Parent Mental Health and Custody Cases

How Mental Health Affects Custody

Raising a child is a demanding and challenging endeavor. This can pose problems for parents who suffer from a mental illness. Because of this, parental mental health can affect custody. Many parents suffer from mental health disorders and are still great parents. But, in some cases, mental health issues can interfere with someone’s ability to parent, and so the judge will carefully consider parental mental health when deciding on custody.

New Jersey courts want to make a decision on custody that is in the best interests of the child. Granting a parent with mental health issues custody or parenting time doesn’t necessarily go against the child’s best interests. If the parent is still able to be an active and involved parent and does not put the child at risk of physical, emotional, or psychological harm, the mental health status of the parent might not bar him or her from getting custody. Custody cases can be complex, even more so when the mental health of a parent is an issue. But many mental health disorders are spectrum disorders or result in periodic rather than ongoing symptoms. This means a parent with a mental health disorder may still be able to be a good parent despite his or her disorder. When deciding on custody, the judge will consider:

  • Whether the parent with mental health issues is compliant with his or her treatment
  • Any history of hospitalization
  • The nature of the specific mental health issue the parent suffers from
  • The stability of the home environment
  • How the mental health issue may affect the parent’s ability to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs
  • The parent’s healthcare records
  • Recommendations from mental health professionals who’ve treated the parent
  • Reports or findings from any custody evaluator who has observed and talked to the parent

These are just a few of the factors that may affect a custody decision. You should speak with an experienced New Jersey custody attorney if you have questions about how parental mental health can affect your case. These types of cases can be very complex, and you may need help defending your rights. If your ability to be a good parent is in question, an attorney can help you obtain the records and recommendations from mental health professionals that may demonstrate this isn’t the case.

Do you have questions about custody? Williams Law Group, LLC can help you take the rights steps to ensure your rights are protected and that your child’s best interests are served. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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