child custody dispute, therefore a mental health diagnosis does not automatically remove you from being able to parent your child. However, if your mental health is brought under speculation by your former partner, it will be important to combat this attack with evidence displaying how this diagnosis does not affect your parenting or your child.

For instance, the court may want to be presented with information regarding your treatment or specific diagnosis. The court would like to see that you are taking proactive measures to ensure you are properly taken care of, just as if you had a physical ailment. Being able to show proper care for yourself, allows the court to draw connections to the care you may extend to your child. Some individuals have their medical physician testify on their behalf regarding their treatment and involvement with the child and the type of condition the parent deals with and how it is handled medically between the patient and doctor. If the court is unable to draw any correlation between your mental illness and your inability to parent, such a diagnosis will have no effect on your parenting plan. However, if evidence is presented that your mental health has placed the child in danger or could result in harm to the child, the court may take certain precautions to protect the child. This may include implementing supervised visits or mandatory treatment for the parent into the court’s order.

If you are in a child custody dispute where you feel your mental health history may be used against you in regards to parenting your child, employ the skills of a Florida Child Custody Attorney. We will be able to present to the judge the full picture of your parental abilities and how your mental health is only one factor that does not hinder your ability to love and parent your child.

Speaking to an attorney at our Florida office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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