Mental illness affects not only the victim but also the victim's loved ones. For example, your mental illness may impact your ability to take care of your child. Custody courts know this, which is why they will take your mental illness into consideration during custody determinations. Here are some of the ways the disease may affect your child's well-being:
Frequent Absences from Home
It will be difficult to take care of your child if you have a severe mental illness that involves frequent absences from the home. This may be the case, for example, if you have to be institutionalized regularly or be put under psychiatric care. In such a case, your kid will suffer if you don't have another person at home to help you take care of them and the child is too young to take care of themselves.
How much your mental disability has affected your cognitive functions also matter. The court will probably require an evaluation to determine whether you can provide your child with a safe environment and help them develop. Your custody battle will be difficult to win if your cognitive impairment prevents you from doing any of those things.
Bouts of unconsciousness
Some mental illnesses are characterized by frequent bouts of unconsciousness either from the illness itself or as side effects of its medication. It is difficult for a child to thrive in such an environment; what if they need your help and you are too drowsy from medication to help? What if the child incurs an accident at home and you can't even call for help?
Lastly, some medical conditions may make you a danger to yourself and your child. For example, if you have occasional flares of violence, it will be difficult for the court to place a defenseless child in your home. You may hurt your child when no one is around to help, or you may hurt yourself and leave the child with no one to care for them. In such a case, it's best to get your mental illness treated before having physical custody of the kid.
The good news is that your disability doesn't automatically mean you aren't eligible for child custody. In many cases, even if you don't get full physical custody of the child, you will not be cut off completely from their life and you may still be awarded other forms of custody. For example, you may get joint custody with the other parent or be given some visitation rights. Talk to a child custody attorney for more information.