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Could My Mental Health Evaluation Be Used Against Me In a Child Custody Case?

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County Family Law AttorneyThanks to an increase in awareness and treatment options, mental illness is being diagnosed and treated at a higher rate than it has been in the past. Many mental illnesses are now better understood and much of the stigma surrounding them has dissipated as public understanding has increased. 

Yet certain mental illnesses are still more disruptive than others, and this is particularly true when the person who suffers from a mental illness is also a parent of young children. In Illinois divorces or custody disputes, both parents’ mental health may be scrutinized carefully and their personal problems dissected in what can feel like a very public manner. If you are struggling with mental illness and wondering whether a psychological evaluation could be used against you, read on. 

What Kind of Psychological Examination Can Be Ordered? 

When the best interests of a child are in question, a judge may order a thorough mental health evaluation. A trained, qualified, and unbiased medical professional will conduct interviews, assign questionnaires, and request meetings to talk about your thoughts and feelings. They may request your mental health history, including past records of treatment or hospitalization, and may want to observe your behavior over an extended period of time. 

While a mental health evaluation is not meant to incriminate a parent, it can be used when assessing whether a parent is fit to have parenting time or parental responsibilities. After all, if a mental illness interferes with the ability to properly care for a child, this is important information that a court needs to have. The best thing you can do in a mental health examination is to be open, honest, and make sure you are following any directions from your mental healthcare providers. 

Will I Have to Pay for the Psychological Assessment? 

It depends. If your child’s other parent has concerns about your mental health and has requested the assessment, he or she will likely be ordered by the court to pay for it. If you are getting divorced and the court has concerns about your mental health, a judge may order you to get evaluated as part of her overall assessment of your parenting abilities. In that case, you would likely be required to pay for the associated costs. 

Meet with a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer

Feeling like private details about your mental health and wellbeing will be made public in a child custody case can be frustrating and embarrassing. At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., our DuPage County child custody attorneys work hard to protect your parental rights and will represent you passionately and without judgment, no matter what your mental health evaluation may say. You can schedule a confidential consultation with one of our skilled and compassionate attorneys by calling us today at 630-462-9500

 

Source: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8675000&SeqEnd=12200000

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