When mental health affects parenting time

When a parent’s mental health is not in the greatest place, there are always going to be questions about whether that individual has the ability to properly care for his or her children. This certainly is a concern that may arise during divorce proceedings. Whether one likes it or not, in Tennessee and elsewhere, parental mental health may affect parenting time.

When people hear the words mental illness, they picture people whose minds are so far gone that they cannot care for themselves or their loved ones. Mental illness is actually much bigger than that. For example, anxiety and depression, which are experienced by millions of Americans, are also mental illnesses. These issues do not always make it impossible for a person to live a relatively normal life. In short, not all mental illnesses are the same, and not all are completely debilitating.

If mental health concerns are brought up during divorce proceedings and the issue is taken to court, a judge will need to look at a number of factors before issuing a custody order. Some of these include the severity of the disorder, treatment type and effectiveness, and any adverse effects of the treatment. Along with those things, a judge will want to know if children are safe around the parent in question. Does that parent have a history of abuse because of his or her illness or medication?

If a parent has a mental illness, he or she may worry about how much parenting time he or she will receive as part of the divorce settlement. The state of Tennessee cannot automatically deny a parent custody just because he or she is receiving treatment for a mental health concern. Legal counsel can help those who are dealing with this type of issue seek custody plans that are fair and keep the best interests of their children in mind.