How Depression Could Affect Your Child Custody Case in Pennsylvania
When going through a divorce and child custody, there is an extreme amount of stress, significant change and uncertainty and it is normal to be emotional, scared, and sad. However, it may affect your case if those feelings grow from temporary into a serious or prolonged condition. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act.
Depression & Child Custody
In deciding child custody, the Court will be focused on what it believes, based on the evidence presented, is in the best interest of the child. Mental Health is a factor the Court considers when awarding custody. A parent who withdraws from daily life activities, is impaired in making decisions, or shows little to no interest in their child or child’s needs may not be viewed favorably by the Court in a custody matter.
Your Depression May Be Used Against You
In a contentious custody case, allegations are not uncommon to be made by one or both parties against each other. The Court takes Parental Fitness/Stability firmly into account and will thoroughly investigate any allegations. A parent who proactively recognizes an issue, is in treatment, and can demonstrate that they are successfully managing their condition may be viewed in a far more positive manner.
Being in Therapy Doesn’t Automatically Disqualify a Parent
Parental Fitness/Stability is essential to the Court because it is in the child’s best interest to be safe, secure and have parents who can make sound, rational decisions at all times.Being in therapy to assist you during this difficult time does not automatically prevent a parent from being awarded custody if they can show that they are successfully treating their condition. However, if they choose not to treat it, this can imminently impact that parent’s case. There is a significant difference between having been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition and simply being in therapy because of life’s ups and downs. Your child custody lawyer can help guide you through the nuances of the law in this regard.