Divorce can trigger or worsen symptoms of many mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. While you may find this a cause for worry, GoodTherapy notes that diagnosis alone cannot affect your rights to child custody or visitation.
Whether you or your ex-spouse live with any type of mental illness, you can practice a few tips that may improve post-divorce custody issues and protect the well-being of your children.
Create a routine
Creating a routine with your co-parent and children can reduce symptoms of anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. When everyone follows the routine, you can set certain expectations and worry less about experiencing a trigger that may cause an episode of mental imbalance.
Focus on the children’s needs
While practicing self-care is important to your well-being after a divorce, focusing on the physical, emotional and mental needs of your children can help distract you from racing thoughts or those of extreme anxiety. Ask your ex-spouse to sit down with you and list these needs and how you might work together to meet them. For example, if the court granted you both equal custody, drafting a plan for nesting and other co-parenting actions can prevent overthinking.
Attend family therapy
Enrolling your children in family therapy may help you manage your symptoms of mental illness and keep you balanced so you can parent more effectively. Invite your ex-spouse to attend and explain to your children the positive effects of therapy for everyone involved.
Allowing your mental illness to exist unchecked can lead to episodes of instability and a possible loss of child custody. While mental illness does not preclude poor parenting, it may increase the risk of negatively affecting the future of you and your family unit.