Are you asking yourself, “Can I lose custody for depression and anxiety?”

Although it can be difficult to deal with depression and/or anxiety, you should know that you won’t automatically lose custody of your child just because you are dealing with this mood disorder.

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However, there may be steps you need to take to ensure that your child is safe from harm.

You should also understand that a judge will likely want to protect any child from the adverse effects of depression and anxiety, which could include putting the child in temporary or permanent custody with a relative or other family friend.

 

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Who Decides Custody?

Can I Lose Custody For Depression And Anxiety
Can I Lose Custody For Depression And Anxiety

Once the divorce has been filed and the process has begun, child custody will be decided by a family court judge.

The court will take into consideration the best interest of the child and decide which parent should have custody or whether the parents should share custody with joint custody.

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What Are the Best Interests of the Child?

The term” best interest of the child” means that a judge must look at what is best for a child in any decision affecting them.

While this term is often used in determining child custody cases, it is also used when deciding on issues like education, discipline, and health care.

What Factors Does a Judge Consider First?

A judge will first consider whether both parents are willing to make decisions together about their children’s lives, such as where they go to school and how medical care is handled.

If both parents are willing to do that, it will likely result in them having joint custody of their children.

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Can I Lose Custody For Depression And Anxiety

It is not difficult to imagine someone being concerned about a parent’s mental health issues.

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As a result, a judge may have some concerns when a parent is suffering from depression and anxiety.

However, what would take the situation from one where there are concerns to one where the parent might lose custody of their child?

 

It would be unusual for someone to lose custody of their child simply because they have depression or anxiety.

As you might expect, there are situations that could arise where the parent’s condition does have an impact on their ability to care for their child.

When this happens, the court will likely look into matters further before making any decisions.

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It is important that parents understand that there is a difference between having depression and anxiety and being unable to care for your child.

Your ability to provide care can be impacted by your mental health condition if the condition begins to interfere with your life and relationships.

If it appears as if this is happening, the other parent may choose to file a motion with the court to modify your parenting plan in order to obtain more parenting time or even full legal and physical custody.

The courts will not remove children from home because the parent has a mental health diagnosis.

You are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA covers mental health disorders, so long as certain criteria are met.

The ADA covers persons with a disability that substantially limits a major life activity, such as parenting.

If you can show the court that you have been treated for depression and anxiety, that you work with your treating physician to manage your symptoms, and that you are able to provide a safe and healthy environment for your children, you should not be denied custody of your children.

If you are suffering from depression and anxiety, it is important that you work with your doctors and therapists to ensure that your symptoms are under control as much as possible.

 

Will I Get to See My Kids?

The short answer to this question is—it depends.

There are multiple factors that courts may consider in determining custody matters, including a parent’s mental health.

However, even if a court finds that a parent suffers from depression or anxiety, a court will likely not find that it is grounds for prohibiting the parent from seeing his or her children.

In some situations, however, mental health issues can be used to determine child custody.

For example, if a parent is so emotionally unstable that he or she cannot provide for the basic needs of the child (such as food, clothing, and shelter), then it could affect their ability to have custody.

If a court finds that a parent’s mental illness could endanger their children (such as causing severe emotional distress or physical harm), then it could also affect their ability to have custody.

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How Do I Prove My Parenting Skills?

Whether you are seeking custody of or seeking to retain custody of your child, you need to prove that your parenting skills warrant the court’s decision.

There are a few common mistakes that parents make when trying to convince the court that they should be granted custody.

One of the most common mistakes is assuming that your parenting skills will be obvious to the court and therefore, do not need to be proven.

This is a mistake because the court has many factors to consider when deciding which parent should have custody.

Your skill as a parent is only one of those factors. The other factors may include:

  • The age of the child
  • The stability of each parent
  • The accessibility of schools and activities for the child in each parent’s location
  • Whether either parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence
  • Whether either parent has criminal convictions

If your spouse is seeking custody, it is almost guaranteed that he or she will have evidence to try to show you in a bad light as a parent.

Therefore, it is important for you to gather evidence showing your good parenting skills.

What Is a Guardian Ad Litem or GAL?

Can I Lose Custody For Depression And Anxiety
Can I Lose Custody For Depression And Anxiety

The term “guardian ad litem” (GAL) refers to the person who represents a child in custody litigation.

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The GAL is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interests.

That’s different from representing the child himself or herself, which would be a violation of the child’s right to due process.

The GAL takes on a variety of roles in custody litigation. In divorce cases, for example, the GAL might interview both parents and other family members, such as grandparents or older siblings, who have regular contact with the children.

The role of the GAL generally isn’t limited to interviewing people; he or she can also review medical records, school reports, and other documents that are relevant to helping the court make decisions about custody and parenting time.

Does Depression Affect Child Custody?

Many depressed or anxious parents retain custody of their children. The severity of your depression or anxiety symptoms will determine whether you lose custody. For example, if sadness or anxiety prevents you from leaving the house to take your children to school, the judge may order custody to be changed.

Can Borderline Personality Disorder Affect Custody?

When someone with BPD is going through a stressful life event, these symptoms are typically exacerbated. Your partner with BPD may have difficulties exercising sound judgment and behaving reasonably as a result of the stress of divorce and a child custody dispute.

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Can Bipolar Parents Have Custody?

You may, however, be concerned about your child's safety and well-being while in the care of a parent who is suffering from a mental illness. If you are concerned about your kid's safety during your divorce, you may be able to seek a temporary child custody order that will last for the duration of the divorce process.

How Does Mental Illness Affect Parenting?

Children with a parent who suffers from a mental illness are more likely to experience social, emotional, and/or behavioral issues. A child's risk is exacerbated by an inconsistent and unpredictable home environment, which is common in households when one parent suffers from mental illness.

Can The Police Return My Child?

If they don't, the police have the authority to return the kid to its mother, who is the only caregiver. If they do have parental responsibility, however, the police will be unable to locate the kid since they are forbidden from choosing between parents.

Can Social Services Take My Child If I Have Anxiety?

Social services will only place a baby in your care if they feel you, or your partner, can securely care for them (because of a mental health problem or for any other reason).

Are fathers entitled to 50/50 custody?

When parents reach an agreement, 50/50 custody is usual, and it can also be imposed by a court following a trial, if necessary.

 

How Does a Guardian Ad Litem Get Involved?

A judge appoints a guardian ad litem when he or she thinks it’s necessary.

For example, sometimes there are allegations of abuse against one parent, and the GAL can investigate and make recommendations to the court on custody rights.

A GAL can also be appointed if there are allegations that one parent is unfit due to drug use, alcohol abuse, or mental illness.

A GAL may get involved if parents can’t agree on a custody schedule or if they disagree on what’s in their child’s best interest.

A court might also appoint a GAL when it’s in doubt about whether to award joint custody or sole custody to one parent.

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In Conclusion

When it comes to child custody cases, mental illness is of particular concern. It can determine the outcome of a custody battle.

 A mother or father who has depression or anxiety may not be able to care for their children as well as they used to, especially if they are depressed or suffering from chronic stress. The court will notice and make decisions accordingly.

If you are struggling with depression or anxiety and still have children, consider whether you can be a good custodial parent while also seeking assistance for your mental health.

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