How Mental Illness Might Affect Child Custody Rights
Mental illness can impact anyone, often at unexpected times. Many people are able to recover from a mental illness with treatment, but unfortunately, not everyone is able to return to full independence. When child custody is decided by the court during a divorce case, one of the factors that are considered is the mental health of each parent. This is done in the best interests of the child to make sure the child grows up in a stable and safe environment.
Most people with a mental illness are not dangerous, but some may not be able to provide constant care a child needs. Try talking to an Oklahoma Family Lawyer if you have questions about your child custody rights.
Can Mental Illness Affect Child Custody?
Several factors go into deciding whether divorced parents should be given joint custody or one parent should receive exclusive custody. All of these factors serve to protect the child’s safety and well-being. For parents who do not receive full custody, they may still be granted visitation rights that allow them to see their children on the weekends or holidays.
Mental illness is one of the factors courts consider when determining child custody. This depends on the severity and longevity of the mental illness. Mild mental illness that does not interfere with a parent’s ability to raise the child will not likely jeopardize that parent’s custody rights. Whereas, a severe and chronic mental illness that prevents a parent from fully taking care of their own needs or the needs of others could lead to a loss of child custody. However, this parent might still be able to visit their child as long as there is no history of abuse to the child.
Abuse and neglect are strong factors that can prevent a parent from receiving child custody, regardless of whether mental illness is present or not.
When Mental Illness is Debilitating
Many people may be wondering what kinds of mental illnesses would be severe enough to warrant the removal of child custody rights. The truth is that this really depends more on whether the person has fully recovered from the mental illness and on how severe their symptoms are.
For example, psychosis is a class of mental disorders that can cause hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized behavior or speech. Severe psychosis can lead people with this illness to make risky decisions, neglect the needs of others, or forget to take care of others like their child. Delusions can lead some people to commit acts they would not normally commit due to paranoid beliefs. However, many people with psychosis are not dangerous and can often improve with proper treatment. The main issue would be whether the person can consistently remember to care for their child’s needs.
Divorce Attorney in Oklahoma
Dealing with a mental illness can be difficult for anyone trying to recover from this type of condition. Working with an Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer can help you figure out what your options are with child custody. Contact the Putnam Law Office at (405)-849-9149 for a consultation today. Mr. Putnam is an Oklahoma City, OK attorney who is dedicated to his clients.