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How To Best Co-Parent With Someone Who Is Bipolar

Posted by Mattis Law, A.P.C. on September 20, 2022 in Child Custody

Bipolar disorder is a very complex mental illness that can have serious effects on a person’s everyday life. Mood swings are prevalent, and can often make the person extremely unpredictable and volatile.

If you have concerns regarding co-parenting with somebody who is suffering from bipolar disorder, it is wise to seek the advice of an attorney to create a situation that benefits everyone.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by intense and rapid mood swings. These mood swings can incite behavior that the person normally wouldn’t engage in, often having a detrimental effect on the people around them. It is generally thought to be the result of a chemical imbalance within the brain, and can also be hereditary.

There are two main symptoms of bipolar. Depression is a state of low mood, sadness, and apathy, often with a struggle to do things they normally enjoy or to even get out of bed in the mornings. Mania is a state comparable to a “high”. Often feelings of energy, recklessness, intense anger, and a loss of impulse control can be felt during this state.

How To Deal With a Bipolar Co-Parent

While co-parenting with someone who has bipolar can be daunting, there are things that you can do that will make the process smoother. Consider the following if you are co-parenting.

Set boundaries. Both you and your child should set boundaries with the bipolar parent. If something is making you uncomfortable or upset, tell them. Setting boundaries prevents previous disruptive behavior from occurring again.

Be a calming presence. Often a child can be overwhelmed by the extreme mood swings of their bipolar parent, especially if there is mania involved. Make a special effort to be the calm and balanced anchor in your child’s life. This will help them to deal with the highs and lows of the other parent a lot more easily, and provide them with some much-needed stability.

Talk to your child about mental health: Have open and honest conversations with your child about mental health and mental illness. This will help them to understand what is going on. It can also be a space in which they can express themselves and how they feel within this situation.

What Happens if You Divorce?

If divorce seems like the only option for you and your bipolar co-parent, you might be wondering how mental illness will affect divorce proceedings. During the proceedings and before any settlements, if you can prove that the bi-polar renders the other parent unfit to care for the child, you can receive a temporary child custody order.

From there, if you carry this proof that it is unsafe for the child to be around the bipolar parent into custody negotiations, then you may be awarded full custody. If the judge deems the bipolar disorder to be managed enough for supervised visitation or partial custody, then this may be awarded to the bipolar parent.

It is ultimately about the safety of the child, and if you have legitimate concerns and can provide evidence, then the court will take this into account.

We Can Help You

Co-parenting with someone who is bipolar can be stressful, and cause large amounts of worry regarding the safety of your child. If you have questions or concerns regarding co-parenting or divorcing someone who is bipolar, contact an experienced attorney at Mattis Law, A.P.C. today.

A child custody lawyer can help you to gather evidence and guide you through negotiations to create the best outcome for your child. Contact us today at (858) 328-4400 so we can help your case.

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