Considerations for Maternal Mental Health in Family Law Cases

Although there have been major developments in the field of psychology and mental health, mental illness and wellbeing remain largely misunderstood. Many of the stigmas associated with psychology's past still pervade the general population's understanding of mental health. That is why it is important to spread awareness about certain mental health issues. This blog discusses mental health issues that commonly affect mothers in family law cases.

Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are a risk for mothers in family law cases. While there can be a genetic and physiological component to depression and anxiety, there are environmental factors like stress that can exacerbate or lead to depression and anxiety. Mothers who are going through a divorce, or wrapped up in custody or parentage proceedings experience an inordinate amount of stress. Furthermore, mothers of young children or infants tend to suffer from lack of sleep, financial hardship, sacrificed self-attention and care, and emotional dependence.

Battered Woman Syndrome

Mothers who have endured abuse and domestic violence at the hands of someone with whom they share an intimate relationship, typically their child’s corresponding parent. One of the prominent characteristics of battered woman syndrome is the “learned helplessness” and symptoms that appear similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Impact of Maternal Mental Health on Children

The bond between a mother and her child is vital during the developmental years throughout its infancy and beyond. However, when a mother suffers from mental health disorders, it can negatively impact a child’s social and emotional development.

Under California law, a court that is tasked with making custody determinations must evaluate certain factors affecting the best interests of the child. Among those factors includes the mental health of the parties. Given how close-knit the mother's mental health is with the child’s normal, healthy development, it is conceivable that a court can evaluate the impact a mom’s mental health has on the baby when making custody determinations. Of course, whether a court treats the mother’s mental health in her favor depends on several other factors including the developmental progress of the child at the time, the severity of the mother’s symptoms, and the impact her condition has on the child’s perspective progress.

Contact Our Office Today for Quality Legal Representation

Are you concerned about your legal rights in an ongoing divorce, custody, support, or to her family law issue? If so, you should retain the professional services of one of our legal advocates from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. Our team of attorneys has the necessary grit and sophisticated understanding of the California Family Code and case law to help ensure you and your family are properly represented in family law proceedings.

To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled lawyers, call Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich at (951) 506-6654 or contact us online today.


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