Family law: When mental health issues figure in custody decisions

Divorce situations can be embroiled with all kinds of issues. Parents may often be at odds regarding the custody of their children. British Columbia family law always has the best interests of children at heart and there are times when a parent's mental health comes into play and the individual's therapy records could be used by a family court judge to make custody and access decisions.

Most family law issues that are high conflict include a person with mental health or addiction issues. A judge will also decide if one parent should have access to the mental health records of the other. If there is a history of violence in the family due to the person with mental health issues, a judge will make decisions to keep the other parent and any children safe from harm.

The bottom line is whether a parent's mental health issues play a part in his or her ability to parent children. But many psychiatrists say therapy hinges on a number of thing, one of which includes confidentiality. Mental health professionals say their indications of whether a patient is doing well in therapy should be enough for a judge to make a decision on child access and custody. 

A British Columbia lawyer can assist a client in determining how mental health issues factor into family law rules in individual cases. A lawyer may be able to provide practical and creative advice regarding those situations which can be stressful and emotionally fraught. Legal guidance is crucial in complex family law cases.

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