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Mental Health Concerns and Child Custody Decisions

 Posted on December 02, 2022 in Uncategorized

wheaton child custody lawyerWhen a court in Illinois is considering a child custody case, the court’s goal is to issue a decision that is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider the parents’ wishes, each parent’s relationship with the child, the child’s wishes, and each parent’s health. Consequently, it is possible that a mental health concern could impact a child custody decision.

Mental Health and Custody Evaluations

Illinois Supreme Court Rules and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act both allow for three types of mental health evaluations during family law cases. 

Section 604.10(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that a court can seek the advice of any professional to assist in determining a child’s best interests. An evaluator will be the court’s witness who should not be on either parent’s side. The court may appoint an evaluator when parents are unable to agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities. 

Section 604.10(c) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that when one parent disagrees with a 604.10(b) report, they can retain another expert to create a different evaluation. A 604.10(c) report could be in contrast to a 604.10(b) report and lead to dueling claims at trial.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215(a) provides that when the physical or mental condition of a parent may influence child custody, a court can order either party to submit to a mental health examination. Evaluators may be psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, or other licensed professionals. 

Having a mental health condition like depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia will not automatically disqualify a parent from having a role in his or her child’s life. Millions of parents have mental health conditions and still provide a loving, safe environment for their children. However, it the court finds that a parent is unable to provide for a child’s needs due to mental health problems, the parent’s parenting time or parental responsibilities may be reduced or eliminated. 

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

If you need help getting mental health evaluations performed or dealing with mental health evaluation requests, make sure you are working with the experienced Wheaton divorce attorneys at Hensley Sendek Law. Our firm knows how messy these kinds of issues can get and will be able to work in a professional manner to get you real results.

We know how important children are to all parents in Illinois. Call 630-358-9029 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. 



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