Is mental illness a consideration in a custody case if the children’s safety is a concern?

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Is mental illness a consideration in a custody case if the children’s safety is a concern?

My wife has BPD and has recently become violent with my claiming that I have cheated on her after reading my text message. An alternation pursued after which she threatened to destroy my laptop. After I forcefully obtained the laptop back I pushed her head against the wall. Once I obtained the laptop I placed my things in the car. I was heading back inside when she came out with a knife and stabbed my tires. While attempting to take the knife she swiped the knife at me. I proceed to leave after that incident. After about 15 minutes I came back to the house to check on her and my 2 children.

Asked on November 2, 2010 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Custody decisions are made in all the states by a standard that is known as the "best interests of the children."  That determination is made by looking at various criteria, the mental state of the parents and the safety of the children are just two of the many that the court may weigh in its decision.  Testimony will be taken as to the issue - by friends, family, neighbors - doctors - and affidavits may be written in support of both parents.  Is this assessment of your wife documented or are you diagnosing her?  Is she on medication?  Does she take it regularly?  Seek help from an attorney in your area as to this matter.  And if you really think that she may be a harm to herself and the kids maybe consider taking them with you and going to Family Court to obtain temporary custody right now.   


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