Get free Family Law Advice from Jeffrey Leving, our Ask A Lawyer, Fathers Rights Expert on SingleDad. This week’s topic is Child Custody Rights with an emotionally unstable mother. Read more.
Ask a Lawyer Q & A :
Child Custody, Unstable
My question is
about getting custody of my 3-year-old child. Right now my ex and child are
living with me in a house I am buying. I have a steady job, she does not, I am
emotionally and physically fine, she has issues. We are separating soon and I
need your help.
We have been living together for the past 5 years though our
relationship has been off and on. She plans on moving out soon and I think I am
better suited to have custody and have our daughter live with me full time or
majority custody. I can’t tell her this because she will flip out. She is very
sensitive(always crying) and has depression and anxiety issues, ( she takes
medication for these issues so I am afraid of what will happen).
I need advice on how to begin the conversation with her
about our daughter’s primary custody. We get along okay because I bite my tongue
and am trying to keep her happy but she is constantly complaining and saying
how she needs a "mental health break" from our daughter. She got
fired from her job about 4 months ago and is cashing out her pension and plans
to use that money to get a house. She has no idea of how she will pay her bills
once money runs out. I want to
know what are the first steps on getting primary custody of our daughter.
Your daughter’s safety could be at risk and her welfare is of
paramount concern. A parent taking medication for mental health issues, and one
with a turbulent and unstable frame of mind could pose a danger to the child. Given
the mother’s propensity for volatile behavior and her imminent move, you should
consult with a highly skilled and experienced family law attorney right away.
In this situation, it is essential to determine whether any
prior court orders have been entered, specifically but not limited to custody,
removal, and orders of protection. If court orders have been entered, then
those orders must be critically analyzed by your attorney to determine whether you
and your child are safe, and if not a strategic plan must be implemented. Your
attorney should know how to implement this plan to seek court relief which will
ensure that your daughter remains in an environment which is in her best
interests and where she will be safe. In some cases this involves appearing
before the court on an emergency ex-parte basis. Strategic planning might
include, for example, gathering information about the mother’s past employment
through the use of a subpoena which may indicate her behavioral and
disciplinary problems experienced by her past employer. Also, a mental health evaluation
of the mother by a psychologist may be appropriate. Information from such sources is often used to support a
petition for custody.
The mother’s inability to maintain her job and finances and
statements that she is planning to leave your daughter with you while she takes
a "mental health break" may be warning signs which should not be ignored. If there are no court ordered
arrangements in place to maintain a safe and stable environment for your
daughter, her mother could remove the child from your care and move anywhere,
even to another state, which would make your case more difficult. I again strongly
advise you to consult immediately with a highly skilled and experienced family
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”