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Tag: mental health

When my BPD ex filed for divorce, she went silent on me (provocations, mixed or erratic social media behavior stopped). I counter filed for divorce. Now she’s back to old behavior, unblocked me, jealousy baiting me (bluffing). What is her goal?

If you described your wife accurately, she’s probably trying to do to you exactly what you suspect: annoy, worry, anger, embarrass, and provoke you. You’re wiser than most to ask 1) whether you should be concerned and if so, 2) what to do about it.

I just received the book “Splitting” by Randi Kreger, Bill Eddy, William Eddy, and I’ve heard it’s an excellent description of what is happening, why it is happening, and what you can and should do about it. Let me know if you read it and whether you found it helpful. I’d love to trade notes with you about it.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/When-my-BPD-ex-filed-for-divorce-she-went-silent-on-me-provocations-mixed-or-erratic-social-media-behavior-stopped-I-counter-filed-for-divorce-Now-shes-back-to-old-behaviour-unblocked-me-jealousy-baiting-me-bluffing/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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How can I reveal my soon-to-be ex as having NPD in our custody case?

How can I reveal my soon-to-be ex as having NPD in our child custody case?

You’re asking the wrong question. You shouldn’t be asking how you can prove your spouse has NPD (or some other mental or emotional disorder), but whether your spouse in some way unfit—due to mental illness or emotional disorder—to exercise custody of or parent-time with the children. 

There are so many people who believe that if he/she can prove that his/her spouse or the other parent merely suffers from a mental illness or emotional disorder he/she will somehow win the custody battle. 

It seems as though people believe that mental illness or emotional disorders automatically disqualify one from exercising custody or parent time (visitation) with one’s children. It’s not true. I don’t know where this misconception came from. 

First, merely having a mental or emotional disorder does not make one an unfit parent. Merely having a certain mental or emotional disorder or disorders does not automatically make one a danger to himself or to others. 

Second, even having a mental illness or emotional disorder that could render one a danger to himself or others does not mean that one cannot function as a fit parent. Many parents with serious mental and emotional disorders take medication to treat and manage those disorders successfully. Merely having a mental or emotional disorder (or other kinds of disabilities) does not automatically disqualify a parent as fit to exercise child custody and parent-time. 

Third, proving that one has a serious and disqualifying mental or emotional disorder or disorders is extraordinarily difficult. Diagnosis of many mental and emotional disorders is highly subjective. And if there isn’t associated seriously bad behavior to provide tangible, verifiable proof of actual serious harm resulting from suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders, then accusing a spouse or other parent of suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders essentially comes down to a matter of “your word against mine.” 

Fourth, even if a parent is self-absorbed, hot-tempered, hypocritical, etc., that doesn’t make the parent inherently unfit to exercise custody or parent-time. There are innumerable people suffering from some form of mental illness or personality disorder who still manage to function adequately in society. We may not know exactly why they’re so difficult to deal with, why they’re such jerks, why they won’t change, but they still meet minimum standards of behavior for normal society. 

Finally, accusing the other spouse or parent of suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders as a means of poisoning the opinion of the court against your spouse or other parent (and thereby obtain an advantage) can backfire. Making unsupported allegations comes across to courts as cheap shots (which they are). Unsupported allegations damage your credibility. It can make you look like the crazy and unstable one. It’s trendy to throw around these terms and accuse your spouse of suffering from NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or BPD (borderline personality disorder), or other defects and disabilities. Mere allegations are a dime a dozen. Mere allegations and uncorroborated stories of mental illness or ability disorders don’t usually get a court’s attention (false claims of child abuse and domestic violence, however, are a different story altogether). 

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277  

https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-reveal-my-soon-to-be-ex-as-having-NPD-in-our-child-custody-case/answer/Eric-Johnson-311  

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How do I stop being afraid of divorcing?

How do I stop being afraid of divorcing? I’m so scared. I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for 18 years. I have health issues. I don’t know if I can provide for myself.

Good on you for asking the question before you decide whether to jump into the deep end of divorce with both feet. Divorcing without having any idea whether it will do you and your family more harm than good rarely ends well. 

