Raising a child when you have bipolar

I have son who is 41.  He has Bipolar. His ex wife just died and he has custody of 15 year old girl.  A relative wants to have Guardianship over his daughter.  If they pursue this what are his chances of being able to take care of her. They are seeking consul from Lawyer.  I want him to move on because his daughter is always in the middle of all of this.  Please help me.


This question is not such an easy one to answer. There are so many variables here that it is hard to separate the black from the white, because in all reality, there is MUCH gray!

Much depends on your sons mental status and ability to function. Is he able to take care of a 15yr old? Does the relative have just cause to take the child away from him? And overall, what is best for her? Is it to be with her father/step father? Or do you believe the relative would provide a better life and future for her?

Those are all the things the court is going to consider. First and foremost they will want the child with a parent, but if the parent is unfit they will most likely seek a close relative. It will definitely be a long drawn out custody battle. One that could be avoided by sitting down and discussing what is best for HER. This situation isn’t about your son or her relative. It’s about her. She should be placed in a home that will help her thrive. Is her father that home?

It really is a sticky situation. I myself have bipolar and I worried a bit about whether my kids could be taken away if I applied for disability. When I spoke with someone about it they assured me that this probably wouldn’t be the case.

I do wonder if anyone has asked what the daughter wants? I’m sure at the age of 15 she has some sort of opinion. Though I’m also sure if she feels like she’s in the middle of a tug of war battle, she is unlikely to share it. I really do feel for her, especially after just losing her mother. I hope they are able to come to some sort of arrangement for her. She is going to need proper care after going through something like this.

As for who that proper care is, I wish I could give you a cookie cutter answer. But I don’t know the father and I don’t know the relatives. Is a bipolar parent ABLE to provide and take care of a child? ABSOLUTELY! I believe I do an awesome job taking care of my children. HOWEVER, I also do an awesome job of taking care of myself. That alone is the key to being a parent with this illness. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, it’s not fair to your children to be trying to take care of them while you’re unstable. Of course this is just my opinion. But it also happens to be a very strong one.

My children ARE the reason I take care of myself. (Well there are other reasons, but they are the number 1!) I think if your son is capable of taking care of himself, then he should definitely get the chance to take care of his daughter as well!

One thought on “Raising a child when you have bipolar

  1. I feel the need to respond to this. this is a very good question. I am bipolar. When me & my ex-husband went thru our divorce 4yrs ago, he faught me for custody of my daughter. Now at the same time I had just been diagnosed with bipolar and was still in the process of getting stabilized. This is the very important parts. His attorney flat out stated that I was mentally unstable to take care of her. Luckily our divorce took a year to get thru the court systems. By the time it actually got in front of a judge I had found the right drug “cocktail” & I had been stable for a while. My attorney assured me as long as I was keeping my doctor appointments, doing everything the doctor said, taking all my medicines & showing everyday that I was in fact stable that my husbands case would not stand up in court. By the time we got in front of a judge his attorney had even dropped that tactic out of his defense because he knew he didnt have a case, because I was stable. As long as you are STABLE (that is the VERY important part) then there is really no case against you as far as bipolar is concerned, at least that is the advise my attorney gave me. Also, my ex husband occationally over the last 4 yrs has threatened to take me back to court for different reasons to fight me for custody again (non related to bipolar). So when I filed for disability, this last year I, like marybeth, was terrified that he would use that to get custody of her. “If I’m too unstable to work, then I’m too unstable to take care of her” but I was assured that is not the case. that is not what it means, that is not how they look at it at all.

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