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Father's PTSD alleged factor in child custody case

Some of the people in New Hampshire who chose to join the military did not return in the same condition. Some suffered physical injuries, but many also face long-term mental health issues, including the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. While many are able to manage these issues through the help of mental health professionals and other tools, one veteran in another state claims that his PTSD diagnosis was recently used against him in a child custody case.

The man's issues with PTSD occur from a 2003 incident that occurred while he was serving as a marine in Iraq. As a result, he receives full benefits, but he has no history of violence. He will not discuss the details of the event that led to his PTSD with anyone other than mental health professionals treating him. When he and his wife divorced in 2007, they agreed to share custody of their three children. However, she recently filed for full custody, allegedly citing his PTSD as a reason.

Court records indicate that the relationship between the two parents became "toxic," and both are said to share blame for ongoing disputes. When ordered by the court to sign a document that would allow the release of his mental health records, the father declined, instead providing the court with a signed statement from his psychologist confirming his diagnosis and stating that he was not a risk to his children or himself. The judge in the case ultimately considered the lack of records in his decision.

While a court is tasked with balancing the children's best interests with a parent's right to privacy, the father in this case claims that the medical records are not necessary to prove that he is a quality parent. The judge ultimately upheld the parents' shared custody agreement. Claiming that they parents were unable to co-parent, however, final legal authority was given to the children's mother.

Unfortunately, a child custody case often involves protecting a person's parental rights as well as the best interests of the children. In order to pursue a favorable outcome, parents in New Hampshire often seek help from an attorney who is familiar with family law. Such a professional can help them take the necessary steps to protect a mother or father's relationship with his or her children.

Source: 12news.com, "Can military vet's PTSD records be used against him in child custody dispute?", Joe Dana, July 25, 2017

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