Mother attempted suicide while having custody

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Mother attempted suicide while having custody

Unread postby dadsdivorce » Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:39 am

I have temporary custody of my son and will be going to trial soon for permanent custody. My ex wife had custody of our son, but because she denied me access to him on a number of occasions I took her to court and was awarded temporary custody. I have since learned that while she had custody of him she attempted suicide and was in a mental hospital for 2 weeks. I am concerned about her mental stability. Is this something that the courts will consider when determining custody? How do I prove that this happened?
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Unread postby dadsdivorce » Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:40 am

Yes I believe every jurisdiction would consider the mental health of a parent when looking at custody, though I cannot speak directly about Washington as I am not licensed in that State.

You can attempt to subpoena the hospital where she stayed. Don’t overlook the possible police records, fire department/ambulance records if they were called during the suicide attempt. The hospital will move to prevent the release of the records. Sometimes the opposing party/attorney will agree to provide a release form called a HIPPA release. It requires very specific language and is mandated by federal law. You can skip the release and just call up the Motion for Protective Order that the hospital will file and argue the motion before the court. The Court can then enter a specific order that the records be released by the hospital.

It is possible that he will order the records sealed or even review the records before they are turned over to the parties. A second method of proving her mental instability is to get a court order that she submit to psychological testing. You would need to retain an expert witness to provide the evaluation and then testify in court. That can be expensive as psychological experts are often more per hour than the attorney. However, they can be very persuasive in court. Further, the records from the hospital can often be released to the expert.
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