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Can a man take a child away from their mother if she suffers from depression

Janesville, WI |

This lady and her husband have filed for divorce. He wants custody of the children and is claiming that she has a medical condition that makes her an unfit mother. Can a lawyer get her medical records and use them against her?

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Attorney answers 3


Yes. The lawyer would need a release for the medical records. Mental stability can be an issue and so medical records may be obtained and used in court.


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.

This answer is for informational purposes only. By answering this question, no attorney/client relationship is created. Although the legal information is accurate, it may not be appropriate for your situation. The best way to handle any legal problem is to seek the advice of an attorney.


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.

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