Sunday, 24 November 2013

My ex-partner has a substance abuse problem and/or mental illness, can I apply for full custody of our children?

There is no simple answer to this question. The Court looks at a variety of issues, including:

1.    Type and severity of your ex-partner’s mental illness and/or substance abuse problem.

2.    Whether your ex-partner is under the care of medical professionals and whether or not s/he is following the care plan, including taking prescribed medication.

3.    Whether or not your ex-partner has ever behaved in a violent manner.

4.    Whether or not there has been a pattern of negligence or irresponsibility in the way your ex-partner has cared for the children.

5.    The age and maturity of the children.

6.    The availability and suitability of any relatives or close friends to supervise the time the children spend with your ex-partner.

7.    Recommendations by health care professionals.

8.    Whether any intervention orders have been made against your ex-partner.

9.    Whether your ex-partner has a criminal history.

10. The children’s relationship with your ex-partner.

11. The extent of your partner’s involvement in the children’s lives prior to separation.

12. Whether or not your ex-partner has contravened any previous court orders.

If you have serious concerns about the safety and wellbeing of the children, you should contact a lawyer practising in Family & Relationships Law to get advice on whether you can apply to change the care arrangement for the children. At Nevett Ford, we have two Accredited Specialists in Family Law, Annmarie Farrell and Elizabeth Hall.

In urgent situations, you should contact the emergency services on 000 or the Department of Human Services on 1300 650 172 (for Victorians).

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