Experience. Results. Compassion.

Child custody and parents’ mental health

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2023 | Blog, Child Custody & Parenting Time, Divorce, Family Law, Family Law Issues

Divorce is a challenging process, and when it involves children, the stakes are even higher. Often, parents want to spend as much time as they can with their children. Sometimes, they can reach agreements between them or with the help of counsel or a mediator.

A parent’s mental health impact on the child

Other times, parents are at odds with each other about what to do regarding custody, and the court gets involved to help lead the parties or decide for them. Where one parent has a mental illness, child custody matters can become complex.

The legal system in Denver and across the state of Colorado prioritizes the best interests of the child when thinking of child custody, while recognizing the critical importance of a parent’s mental well-being and the relationship between the children and their parents.

Rights of the parent and welfare of the child

When mental illness becomes a factor in a divorce case, the court aims to strike a delicate balance between the rights of the parent and the welfare of the child.

The court does this by initiating a thorough evaluation process to assess the severity of the mental health condition and its potential impact on the parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for their child or children.

Collaboration with special care

Colorado law encourages collaboration between parents, allowing both parties to negotiate and agree on child custody arrangements outside of court.

Parents can attempt this via mediation, settlement discussions between their attorneys or, most informally, between the parents themselves. However, when mental health issues are involved, the court must ensure that the final arrangements provide stability, safety, and emotional support for the children.

It is essential for parents facing mental health challenges to be proactive in seeking treatment and showing a commitment to their well-being, as well as a commitment to providing an adequate level of stability, emotional support, and consistency for the child or children involved.

The court is more likely to give less weight to a mental health concern if the parent can prove that they have their condition under control, have had it under control for a certain period, it has proven to be successful, and they have documentation and evidence to prove it.

Children’s well-being is essential and one of the most important aspects of any divorce involving children.

A parent suffering from untreated mental health can have a negative impact on a child’s life that can follow them for the rest of their lives, which is why the court places such importance in determining the safety of the child and the ability of the parents to properly provide for the child or children’s needs, not only in the short term but for the rest of their childhoods.