Is It True Your Ex Can Use Your Mental Illness To Request Supervised Visitation?

Posted on: 6 January 2018

About 1 out of every 5 Americans struggle with mental illness, and the stigma surrounding it is often a source of trouble for those affected. If you're in a custody battle with your ex and you suffer from mental illness, one unfortunate thing that can happen is your ex can use your condition to obtain a supervised visitation order against you. Here's how this can happen and what you can do to defend against it.

Raising Concerns About Child Safety

Mental illness in and of itself doesn't automatically make a parent unfit or call for restrictions in visitation rights. However, if your ex can make a case that your condition poses some kind of threat to the children's mental or emotional wellness or physical safety, then the court may grant the supervised visitation order.

For example, if you suffer from severe depression that makes it difficult for you to get out of bed some days, your ex could claim your condition increases the risk the kids will be unsupervised or neglected while in your care during the days when you're unwell. Depending on the kids' ages, the court may agree and require a third party to be around to watch of the children when your mental illness interferes with your ability to do so.

Fighting Back Against Supervised Visitations

Supervised visitations can make it challenging for you to see your children, because a third party must be available on the days when you want to see them, which may not always be possible. Additionally, depending on who the third party is (the role can be filled in by friends or family members), their presence can make it hard for you to establish a good relationship with your kids.

Thus, it's in your best interests to fight back against this type of custody maneuver. The best way to defend yourself is to show your condition will have minimal impact on your ability to parent your children. This may involve undergoing a psychiatric evaluation and submitting the results to the court. If you've had trouble in the past but are better know, providing proof of improvement can also help you with your case (e.g. you attended therapy for several weeks or are taking medication).

This type of situation can be difficult to handle, depending on the circumstances. It's a good idea to contact a child custody attorney who can provide sound advice on the best way to proceed so you can get the outcome you want.