Merely being diagnosed with depression is not grounds, in an of itself, to deny placement to a mother. However, if the condition makes it difficult or impossible for the mother to adequately care for the child, then the court may award primary placement to the father.
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Her mental health records are not automatically discoverable because of her HIPPA privileges. A court could order an independent psychological evaluation to determine her fitness. Also, a Guardian ad Litem may request that he or she have access to these records because it affects the best interests of the child. The court needs to weigh the parents rights to privacy with the best interests of the child.