In Virginia child custody cases, the court considers the physical and mental well-being of both parents, in addition to several other criteria. Physical well-being is almost never an issue as long as both parents are capable of providing care. Mental health, however, is a different story.
Thanks to the repeal of a law in 2008, therapist records and testimony can now be used to help define a parent's mental state in a Virginia child custody case.
You might be concerned about your ex's mental health. If so, you can request a psychological evaluation of him. This can be a helpful resource, especially if there is a real problem or cause for concern. While your testimony about your husband's mental health would be helpful, only an expert can diagnose a mental disorder.
However, you must be very careful about sounding alarms regarding your ex's well-being. This tactic could easily backfire. You may come across as vindictive if you are trying to paint a picture of your ex being "crazy'" if there is no evidence of mental instability. Also, if you request a psychological evaluation of your husband, he will most likely request one of you as well.
Psychological evaluations are imperfect and there is a chance that he could come off as perfectly healthy mentally, while you might appear mentally unstable due to the stress of the divorce. Working closely with a lawyer knowledgeable about child custody in Virginia will help you determine the best strategy for raising your concerns.
Virginia child custody cases are one of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Parents want what is best for their children, but sometimes they disagree as to what that solution is. If it is left to the courts to decide, the judge is required to take both parents' mental well-being into consideration when determining child custody in Virginia. While you want to raise any concerns about your ex's well-being, especially serious ones, do it carefully and strategically with the advice of a lawyer who specializes in child custody in Virginia.
Contacting a Virginia Child Custody Attorney
At Hofheimer Family Law Firm, we understand that the health and happiness of your children is your #1 concern. We will work with you to address any fears and anxieties you may have about your children's future. Our Virginia child custody attorneys will guide you every step of the way to advocate that you achieve the best possible Virginia child custody and child support arrangements for you and your children.
To learn more about your Virginia divorce, request a FREE copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.