How Does a Parent’s Mental Health Affect Custody Arrangements?

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In today’s society, an overwhelming majority of people suffer from mental health conditions. Unfortunately, mental health disorders impact every facet of a person’s life, as well as those around them. That said, it can often negatively influence a parent’s ability to care for their children. In New York, the court’s primary concern when awarding custody is the child’s best interests are met. Therefore, they will take a parent’s mental health condition into account when deciding who gets custody. This makes many parents worry that their mental health condition will automatically preclude them from gaining custody. However, that’s not always the case. Please continue reading to learn how a compassionate Suffolk County Child Custody Attorney can help you protect your parenting time. 

Does the Court Consider a Parent’s Mental Health When Deciding Custody?

In New York, the court is required to determine whether both parents are capable of caring for their children. As mentioned above, the paramount consideration in child custody cases is the child’s best interests. The best interest of a child standard is intended to protect a child’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being and ensure both parent’s fitness. It’s crucial to understand that the court doesn’t just look at one specific factor. The following are some factors considered by courts when determining the best interests of the child:

  • The age of the child
  • Any special needs a child may have
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The parent-child relationship
  • Each parent’s standard of living
  • Each parent’s earning capacity
  • The child’s preference (if they’re mature enough to make a decision based on sound reasoning)
  • Any history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment

They will look at all relevant factors, including the mental health of each parent. The court acknowledges the fact that a parent’s mental health can significantly influence their capacity to meet their child’s needs. Untreated mental illness, personality disorders, or emotional instability can result in the court deeming a parent unequipped, leading to lost custody privileges.

Can a Mental Health Condition Preclude a Parent From Gaining Custody?

While having a mental health condition won’t automatically preclude a parent from being awarded custody. Courts will conduct a thorough evaluation of:

  • The severity of the mental health condition
  • Whether or not the parent is receiving treatment
  • How the mental health condition affects their overall parenting abilities.

Depending on the specific mental health condition a parent suffers from, the court may determine the parent doesn’t possess the capability to meet their child’s needs. If the court determines the parent’s mental health condition poses a safety risk, the court may need to limit or supervise the parent’s time with the child. Nevertheless, if the court determines a parent is fit and it would be in the child’s best interest to have an ongoing relationship with them, they can award them custody.

If you’re facing a custody battle, please don’t hesitate to contact a trusted attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who can help safeguard your child’s best interests.


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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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