Parental Health Considerations in Child Custody Cases

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When courts make a custody determination, they are required to evaluate several statutory factors to see how a legal course of action will affect the best interests of the child. The primacy of “the best interests of the child” is a legal principle that many jurisdictions in the United States share in recognition of how child custody rulings must always put the child’s safety and welfare above all other concerns – even those of the individual parents.

What Is Parental Allocation?

Parental allocation, formerly known as custody, refers to an arrangement where the parents divide and share responsibilities in raising their child. Parental responsibilities regarding healthcare, education, and providing the primary residence of the child are all aspects of childcare that the parents might allocate.

Best Interest of the Child

Under Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), one of the factors courts must evaluate is the mental and physical health of the parents. As a result, the parents and their child may be ordered to undergo medical and psychological examinations when evaluating this particular factor.

For example, the physical health of a parent might render them physically unable to provide for the daily basic needs of a child or themselves. Furthermore, the mental health of a parent is something that can deeply impact a child’s trajectory for emotional and social development. However, if the mental health condition of a parent creates a risk toward a child’s healthy development, it could hurt their prospect of having custody over the child, and reduce the parental responsibilities that will ultimately be allocated to them.

Court Orders Regarding Counseling

Courts have the authority to order the parties to participate in family counseling. However, the court’s power to order counseling is not necessarily discretionary as such orders must comply with the requirements of the statute.

Under section 608 of the IMDMA, the court may order family counseling after finding that one of the following circumstances applies:

  • The child’s physical or mental wellbeing is in danger
  • There was an abuse of allocated parenting time
  • One or both parents violated the allocation order regarding conduct in the presence of their child

Get Comprehensive Legal Advice About Child Custody

Under the leadership of Attorney Jonathan Merel, our team of legal professionals at The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. is prepared to guide you through each step of the family law litigation process, including issues affecting child custody and the allocation of parental responsibilities. We take pride in delivering quality legal advice and dedicated legal advocacy our clients and their families to help ensure their legal rights and interests are rightfully protected under the law.

Contact us today for a consultation with an attorney at The Law Offices Jonathan Merel, P.C.

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