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Proving a Parent Is Mentally Unstable in Child Custody Cases

Trying to care for your child when their other parent is mentally unstable can be a harrowing experience. And parenting is even more challenging when you and a mentally unfit parent do not live under the same roof.

But, you can reduce this challenge by proving your child’s parent is mentally unstable and receiving a favorable custody order from a family court judge. To do this, you will likely need to present healthcare records, reports from healthcare and childcare professionals, and persuasive arguments to the court. 

One of our seasoned and compassionate child custody attorneys at Charlotte Christian Law can show you how to prove a parent is mentally unstable and help you win the custody orders that are necessary to protect your child.

We are here to stand in the gap and address your needs when you face stressful family legal situations, so call us for a free consultation at (256) 859-7277 or use the contact form on the website.

how to prove a parent is mentally unstable

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Your Concerns About a Mentally Unstable Parent Are Valid

When a mentally unstable parent is alone with your child, we understand that you might worry about your child’s safety and the long-term effects of the exposure. Given the statistics, your concerns have merit. 

A parent’s mental instability might be displayed through acts of domestic violence, a substance use disorder, or challenges associated with mental illness. And your child could bear the brunt of the harm if these displays of instability are not properly handled. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that children who witness violence in their homes may experience the following: 

  • Regressing to behaviors from their younger years, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, and crying jags;
  • Sleep difficulties; 
  • Trouble participating in school or maintaining good grades;
  • Low self-esteem; 
  • Headaches; 
  • Depression;
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, unprotected sex, and fighting; 
  • Stomachaches;
  • Anxiety; 
  • Difficulty making friends; and 
  • Getting in trouble with the law. 

The Department of Health & Human Services also reports that boys who witness their mothers being abused are 10 times more likely to abuse female partners in adulthood, and girls in households where fathers abuse their mothers are over six times more likely to be survivors of sexual abuse. 

Children of parents with poor mental health are more likely to struggle with their own poor mental and physical health as well as developmental disabilities. Furthermore, a child exposed to a parent with a substance use disorder is up to four times more likely to develop their own addiction. They are also more likely to develop mental or physical health issues and six times more likely to witness spousal abuse. 

How Can the Law Intervene?

While Alabama family courts prefer to award joint custody, courts will restrict parenting time and parenting rights when they believe it is in the child’s best interest. And what is in the best interest of the child depends on the following factors:

  • A parent’s history of or propensity for committing abuse or kidnapping, 
  • Each parent’s ability to encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent, 
  • Where each parent lives, 
  • Each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent and make joint decisions, and 
  • Whether the parents agree to joint custody. 

Given the factors above, proving mental instability or proving mental illness in your child custody case may be enough to restrict the other parent’s contact with your child and protect your child from the effects of harmful parenting. 

How to Prove a Parent Is Mentally Unstable

When determining how to prove mental illness in a custody case or mental instability in family court, you need to take a look at the specific details of your case. You might be able to use information you already have, or you might need new information to make your case. 

Evidence you can use to prove the instability of your child’s other parent can include the following: 

  • Medical or mental health records, 
  • Your testimony,
  • Documents from the other parent’s treatment for a substance use disorder, 
  • Records from a mental health evaluation, 
  • Testimony from a mental health or behavioral health professional, 
  • Police reports, 
  • Testimony from the other parent,
  • Your child’s school records, 
  • Testimony from your child or anyone in the other parent’s household, 
  • The other spouse’s employment records, 
  • Copies of restraining orders, and 
  • Conviction records.

Another person’s instability is a complex and delicate issue. So enlisting the help of an experienced family law advocate is often the best way to approach this matter in legal proceedings. 

Talk to Our Attorneys at Charlotte Christian Law

At Charlotte Christian Law, we are dedicated to helping parents in Alabama safely move forward from fractures in their family unit. We lead with compassion, and we have decades of combined experience. And our knowledge and hard work in the legal field have not gone unnoticed, as our attorneys are award-winning advocates.

If you need to know how to prove someone is unstable in court so that you can save your family, we can show you the way. Reach out to us online, or call us at (256) 859-7277 to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation.

Get Child Custody Help

Get advice from a qualified legal professional.

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