Children often find themselves caught up in the middle of divorce. Parents fight over custody and visitation, and sometimes they even try to use their children as pawns to get what they want out of property division. This is tragic and unacceptable. After all, the focus in these instances should be on the child’s best interests. Sadly, there are a lot of issues that can negatively impact a child’s best interests, including their health and safety.
When parental mental health issues impact child custody
One of those issues is mental health. Millions of Americans struggle with one or more mental health conditions. Most of these individuals are able to minimize or even eliminate the effects of their condition by taking medication and seeking out other forms of treatment. These individuals are probably able to appropriately care for their children, at least from a mental health standpoint.
But there are a fair number of parents out there who have untreated or undertreated mental health issues that pose a significant threat to their children’s well-being. These individuals might exhibit erratic behavior, turn to substance abuse as a way to self-medicate, and make poor decisions that could place their children in harm’s way.
Ensuring parental mental health problems don’t harm your child
If your child has been exposed to a parent’s mental health conditions and you believe that it’s harming your child, then you need to consider taking legal action to try to protect your child’s best interests. Under the law, you may be able to obtain access to your child’s other parent’s mental health records or get a court order for some sort of mental health evaluation. You can also speak with witnesses who may be able to attest to the behaviors that pose a threat to your child’s well-being.
These matters can present numerous legal challenges. That’s why it’s often wise to work closely with a skilled family law attorney who knows how to fight for your position and your child’s best interests.