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Choices: Custody Cases with Mental Illness or Substance Abuse

By November 16, 2011July 21st, 2023Child Custody, Lisa Moore Featured

By Lisa G. Moore

The underlying psychological issues of mental health illness and substance abuse can have devastating effects on a family and it takes strong advocacy in the family court system to prove or disprove mental health or substance abuse issues. In some divorce or dissolution of marriage cases, a paternity case or a custody proceeding, there can be serious safety concerns for children who have a parent suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues.  A restraining order or a child order of protection may be necessary.  However, it’s important that your domestic or family law attorney has the experience and knowledge regarding mental health and substance abuse issues, to evaluate your circumstances, to determine if a restraining order is the best choice or approach, to prosecute the claims when a parent has been accused of such problems and to defend a parent who has been unfairly accused of such problems.

In contrast to some family law cases that call for restraining orders or protection orders when there are issues of mental health and substance abuse issues, almost all family law cases with these types of issues will call for therapy and treatment for both the parents and often times the children.  A domestic or family law attorney who has experience working with families dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues will not only be able to guide you through the family courts legal process but will also be able to help you access therapists, treatment programs, support groups, and evaluators who can work with you and your family during and after the litigation.  It’s no surprise the legal system, and even more so the family court system, can fuel the flames of denial, distrust and anger. But wouldn’t it be better for both you and your children if we used the family court system to provide safety and security when appropriate, but also to provide the resources needed for everyone to be healthier and to heal?


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