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Can I get sole custody when father has PTSD, TBI, living with parents, no job?

Newton, KS |

My daughter's father has been deployed (National Guard) and recently returned. He has since informed me that he will be filing for sole custody (or at least residential custody). He has been back from his deployment for 2 weeks. He is living with his parents (7 people in a 4 bedroom home), has no job, no car, and is receiving disability compensation for being 70% disabled from PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). I have seen his medical records, and, to sum it up, he's basically "fortunate if he remembers how to use the microwave to eat," and has been taken to the ER or immediate care several times for PTSD flashbacks with documented aggression, depression, anxiety, etc.
How likely is it that he will be able to get custody? Can I push the issue and receive sole custody?

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Attorney answers 1


Sole legal custody means that a parent has the exclusive right to make decisons about the child's health, education, and welfare. When a parent is not involved with the children it is very unlikely that parent will be able to show that s/he is the appropriate person to be awarded sole legal custody or anything other than appropriate parenting time. Kansas law requires that a court make appropriate orders in the children's best interests (not the parents' best interests) for a schedule of time between the parents. You should immediately contact and meet with a qualified family law attorney to advise you on your rights and obligations.

This response does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am licensed to practice only in Kansas. Seek legal advice from an attorney in your state or the state in which your legal claim exists.

Ronald W. Nelson

Ronald W. Nelson


In your situation, unless you can show that the other parent is unable or unwilling to co-parent, there is little reason to award sole legal custody. The inability to appropriately participate in decisions -- and the mere fact that there is a mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed -- should not impact on that issue.

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