When facing a divorce, you want to ensure your child custody arrangement protects the health and well-being of your children. There are many things to consider, including the mental wellness of your spouse.
Can you seek sole custody if a mental illness affects your spouse’s parenting ability?
How do the courts determine if a parent is unfit?
In Massachusetts, parents have a fundamental right to have custody of their children. If you feel your children are not safe in the care of your spouse, you must present sufficient evidence to the court that your concerns have a foundation. The court may assign a professional to evaluate your case.
Mental illnesses range from mild to severe and do not automatically affect custody arrangements. However, a judge may deem a parent unfit in the following circumstances:
- Does not take adequate measures to maintain mental health
- Has a severe disorder that requires frequent hospitalizations or extensive care
- Displays unstable or violent behavior
- Has a history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Commits domestic violence or child abuse
Can you get full custody of your children?
The state of Massachusetts addresses both legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions regarding your children’s health, education, religion and activities. Physical custody determines where the children live.
Mental illness alone does not prevent a parent from having custody rights. You must show evidence supporting your claims to get sole legal and physical custody. Your spouse will have the opportunity to dispute your assertions, and the judge will consider both sides.
Family law focuses on the best interests of your children. You can secure an arrangement that keeps your family safe with adequate proof.