There are millions of Americans living with a mental illness. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) say that nearly 44 million people experience a mental illness in any given year and about 10 million adults live with a chronic mental illness. Mental illness can include conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder, but by far the most common mental illnesses in the United States are depression and anxiety disorders. Though the public perception of mental illness has changed to become more open and understanding, mental illness can still impact people in serious ways, especially those who are going through a divorce. Mental illness can also impact decisions made about parenting time and responsibilities in divorce cases.
How Divorce Decisions Involving Children Are Made
When making decisions about a parent’s allotted parenting time and responsibilities in Illinois, the judge must consider what is in the child’s best interests. The judge will look at many factors before making his or her decision, including:
- The wishes of the child, within reason;
- The ability of the parents to cooperate when making decisions;
- The wishes of each parent;
- The interactions of the child with each parent and any siblings;
- The child’s needs;
- The ability of each parent to put the child’s needs before their own; and
- Any other factor the court deems to be relevant.
The judge’s main goal when making decisions involving children is to make sure the child is happy, healthy and getting adequate care.
Mental Health Issues and Their Impact on Child-Centered Issues
Though the mental health of both of the parents and the child are taken into consideration by the judge when he or she makes decisions about parenting time and decision-making responsibilities, a parent will not be automatically disqualified from either just by having a mental illness. The judge will take into consideration the severity and type of mental illness that you have. A more severe mental illness, like schizophrenia, might constitute a reason to take away certain decision-making responsibilities, or a condition like substance abuse might limit parenting time. It also depends on whether or not the parent is currently receiving help for their mental illness and their willingness to do so if they are currently not.
Contact an Elmhurst, IL Child Custody Attorney Today
Divorce and mental illness are two very difficult things to deal with on their own. Put them together and they become even harder. Parents who have a mental illness often worry if that will interfere with their right to parenting time and responsibilities in the event of a divorce, but they should not worry. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we understand the gravity of child custody cases and the worries that come with a mental illness. Our highly-skilled Park Ridge, IL child custody lawyers can help you build your defense to any mental illness claims your spouse might make against you. Call our office today at 312-605-4041 to set up a consultation.