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How Can My Mental Illness Affect Child Custody in Illinois?

 Posted on December 08, 2020 in Child Custody

Naperville child custody attorneyWhen unmarried parents have a child together or married parents get divorced, a decision must be made about how to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time. Many parents choose to co-parent their children—the child spends time at both homes and the parents share responsibility for making major decisions about their child. In other cases, one parent is responsible for all or nearly all of the parental responsibilities and parenting time. There are countless issues that can influence child custody decisions. One concern that many parents have is whether or not their mental illness will impact these custody determinations.

Will I Be Denied Parenting Time Because of My Mental Illness?

Whether you suffer from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or another type of mental illness, you are not alone. Just under 20 percent of the U.S. adult population has at least one mental illness. A mental health diagnosis alone cannot prevent you from spending time with your child. However, there are many different ways that a mental illness can impact child custody determinations.

Mental Health Concerns and a Child’s Best Interests

When Illinois parents divorce, they have 120 days to file a parenting plan with the court. The parenting plan describes each parent’s rights and explains how the parents will share parenting responsibilities and parenting time. If the parents cannot reach an agreement about the terms of the parenting plan, the court may intervene and make a decision on the parent’s behalf. Illinois courts make decisions about parental responsibilities and parenting time by evaluating the facts of the case and determining what would be in the child’s best interests. The court may require supervised parenting time or deny a parent parenting time altogether if his or her mental illness causes the parent to:

  • Neglect the child’s basic needs

  • Abuse the child mentally, emotionally, physically, or sexually

  • Make choices that put the child in danger

  • Create an unsafe living environment

If a parent’s mental illness is under control and he or she is following the directions provided by his or her therapist or physician, the mental illness is less likely to negatively impact the parent during a child custody dispute. However, this does not prevent the other parent from attempting to use the mental illness as leverage. If you suffer from a mental health concern and you are worried about how this will affect child custody, speak with a family law attorney for help.

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer

If you are an unmarried parent or a parent who is planning to divorce, a Naperville family law attorney from Pesce Law Group, P.C. can help you navigate any child custody issues that may arise. Our team understands that many parents with a mental illness are perfectly capable of providing a safe, loving home for their child. However, we also know that some parents will attempt to use mental illness against the other during a child custody dispute. To learn more about how to protect your rights during child custody matters, schedule a free, confidential consultation. Call us at 630-352-2240 today.



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