Authors: Carolyn Quadrio, NSW
Event: 2006 TheMHS Conference
Subject: The Law, the Family & Mental Illness
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This paper will examine the issues of assessing families going through the Family Law Court in cases of disputed residence of the children where one or both parents have a mental illness. The issues that will be addressed are:
1. Mental status of the parent may not relate simply to parenting capacity. Thus, recommendations made when only one parent has been assessed are limited. It is the capacity of one parent relative to the other that is at issue.
2. When a treating clinician is asked to report on a parent, there is a dilemma between the role of therapist/advocate for the parent versus child protection issues. Often the treating clinician has had limited or perhaps no contact with the children and/or the other parent.
3. These children are highly vulnerable, they are coping with: the trauma and distress of family breakdown; the legal process; and the ongoing difficulties of having one or two parents with mental illness.