Can I Lose Custody for Depression and Anxiety: Maybe for 5 Reasons

Alisha West, my friend, suddenly called me and said, “For the last few days, I have been going through some mental conditions like depression and anxiety. I know the importance of being mentally healthy for my children and their well-being, but can I lose custody for depression and anxiety?”

Well, depression and anxiety can be debilitating mental illnesses that can cause a person to lose focus, energy, and interest in the things they once enjoyed. For some people, these disorders can even lead to thoughts of suicide. It’s no wonder that many parents are concerned about whether or not depression and anxiety could lead to them losing custody of their children.

The good news is that most courts consider the severity of an individual’s mental illness when making a custody decision. However, there are five reasons you could lose custody for depression and anxiety. In this article, we’ll discuss each of them.

can i lose custody for depression and anxiety

Can I Lose Custody for Depression and Anxiety: Maybe for 5 Reasons

Can you lose custody if you have a mental illness? Yes, it is possible to lose custody of a child due to depression and anxiety. Generally speaking, this can happen if the mental health condition interferes with the parent’s ability to care for the child. The following are five potential reasons why someone could lose custody due to depression or anxiety, like losing custody due to not co-parenting.

#1. It can affect your ability to be a good and safe parent:

If your depression or anxiety is severe enough to impair your judgment, then the court can decide that it’s best for the child if you don’t have custody. For instance, if you have difficulty functioning in everyday life due to your mental illness or can’t provide the emotional support a child needs, this can be seen as a threat to the child’s well-being.

Also, if your depression or anxiety can manifest in violent outbursts, this can be a danger to the child. The court will consider all of these factors when determining whether or not you should retain custody.

#2. You may not provide an appropriate home environment:

A court can decide against giving you custody if your home environment can’t provide a safe and stable atmosphere for the child due to your mental illness. For instance, if you can’t clean or keep up with basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing due to depression or anxiety, then this can be seen as an inadequate environment for the child.

If you can’t interact with the child in an emotionally supportive and safe manner due to your mental illness, then this can also be a reason why a court can decide against you having custody. This way, mental health issues be used against you in a child custody battle.

#3. You may not have taken steps to treat your mental illness:

In some cases, if you don’t take steps to manage and treat your mental illness, then the court can decide that it’s best for the child if you don’t have custody. This can include not seeking professional help, not taking medication prescribed by doctors, or ignoring advice from mental health professionals.

When making decisions, the court will consider if you are trying to improve your mental health through treatments like counselling, therapy, or support groups.

#4. You can’t meet the child’s emotional needs:

Another reason a court can decide against giving you custody is if you can’t meet the child’s emotional needs due to your depression and anxiety. For instance, if your mental illness can make it difficult for you to understand and respond to the child’s needs, this can be seen as a threat to the child’s well-being.

In addition to other factors, the court will look at your depression and anxiety levels to see if they would cause you to be distant from or unable to support your child during difficult times.

#5. Your partner might find you in severe distress:

In some cases, if your partner can regularly find you in a state of severe distress due to your mental illness, then the court can decide that it’s best for the child if you don’t have custody.

For instance, if your partner can often find you completely overwhelmed and unable to cope with everyday life due to depression or anxiety, then this can be seen as a threat to the child’s well-being. And here, the court can decide that it’s best if your partner has custody instead.

How to Prove the Mental Illness of Other Parent in a Custody Battle: 4 Things to Do

1. Collect medical records:

Gathering information from a mental health professional can help prove that the other parent has a mental illness. It’s important to get copies of any records or assessments conducted by psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers—as well as records related to diagnosis and treatment.

2. Document behaviour:

If the other parent has shown signs of mental illness, this can be used to prove the diagnosis. To do this, collecting evidence through eyewitness testimony, journals or diaries, and emails or text messages demonstrating erratic behaviour is important.

3. Seek expert testimony:

An experienced psychologist or psychiatrist can provide additional insight into a parent’s diagnosis and its impacts on parenting. Expert testimony can help the court determine whether or not a parent is fit to continue custodial rights.

