There are a few topics in life that are generally off-limits for people to ask about. Your mental health is one of them. It’s unlikely, however, that you’ll be able to keep your mental health to yourself if you find yourself fighting a child custody battle.
Mental health is one of many factors that your ex may bring up in trying to convince a judge that you shouldn’t have custody of your child. Learn more about the factors a judge is likely to weigh when rendering a decision in your case.
When might your mental health affect your custody?
There are a few different situations in which a judge may allow your mental health concerns to affect what they deem to be in your child’s best interests. They’ll want to ensure that:
- You are self-sufficient. The court may inquire if you need the assistance of others in handling everyday tasks. If so, then the judge may find you unsuitable to care for a child’s daily needs.
- Your condition is regulated or predictable. A judge may be leery to place a child in your custody if you experience intermittent aggressiveness or an inclination toward self-harm. The same logic may apply if your condition makes you likely to neglect your child’s basic needs.
Evidence of your participation in counseling or documentation showing that your medication keeps your emotions or behaviors regulated may convince a judge that you’re stable enough to retain custody.
Will I lose custody due to mental health concerns?
Your diagnosis with a mental health condition doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose custody — particularly if you have a common condition like depression or anxiety. No matter what your condition, the judge in your case will hear both sides of the conflict, so you do have the ability to present a different narrative to the court.
Maintaining or securing custody isn’t a right but instead a privilege. You’ll want to ensure that you paint a convincing picture for the judge that remaining in your care is in your child’s best interest despite the mental health struggles you’ve dealt with in the past.