How Does a Mental Illness Affect Visitation Rights?

Posted on in Visitation

California family law attorney, California custody lawyerWhen it comes time for a judge to determine custody and visitation rights, the child’s (or children’s) well-being takes priority. The court will always choose in favor of the child’s physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional well-being, and custody and visitation will be granted accordingly.

It can seem entirely unfair for a mental health disorder to determine whether or not a parent will be able to visit their child on a regular basis, but that is often one of the factors that the court considers. After all, parents who suffer from certain mental illnesses pose a potential threat to their children’s mental and emotional well-being, according to various research outlined by the Institute for Family Violence Studies under FSU's College of Social Work.

The determining factors of visitation rights are often based on the non-custodial parent’s:

  • Living location in proximity to the custodial parent (as well as the non-custodial parent’s relatives);
  • History of criminal behavior (if any);
  • History of substance abuse (if any);
  • History of child abuse and neglect (if any); and
  • History of mental health disorders (if any).

Whether you suffer from a mental illness and are fighting for your visitation rights or, conversely, you believe that the child’s non-custodial parent, who is suffering from a mental illness, poses a threat to the well-being of your child, contact an attorney today to discuss your visitation rights, a custody hearing, or any other visitation or custody issues.

Mental Illnesses Are More Common Than You May Think

At some point in their lives, 10 to 25 percent of women are diagnosed with major depression, while 5 to 12 percent of men are diagnosed with major depression. Additionally, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illnesses, 18 percent of Americans have an anxiety disorder, 2.6 percent of the population lives with bipolar disorder, and 1.1 percent of the population lives with schizophrenia. One in 25 Americans has a serious mental illness. Mental illnesses often have quite serious ramifications for an individual’s professional and home life.

It is reported by some studies that 70 percent of parents living with a mental illness have lost custody of their children. And, children who have a parent with mental illnesses are more likely to develop psychological problems as many mental illnesses are genetic. However, not all mental illnesses have the same impact on a person’s life. The debilitating effects of depression or bipolar II are almost always much less than that of schizophrenia. It may be that the court sees that the non-custodial parent is no risk at all to their child.

Whether you need assistance in showing the court that this is the case, or you believe that the child’s non-custodial parent should not have visitation rights or should have limited visitation, call the law office of Gemma V. Reyes at 408-292-6289 today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced San Jose. visitation and family law attorneys. We are eager to help you with your case.



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