As research about mental health and effective treatment options continue to develop, mental illness has become much better understood and far less stigmatized. However, an important part of living well with mental illness is managing it properly. When a parent has a mental illness that is not addressed, he or she may be unable to care for their children. In serious situations, a parent with mental illness can even pose a risk to a child’s health and well-being. If you share parental responsibilities in Illinois and have seen your child’s other parent act in ways that are cause for concern, an experienced attorney may be able to help you make any necessary changes to parenting time or parental responsibilities.
A Parent’s Mental Health Can Impact a Child’s Mental and Physical Health
Children who are mentally healthy in childhood reach important milestones in their emotional development. Independence, self-soothing, confidence, and other important social skills allow children to successfully navigate life’s tough situations. Mentally healthy children also tend to be happier and function better at home and in school.
A study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the mental health of a child is deeply intertwined with the mental health of a parent. Parents with untreated serious mental health issues can model inappropriate or ineffective coping mechanisms, such as intense anxiety or uncontrolled anger. A parent’s mental health challenges may interfere with their ability to provide care for a child and may even contribute to an unsafe living environment.
Does Your Co-Parent’s Mental Illness Interfere with Their Parenting?
Illinois courts take many factors into account when making decisions about parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities. The mental and physical health of each parent is one of the most important criteria. If your co-parent has a diagnosis of a serious mental illness, this may affect a court’s willingness to grant parenting time with a child. If your co-parent does not have a diagnosis of a mental illness but is exhibiting concerning, erratic, or dangerous behaviors, you may want to get help from an experienced attorney who can help you gather evidence and present an argument in court that your co-parent needs a psychological evaluation.
Talking about these issues in court can be sensitive and contentious. Mental health is deeply personal, and false accusations of mental health issues can be seriously damaging. Be prepared to discuss specific examples of how your co-parent’s mental health is impacting their behavior and their ability to parent safely. A court can order a parent to be evaluated, reduce parenting time, or order supervised visits while a diagnosis and treatment plan are reached.
Call a Cook County Parenting Time Attorney
If you are worried that your child’s other parent may be suffering from mental health issues that risk placing your child in harm’s way, consider getting help from an experienced Markham, IL parenting time attorney with The Foray Firm. We will take your case seriously and help you work to ensure your child is safe. Call us today at 312-702-1293 to schedule an initial consultation.