Mental Illness, safety of kids, chg visitation?


A change since the lat order in the emotional or physical health of the parent may support a conclusion that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. If the findings about the parent’s inability to care for the children warrant a conclusion that the once fit parent is currently (even if temporarily unfit) it would support a conclusion that there has been a substantial change of circumstances. It may be that his medication and treatment allow him to function at an acceptable level, and not rise to the level of unfitness. However, that does not mean that it would not warrant the consideration of some safety precautions with visitation. I understand that you are worried about bringing the issue up for fear of making things worse, but considering your concern, it seems reasonable to do some sort of risk assessment.

Any condition that impairs a parents ability to care for their children is relevant to what an appropriate custody/visitation schedule would be in a child’s best interest.

Since he is being upfront with his condition, it may be an opportunity for you to disclose your fear of safety issues. Start the communication with him by first stating you have no desire to keep them away from him, but merely need to address these concerns. There may be mutually agreeable changes to how visitation occurs that will help alleviate some of your concerns. One example would be, consider getting some help from a family member or trusted family friend that might be available to support visitation periods, as an extra pair of eyes? You may be able to think of other feasible options that permit visitation periods while still being sure the children will be okay. Best of luck with this.

Deborah M. Throm
Rosen Law Firm
1829 E. Franklin Street, Bldg. 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.265.0017 direct
919.321.0780 main voice

4101 Lake Boone Trail
Suite 500
Raleigh, NC 27607
919.256.1544 direct
919.787.6668 main voice

301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
704.644.2531 ext. 100


Holy cow, were do I begin? My ex has recently informed me he is out of work (on disability leave) for depression & Bi-polar disease. He has also informed me that he will be checking into a mental health hospital for a month (or longer) for treatment. He has been forthright with his diagnosis and named all the different medications he