4. Work with an attorney:

Working with an experienced family law attorney can provide knowledge and support throughout the custody battle, including navigating through state laws and regulations pertaining to mental illness in custody cases. An attorney can provide advice on proving the other parent’s mental illness and the best approach for gaining custody.

You should watch this video to learn more about why a parent with mental illness can affect a child’s custody decision.

FAQs on Can I Lose Custody for Depression and Anxiety

How do you live with a mentally ill mother?

It’s not easy living with a mentally ill mother. It’s a constant battle trying to keep things together and ensure she’s okay. You never know when she will have a breakdown or when she will be able to function like a normal person.

It’s hard to explain what it’s like because they just don’t understand. You love your mother, but you also know that sometimes she just can’t help herself. It’s a difficult balance, but you do the best you can.

How to cope with Depression after losing custody of your child?

The best way to cope with depression after losing custody of your child is to seek professional help. Depression can be a serious issue, and it’s important to get treatment from a mental health professional. Talking to a therapist or counsellor can help you understand the situation, process your emotions, and begin healing. It can also provide coping strategies and tools to help you move forward.

Additionally, give yourself time and space for self-care. Take time for activities that bring you joy, and make sure your basic needs are met – such as getting enough sleep and eating nutritious meals. 

Surround yourself with loving people who understand what you’re going through and can provide emotional support. It’s also important to take care of yourself physically by exercising regularly, meditating or engaging in relaxation techniques, and getting out into nature.

Try to focus on the positive aspects of your life rather than dwelling on what you’ve lost due to the custody battle. Acknowledge and appreciate the good things you have in your life and make the most of them. This can help rebuild your self-esteem, reduce guilt and regret, and give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. 

Can a schizophrenic raise a child?

The short answer is yes, but with extra support. It may be difficult for a parent living with schizophrenia to provide the same amount of emotional and practical support as someone without mental health issues. However, with the right help and support, it is possible for a person living with schizophrenia to raise a child successfully.

It’s important for a parent with schizophrenia to get professional help from doctors and mental health professionals. Proper treatment can help manage symptoms, making it easier for the parent to care for their child. A support system of family and friends is also essential to provide understanding, assistance, and respite when needed.

What to do if your co-parent is in depression?

“My co-parent is in depression for a long time.”

If your co-parent is in depression, be supportive and understanding. Depression can be a very difficult thing to deal with, and it can make it hard for someone to function normally.

If you notice that your co-parent is having difficulty with everyday tasks or if they seem withdrawn and sad, it may be time to talk to them about getting help. If you share 50/50 custody with them, try taking more responsibilities from your side. This will reduce their workload.

There are many resources available to help people dealing with depression, so get the help that is needed. With the right support, your co-parent can begin to feel better and start functioning more normally again.

Can therapy help you retain custody after a divorce?

In the midst of a divorce, it can be easy to become wrapped up in your own emotions and lose sight of what’s best for your children. If you’re hoping to retain custody of your children after a divorce, you may want to consider going to therapy.

A therapist can provide an unbiased perspective and help you develop the tools to co-parent effectively with your ex. In addition, therapy can help you work through any personal issues affecting your ability to parent, such as anxiety or depression.

By attending therapy, you can show the court that you’re committed to putting your children’s needs first. While there’s no guarantee that therapy will help you retain custody, it may give you the best chance at success. I handled a case where a minor child finally agreed to her father’s home though she refused the initial reunification therapy. But, when she went through the whole process, she felt better.


If your partner suffers from a mental illness, this can play into who will get custody of your child. The court may be more likely to rule in your favour if you have evidence that proves how their mental state could negatively affect their ability to care for the kid.

Furthermore, suppose you can demonstrate to the court that your partner is often unreliable or has a history of not being able to care for the child properly. In that case, this will likely be considered when deciding on custody.

Therefore, getting statements from mental health professionals and gathering evidence showing how the other parent’s mental condition can affect their ability to care for a child is helpful.

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