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How to I prove that my child is under major emotional distress when the child is with the mother?

Crystal Lake, IL |

The child is in a 50/50 split custody situation so she switches weeks Sunday-Sunday.
The mother has previously been diagnosed with bi-polar, obsessive compulsive disorder, and borderline schizophrenic. The mother is constantly manipulating/questioning/harassing the child to have the child belief she needs to live with only the mother. The mother breaks the joint parenting agreement everyday with inappropriate conversations with the child. I feel I need to go for "FULL" custody. However, I'm enrolling my daughter into counseling to see what the counselor thinks first. Please give some advice.

Attorney Answers 7


  1. The first thing you should do -- even before counseling for the child -- is hire an attorney. You should have legal counsel as you're making these decisions.

    You're going to need an expert to testify about the emotional distress, if there is any. I'm not hearing it. the mother talks with the child about the case and the mother shouldn't do that. That doesn't necessarily equate "emotional distress," however.

    So, start with talking to a lawyer.

    Questions? Call -- 312-987-9999 -- for a no-charge, no-obligation, free Matrimonial / Family Law legal consultation.


  2. I am sorry your child is going through such a difficult time. I would absolutely retain an attorney immediately. You want to make sure the counselor you hire is familiar enough with these kinds of situations to properly assess what is going on.

    For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability or nursing home abuse, please contact Lowenthal & Abrams, PC at 1-800-876-5299. I am licensed in Pennsylvania, but members of my firm are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. This post is not legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in this post. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me. If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance. I am licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania.


  3. In order to modify/change the custody arrangement you will definitely need to hire an experienced family law attorney. The attorney will know how to present the mental health issues you reference in a proper way to give the court sufficient basis to change the custody arrangement.


  4. First and foremost, you should hire an attorney. Don't even seek counseling for your daughter before you retain an attorney.

    If the mother is violating the parenting agreement, then you can, and should, seek to have her held in contempt of court.


  5. This facet pattern begs unquestionably did you agree to this parenting schedule when you knew the mother suffered trousers mental illness? If you feel in any way the mother is endangering the cold you must take immediate action. I agree you must go in person and consult with a custody attorney. Do that before the counselor. You child could be in physical danger also. If so get an Order of Protection.

    IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER "Helpful" or " The Best Answer" YOU CAN THANK ATTORNEY RADDATZ BY MARKING IT SO because Avvo awards the attorney points. MS. RADDATZ is donating her time and talent by answering questions to help those in need of legal information. This is NOT a consultation and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS PERSONALLY CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR LOCAL AREA who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.


  6. I agree with Wes. You first need to hire a lawyer. Your lawyer will petition the court for a change in custody. The court will want proof in the way of an expert, i.e., child psychologist, (probably court appointed) who will provide the court with their opinion. The judge will then make its decision. Do not hire a psychologist on your own!


  7. You should hire an attorney. How long ago was the current custody order entered? If its been more than two years, then you can file an action. You'll have to do mediation and then likely seek appointment of a custody evaluator or GAL. If its been less than two years, I'd suggest attempting to modify parenting time instead of visitation. If there is no primary residential parent and equal parenting time, the argument would be that there is no actual modification of custody being sought. Such an argument, while available, may not succeed.

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