Could a sick parent lose custody of their child?
Many family law judges stress the importance of kids having both their parents in their lives. As such, they’re unlikely to rush to deprive one parent of custody simply because that parent has developed a serious medical condition.
If the question is raised, the court may have to look into the quality of care that a child can expect to receive from their ill parent before making any custodial decisions.
How judges may determine whether to order a custody modification
If the child’s healthy co-parent believes the ill parent’s health is a factor in custody, the court will probably feel obligated to make deeper inquiries.
A judge will likely want to know more about the ill patient’s medical condition and how it impacts their everyday life. The court may be resistant to leave custody in the hands of a parent if their condition is so serious that it could potentially put your child’s safety, welfare or health on the line.
An unwell parent may counter-argue that they have additional help at home to provide a safe environment for their child, though, via their current spouse, partner, relatives or childcare services. They may also argue that their son or daughter is old enough that they don’t face some of the same dangers that a younger child might. A teen, for example, may rely far less on a parent to make sure they are clean, fed and well-groomed than a toddler.
A judge may be more likely to deprive a parent of custody over certain mental health diagnoses. A parent with a severe, uncontrolled mental disorder may experience mood swings and have difficulty effectively interacting with others until they find the right medication and dosage. A judge may see it as best to limit a parent’s custody of their child until they find their mental health on track.
Addressing custodial disputes related to parental illness
An illness shouldn’t separate from your child without good cause. If your co-parent’s concerns are unfounded or overblown, you have every right to fight to preserve your custody arrangement.
A child custody attorney can aid you in arguing why your child should be allowed to maintain a presence in your life here in Colorado when you both need each other the most.