If you are in an unhappy marriage, perhaps aspects of the relationship
have caused you to feel angry, hopeless, or even depressed. It is not
uncommon for people in hollow marriages to experience situational depression,
or in more chronic cases, feelings of sadness may progress into full-blown
According to the
National Institute of Mental Health, “Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression)
is a common but serious mood disorder.” If you’ve experienced
depression personally, you know that it can affect the way you think and
feel, and it can affect:
- Taking care of your home
- Taking care of your family
In order for someone to be diagnosed with depression, they must have experienced
symptoms for at least two consecutive weeks. When a spouse is on the receiving
end of verbal abuse, physical abuse, controlling and manipulative behavior,
constant belittling, or even stonewalling, where a spouse shuts the other
spouse out, it’s understandable how a spouse in this situation may
Sometimes even, depressive symptoms are brought on when one discovers that
their beloved spouse is having an affair – and that can be emotionally
debilitating. So, what happens if you are depressed – because of
your marriage or for another reason – and your spouse uses the fact
that you’re on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to try
and get the children?
“You’ll never get the kids because you’re a drug addict,”
or “The judge will never let you have the kids because of your depression,”
or “You’re mentally insane, you’ll lose custody of the
kids and I will get them.” Unfortunately, spouses frequently make
these types of threats. They know their spouse has been diagnosed with
depression or another mental disorder and they try to use that against
them, either to keep them from filing for divorce, or to scare them during
the divorce process.
Can You Lose Custody?
If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression and you have sought
professional help, then you have a strong case. Will the judge listen
to your spouse’s claims that you’re an unfit mother or father?
Yes, more than likely. Concerned about your children’s best interests,
most judges would be interested in what your spouse has to say.
While taking antidepressants in itself should not preclude you from getting
custody of your children, you may need to show the court that:
- You are taking the medication as lawfully prescribed.
- The depression is not interfering with your ability to parent.
Clearly, if you were depressed and you sought help, that shows that you
were proactive and took initiative. That alone shows that you care about
yourself and your family. If your spouse is bullying you, and using your
depression to keep you from filing for
divorce, we urge you to
contact our firm to meet with one of our
Denver divorce attorneys.