Without question, suffering from a mental illness can certainly make it more difficult for you to go through a divorce or child custody case. Make no mistake- these sorts of cases can be extremely stressful and require a great deal of patience, strength, and fortitude to complete. However, a typical divorce or child custody case still forces people into difficult scenarios involving their lives in mental health. For the most part, people like yourself can persevere through a divorce or child custody case, however. It just takes a good structure around you as well as help from an experienced family law attorney.
However, if you add in the variable of having a mental health problem then your prognosis in a family law case changes considerably. If you are suffering from a mental health problem then you know how the condition can at times be extremely debilitating and it’s always something for you to have to be vigilant regarding. Keeping there’s much control over your diagnosis and symptoms is important not only for yourself but for your family. If you understand how to stop these problems before they begin then you will have nipped in the Bud many of the issues.
Even if you have your mental health problems diagnosed, treated, or medicated then they may still be a relevant part of your case. The way I talk to clients about this is that the mental health problems he suffered with do not have to be your entire life but they are likely going to be part of your life. This is true no matter if you are vigilant about your problems or not. The fact is that when considering what is in the best interest of your child the fact that you have a mental health diagnosis can very well likely make a difference in issues regarding custody, Visitation, and possession of your children.
What I oftentimes will recommend to people in your shoes is to consider your options and take advantage of them which allow for you and your family to get the most out of your custody cases possible while strengthening the bonds of unity between your family members throughout the process and into your post-family life. While this may sound overly idealistic or difficult to accomplish I can tell you that the vast majority of people to have gone through family law cases understand just how important it is to have a positive mindset and to be goal-oriented.
In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share with you my thoughts on what you can do to best ensure that your family has an opportunity to work through a child custody or divorce case with contentious custody-related subjects despite your suffering from mental health problems. While there is no silver bullet or cure to issues like this when it comes to mental health and family law I can tell you that there are methods for you to mitigate any issues that you may be experiencing in hopes of arriving at the best possible outcomes for yourself and your children.
Identify your support system in advance of a child custody case
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be able to make sure that you have an adequate support system for yourself before the beginning of a family log case. No matter what your experiences with the world of family law I can tell you that it is not easy to go through the challenges of a case without having people available to Leonard if you need them. To be sure, having people available to assist you through these problems can you be among the most helpful circumstances to come up in a case.
For instance, do you have friends or family members that you have in your life to bounce ideas off or go to for support during difficult circumstances? If not, then you should work to involve a social worker, therapist, counselor, or another person to fill this role for you during a family law case. Also, keep in mind how important it is for you to be able to fulfill this sort of obligation for others. The more you work with other people through these problems the better you will be able to handle yourself in any issues that come up in your life. Make no mistake, my family log case is difficult enough on its own. It is even more difficult when you do not have any assistance and dealing with these problems.
Your social circle of supporters may also be able to help guide you through problems associated with finding an attorney. The double-edged sword of the pandemic is that while we have been able to utilize the Internet more for online research many folks out there are still worried about being able to go into the world safely. This means that knew may be suffering from a similar concern about your health when it comes to reentering society as the pandemic begins to wind down.
All in all, your support system can help you by referring you to attorneys and other resources that may be able to help you locate competent representation. Above all, I recommend contacting the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan if you are still seeking representation or basic information about your child custody case. Not only can our attorneys help you with gathering insight about your situation but we can walk you through the child custody or divorce process and help me to better understand how you’re having a mental health problem that could potentially impact your case. You do not have to wonder about the impacts of your mental health diagnosis on your case. In a stressful situation, fax is your friend. The attorneys with our office can help you develop the facts of your case to help you accomplish your goals.
Being intentional and goal-oriented during a child custody case
If you have a mental illness or any kind of psychological issue then you may find that a family law case is not the best environment for you given how tumultuous these types of cases can be. Something about the uncertainty and lack of predictability with these types of cases can oftentimes lead to problems for anyone in a family law case. That is especially true when you consider the challenges that you may face within a family law case because have any mental illness or mental health problem.
This doesn’t mean that you should not file a case, however. This also does not mean that you should hesitate to take part in a family law case if one is filed against you. All it means is that you may have to be a bit more focused and intentional about the way you approach these subjects. I find that the more prepared, focused, and attentive you are to the issues of your case then the better off you will be. Being purpose-driven is incredibly important in a child custody scenario. You may be able to wander into a child custody case but you cannot wander out of one.
