Michigan family law: Mental health can affect child custody

Michigan family law: Mental health can affect child custody

Millions of Americans suffer from some level of mental illness. With treatment, it is possible for many of them to live relatively normal lives. One fear that some individuals struggling with mental health issues have is losing custody of their children if their marriages fall apart. Thankfully, whether they live in Michigan or elsewhere, family law courts will not deny custody simply based on a history of mental illness.

There are various mental illnesses that can be controlled with medication and therapy. Unfortunately, quite a few people try to avoid seeking treatment, as they believe that asking for help will give the state or their soon-to-be exes the right to refuse to give them any level of custody of their children. According to a report, parents with mental illness do have a greater chance of losing custody of their children, but that does not mean it happens in every case. Seeking help for any mental health issues is strongly advised.

Before denying a parent custody, the state will look at a number of issues in a case. The goal is to determine if the parent with mental health concerns is fit to maintain custody — either full- or part-time. So, the court will want to know:

  • What treatment is being utilized
  • If the treatment has any adverse side effects and what those are
  • How the illness affects the parent/child relationship
  • If the illness puts children in harm’s way

Parents in Michigan who have mental illnesses but who are deemed fit to continue taking care of their children should be able to achieve some level of child custody as part of their divorce agreements. Their spouses may fight this, but if that happens, it is possible to have a family law court hear the issue and make a decision on who should receive custody. Legal counsel will be there to help the client achieve a custody arrangement that benefits the whole family.

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