Mental Health Episode and Child Custody

Tim came to me after his ex-wife had filed a Family Violence restraining order case and a Petition to Modify Custody and Visitation. He was unrepresented at the Family Violence hearing and the result was not good, and he was restrained from being around his ex-wife (which was fine by him), but the order also restrained him from being around his 6 year old son for 12 months. Tim was very distraught. As it turns out there was a concerning event prior to these case filings, Tim had been under a lot of stress at his job, he was living alone and not in a very good neighborhood, and a person was shot and killed very near his home. All of this led to high levels of anxiety in Tim, including some odd behavior, and he voluntarily admitted himself to a mental health hospital where he stayed for about 3 days.

When he came out of the hospital he found that his ex-wife had taken the position that he was mentally ill, and a danger to himself and others, including their child, and she sought to permanently limit his visitation rights to supervised only, and to take away his shared legal custody rights. After working with a trained psychologist who worked extensively with Tim, and upon their testimony at trial along with other witnesses, it was shown that Tim was not mentally ill, was not dangerous to anyone, and that he was a fit and proper person to exercise his parental rights with their child. Tim did in fact experience a “psychological episode” but it was an anomaly in his otherwise stable life. Visitation resumed immediately and Tim continues to be heavily involved with his son.