In determining how child custody will be settled, a judge will consider several factors, including the mental health of each parent. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that could potentially have an impact on how custody is decided, If the other parent has PTSD and a custody decision is looming, here is what you need to know:
Does a PTSD Diagnosis Prevent a Parent from Having Custody?
A commonly believed misconception about PTSD and child custody is that have the disorder means that a parent automatically will lose his or her custodial rights. Even if the other parent has PTSD, there is a possibility that a judge might allow him or her to have sole or shared custody of the child.
In determining if the parent with PTSD is capable of handling custody of the child, the judge will consider several factors, including whether he or she is receiving professional treatment. If he or she is prescribed medication to help with the condition, the judge will consider how consistently it is taken.
The judge will also factor in any incidents involving the parent with PTSD that could have an impact on the child's emotional and physical welfare. For instance, if the parent has a history of having outbursts or experiences periods of depression that affect how he or she functions, the judge will consider it.
What Can You Do?
If you are concerned with the other parent's ability to care for your child, there are several things you can do to argue for sole or shared custody in court. One of the most important steps you can take is to request copies of his or her medical records.
The records not only can give the court information about the severity of the other parent's mental health condition but also be used to disprove that he or she is receiving consistent treatment.
If there are police reports that can be used to prove that the other parent has a history of violence related to his or her condition, you need to provide them to the court. If any other agencies, such as Child Protection Services, has been involved with the family, your attorney can subpoena those records.
You can also call on witnesses to help prove that the other parent is not capable of taking care of the child. Ideally, the witnesses should be available to testify in court in-person. If not, a signed affidavit should suffice.
Talk to a child custody attorney like Kenneth J. Molnar to learn other ways you can prove your case.