Must I share child custody with a schizophrenic who has a child endangerment/domestic violence/child protective service record?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Watsonville, CA

At 6.5 mos pregnant my unborn baby's father revealed to me he has schizophrenia, which he doesn't take medication for. At 2.5 years ago we started dating, never knew about the mental illness; so we began counseling, which didn't help much because of said condition. Now baby is here; I decided to look up father's criminal record: it contains assault charges, domestic, and child endangerment to name a few of the worst. I want to know what are my odds of having sole custody w/supervised visitation? Am breastfeeding exclusively; I am scared for the baby: 2+ mos ago his 15 yr old son ran away because of abuse; dad says he will always hit his children for discipline. I have been a fool but now I see more clearly now that I know about the schizophrenia; please help- Stressed Out w/a 13 day old :

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Thomas Allen Neil

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . You need to set mediation and a custody hearing. Its up to a judge. One weakness in your case which you need to adderess; You say he is schizophrenic but you are not a doctor and so you are unable to testify that he is schizo (though you state things you have SEEN him do but he may just deny doing those things) . A court would probably want to see a Dr.s dignosis of schizo AND a diagnosis if it severe enough to prevent him from parenting. You might get a court to order a mental evaluation but you would probably have to pay for it subject to the maybe ordering father to pay some of it later. And you have to show SOME hard evidence of his mental disability, not just your allegation. You say he told you he was schizo and said he would hit your kid anytime. But I don't think he is going to come into court and say, "yes, I am schizo and I am unable to care for my child and I am going to hit my child." In that case its just your word against his word and with no other evidence the court may refuse to grant you custody. You need an attorney to help you.

    Thomas Neil is a Sacramento attorney, with 20 years experience, representing clients in court in Sacramento, the Bay Area, and surrounding counties. Or, if you cannot afford full representation then Mr. Neil can instead write you the forms and declaration you need, help you serve them, and tell you what to say and you can go to court by yourself. A well written declaration by an attorney, supported by proper evidence, will GREATLY increase your chances of success in court. Our office takes credit cards.

    Thomas A Neil
    3224 El Camino Avenue
    Sacramento, CA 95821
    (916) 446-4153

  2. Richard Glenn Freed

    Pro

    Contributor Level 8

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . In California, judges now recognized the relationship between child custody issues and parents who expose the other party and/or child to domestic violence. If someone acts inappropriately (such as being physically violent, or mentally cruel, uses verbal insults, yells, makes threats, withholds money, etc), within the past 5 years, the courts now may decline to let the abusive parent have legal or physical custody of a child, at least until s/he can show they have overcome their problems. People with anger problems may be required to take classes that can last up to one year; those who abuse alcohol or drugs may be required to take drug tests or attend AA, but in all cases, the goal should always be making sure the child(ren) are given the chance to have regular contact with both parents. The trick is to build in whatever safeguards are needed to make sure the children do not have to be exposed to any more abusive situations. Sometimes the courts will order a parent's visits to be supervised by a third party, and that person will end the visit if it at any point becomes improper. That is how kids can still have two parents, even when one or both of the parents no longer want to share their son or daughter with the other party.

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