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As many people who have been through a divorce will tell you, it can be a very stressful and emotionally taxing time in your life, especially if there are children involved. Custody battles are often the worst part of most divorces, as each parent will use every tool in the book to discredit the other to ensure that they get as much time with their children as possible. One of the most common tools many people will use against their ex is by claiming that the other party is not fit to take care of a child.

In this article, we will talk about how poor mental health affects your chance to win a custody battle.

Why is the mental health of the parents so important to the judge and jury?
When it comes to the custody process, the court will prioritize the child’s well-being over anything else. If there’s anything that will affect that, the court will make their decisions based on what’s good for the child. For example, if one parent has a history of severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, the court may deem that they are a danger to the child. They will need to show that they have gone through therapy and are in the best condition to care for a child.

If a parent has had a history of abuse, they will be even less likely to get custody, if at all. Unless testimonials from family, friends, and neighbors (as well as evidence from medical professionals) point towards the contrary, the parent will only get supervised visitation sessions at best.

How are these cases fought?
However, you have to keep in mind that conversations between you and your therapist are confidential—or, in other words, “privileged.” This means that the therapist cannot share what you talked about in treatment without your express consent or a signed affidavit stating that you want that information to be used in court. The breaking of patient-therapist confidentiality is a serious concern, so it’s crucial that you protect your therapist’s best interests and reputation by making it clear that you allow that information to be shared in a public forum. Otherwise, your therapist will never put their career and reputation at risk by speaking about the therapy session in public.

How to choose an attorney for a custody battle when there’s mental illness involved
The first thing you need to look for when choosing an attorney is experience. You need to look for one that has worked with cases of this nature before. When matters of mental health are brought up during divorce proceedings, the case will become more complicated than if you and your spouse were just arguing over each other’s ability to raise your child. You have to prove that you are not a danger to the child and can provide them with the best possible future. This process has a lot to do with PR work, as you need to make the judge and jury think that you are willing to work through your condition to be a better parent for your child.

This is not something that an inexperienced lawyer can do, as they may overlook some human elements of the case. You can’t just focus on logic and regulations when it comes to mental illness, as you have to appeal to the emotional side of people as well. You have to make people believe that your child is more important than anything in the world. Your lawyer should focus their efforts on building that image for you in the eyes of the court.

If you’re looking for a professional lawyer to help you with your divorce case, Judith Goldberg’s Law Office is your best option. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

Judith Goldberg, Attorney & Mediator.   Connect With Judith

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