So, have you begun to consider what goals you have for your divorce or child custody case? Have you ever allowed yourself to think of anything beyond simply making it out of your case in one piece? That’s a fine goal to have, but should be one among many rather than the defining goal of your case. Identifying those areas of your life that you want to succeed in while the case is ongoing is a great way to approach your case. Don’t just make it about survival. Make it about accomplishing goals.
On top of this, understand how important it is for your children to be engaged in this case. I have worked with clients who have low levels of anxiety that are moderated with medication. I have also worked with clients who have significant mental health problems that are not very well regulated even with medication and frequent counseling and therapy sessions. Wherever you fall on the spectrum you should understand what you can offer to your children as their parents. Do not take for granted the contributions that you are making to their lives and can offer them in the future.
Make no mistake; your ability to build and maintain a relationship with your children is hanging in the balance during a family law case. Depending on the outcome of your case you may have positioned yourself well or poorly in terms of being able to have the kind of relationship that you want with your kids. At the end of the day, you cannot lean on an excuse of having a mental impairment or illness if the case doesn’t go your way. Rather, why not approach the case from the perspective of someone who has something to accomplish rather than someone who merely wants to get this thing over with?
Identify goals for yourself at the beginning, middle, and end of your divorce. Work with your attorney on these goals if you are unfamiliar with the child custody process enough to know what a decent goal looks like. If you can work with your attorney to develop goals for yourself and your family then you will be better off. No one that I have ever worked with has said that they regret planning too much for their divorce or thinking too much about how to benefit their children in the case. Rather, I have had many people tell me that they wish that they had been more intentional from the beginning of their case.
The most basic a general piece of advice that I can provide to you would be to consider identifying a way that you can move your case towards its conclusion and whatever you do. For starters, you should not take for granted an opportunity to negotiate with your Co-parent. If particular child custody issues are dragging your case to a screeching halt you should work with your attorney to identify what those are in determining what can be done to negotiate with your Co-parent. Rather than relying upon your attorney to perform all the negotiation for you, it would be a good move to be able to work with your Co-parent directly when able.
Do not stop your medication and listen to the advice of your doctor
Above all else, I do not want to make it seem like I am trying to give any kind of specific advice when it comes to the subject of mental health. To be sure, the best that I can tell you is that people who go through child custody cases tend to become more stressed at times than they may anticipate. With that said, you should never deviate from the advice of your doctor especially during stressful times like these. If anything, you should make sure that you are seeing your therapist or doctor on a more frequent basis given the likelihood that your life will be going through important changes.
Consider what custody and Visitation arrangements are most reasonable for you and your family
What are the things that I would caution you against doing would be attempting to overextend yourself regarding this series regarding custody of your child? For example, I have worked with people who have mental health problems on family law cases where they have attempted to simply bite off more than they can chew when it comes to their goals. For instance, if you have never been the primary caretaker for your children then I would not recommend attempting to position yourself in this way during a family law case. Rather, I would work with your attorney to develop goals that are more reasonable and achievable for you and your family.
For instance, you could consider negotiating for a stairstep agreement when it comes to custody. A stairstep agreement allows you to start slow when it comes to Visitation time. You could look at this where you begin with having Visitation with your children once every other week and then gradually progress that Visitation into once every week and then gradually taking on more weekends when you feel comfortable being able to care for your children overnight.
Many times you may not have been the parent who cared for your children on a primary basis before your family law case. A stairstep Visitation agreement allows you to transition into taking on that responsibility. Your children and you will benefit from taking things slowly and step by step. Consider the challenges and opportunities that this sort of arrangement presents for your family. You can develop and learn the skills necessary to maintain a strong relationship with your children.
Part of having a manageable visitation or possession schedule with your children is being able to maintain a strong co-parenting relationship with your child’s other parent. I realize that this may not have been something that you excelled at previously, but I can assure you that developing those positive skills over time is possible. It does take effort and will take time. However, that does not mean that you shouldn’t put in the effort. It also does not mean that you and your child’s Co-parent have to be best friends or see eye to eye on every issue.
Coparenting is being able to understand as best you can the positions of the other parent and accept them for what they are. Hopefully, the two of you will have some sort of middle ground where you agree on things more often than not. However, even if we find yourselves disagreeing quite a bit you can rest assured that by communicating through your disagreements you will be better off than by getting upset with one another from afar. Building trust with your Co-parent is almost as important as building trust with your child.
Finally, I recommend that you permit yourself to make mistakes. When you have a mental illness or mental handicap you may be being tough on yourself in more situations than you ought to. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and that this transition time is difficult for you and your entire family. Consider what opportunities are in front of you as far as building a relationship with your child and continued to grow as a parent. In doing so you can improve your mental health and improve the lives of your children.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.