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Mental Health and Family Law


While divorce can be emotionally challenging and draining, it is intensified for clients facing the breakup of a relationship with a partner who has a serious mental illness or personality disorder. If a parent is unwell, there may be an impact on his or her ability to manage the challenges of daily family life. Additionally, affected parents may be unaware of their child's needs or the risk of harm to the child. The mental health and well-being of the children and adults in a family where a parent is mentally ill are intimately linked.

It is important that your legal counsel be able to think beyond a diagnosis and inquire as to whether there is any nexus between a parent's serious mental illness and his or her ability to parent. It is essential to examine how the manifestation of a serious mental illness impacts daily functioning as a parent. It is especially important to reach an understanding of how a parent’s mental health affects a child, whether the child feels safe and whether the parent's mental illness is resulting in potential long-term effects on the child.

In cases where domestic violence is a factor, whether as a result of a mental health issue or the result of a power and control dynamic, Varnum's family law attorneys are sensitive to the needs of clients who need to successfully negotiate a safe exit from an abusive relationship. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of personal protection orders (PPOs).

Varnum's Family Law Team has deep knowledge and experience in handling these sensitive issues while remaining passionate advocates for you. Our team is dedicated to navigating these potentially high-conflict cases with our clients and finding solutions that work for parents and children.

For more information, please contact either your Varnum attorney, or Mark Hills at 616/846-0687 or

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