What Role Does a Parent’s Mental Health Play in New York Custody Decisions?

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Although many American adults suffer from some form of mental illness, this subject is something not many people openly discuss. As these issues are common, if you and your spouse are going through a divorce and custody battle, the subject of mental health can arise. That’s why it’s imperative to keep reading, as you should understand how these issues can impact your custody outcome. Additionally, you will learn why it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced Nassau County child custody lawyer to help guide you through this process.

How Does Mental Health Impact Custody?

It’s important to understand that mental illness is a stigmatized subject. As such, not everyone who struggles is unfit to be a parent. However, some may find that their struggles do interfere with their ability to parent and provide for their child. Because mental health looks different in every case, it’s essential to understand that the course must consider several factors related to a parent’s struggles. As such, they will consider the following:

  • The severity of the mental illness
  • Whether or not the parent is actively receiving treatment
  • The parents’ medical records
  • The frequency of episodes
  • The ability of the parent to meet the needs of the child
  • The ability of the parent to provide a stable environment for the child

It’s important to understand that the courts make custody decisions based on a standard called the “child’s best interest.” As such, they will prioritize the child’s health and safety over the parents’ wants and wishes. Just because a parent may have a mental illness does not mean the court will automatically bar them from receiving custody. So long as the parent is fit, the courts generally believe it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents.

What Should I Do if I Have Concerns About My Child’s Safety?

If you believe your ex-spouse is misrepresenting the severity of their mental illness to the court and you have concerns about your child’s physical, mental, or emotional health in their care, it’s important to understand the steps you can take to protect your child.

The most important thing you should do is connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Navigating these matters on your own can be incredibly complex, and one mistake may put your child in harm’s way. As such, allowing a family law attorney to handle these matters can help give you peace of mind that your concerns will be acknowledged.

When you need assistance, Barrows Levy PLLC is ready to help. We understand how complex these matters can be, which is why we will do everything in our power to help prioritize the best interest of your family. Connect with a member of our committed firm today during a free consultation to discuss your circumstances in further detail.

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