Most urgent question: If I stay married, does that put my life at risk, i.e., am I at serious risk of my spouse maiming or killing me? If the answer is yes, then you need to run, not walk, away now, get to safety from being killed, and worry about divorce and the aftermath later. No marriage is worth staying in, no spouse worth staying with, if your spouse is murderously violent. Even if leaving your spouse leaves you penniless at the moment, you can overcome that problem. It is not worth risking your life for material comforts. 

If your dysfunctional life/marriage is not life-threatening: then the answer to your question is, as a matter of fact, easy to find. The difficulty lies not in finding the answer, but summoning the courage and the will to act in accordance with the answer. 

How to analyze your situation. Here is a simple but highly clear and effective way to analyze your question to get to the answer used by Ben Carson. Dr. Carson is the former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and before that was one of the best neurosurgeons in the world. Before that, he grew up without a poor black child in the care of a mentally ill mother. He knows a little bit about problems and how to tackle them successfully. One of the ways to identify and choose acceptable risks is to ask yourself four questions, or do what Dr. Carson calls a Best/Worst Analysis (B/WA): 

  • What is the best thing that can happen if I do this? 
  • What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this? 
  • What is the best thing that can happen if I don’t do it? 
  • What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do it? 

Ask and answer key questions. Here are some (some, not all) of the questions you should ask in conducting your best/worst assessment: 

  • The question of why. Why am I contemplating divorce? Divorcing for the wrong reason(s) will almost surely result in divorce doing you (and your spouse and children) wrong. 
    • It’s not just good to ask why, it’s crucial. Undertaking anything without knowing why you are doing it (and whether you should) results in poor, haphazard preparation and planning, wasted time, effort, and money, unnecessary fear, and doubt, and flagging focus and motivation. “If you know the why, you can live any how.“ (Friedrich Nietzsche) 
    • A key “why” question: Am I hoping to “escape”? Let me explain what I mean. Taking pain pills to treat pain to help you heal better or faster from an illness or injury is good. Taking pain pills in an effort to escape the burdens of life only makes things (a lot) worse. 
    • If you see divorce or marriage as a means of escaping personal unhappiness, guilt, fear, weaknesses, etc., then you are thinking about divorce and marriage wrong. If you are broken and marriage or divorce is a necessary step you need to take toward repairing yourself, then you’re on the right track. But staying married or divorcing to avoid responsibility for yourself and your demons will only result in 1) your personal weaknesses and their consequences getting worse, and 2) causing your spouse and children unnecessary and unfair collateral damage. 
      • If you determine that divorce is an escape, research and find a good therapist or counselor to help you identify the real problems, the root of the problems, and what is needed to solve the problems. Taking that first step is, fortunately, easy. Once you’ve found someone competent, it really is as simple as making and keeping an appointment. The therapy itself will be as messy and upsetting as it is curative and restorative, but it is worth it. It is. 
  • Is it a question of can’t or won’t?: If you honestly conclude that you need to divorce, are you afraid to divorce because you can’t take care of yourself or because you don’t want to take care of yourself? If you can’t take care of yourself, divorce may not be practical (trading the misery of unhappy marriage for the misery of poverty just exchanges one form or misery for another). If you can take care of yourself, perhaps you are not afraid of whether you can make it on your own but afraid to go back to work and/or live a reduced lifestyle. 
    • If you can, and you are willing to do the work required, then figure out what is needed to achieve an single, independent, post-divorce life and the best way(s) to do so. 
    • Bare minimum you need to have in place to be an independent adult: 
      • church or other support system to help you get started and to guide you and encourage you (and remember: contribute as much or more than you “withdraw”; if your church gives you money or helps with groceries, then “pay it back” by volunteering, teach Sunday school, babysit your fellow parishioners’ kids sometimes, clean the chapel, help the pastor, visit the sick, etc. It will not only help keep your support system strong, it will help you be happier too, and you won’t feel like a moocher because you won’t be a moocher) 
      • a job or jobs that generate sufficient income to support your needs. 
      • budget 
      • shelter you can afford (with essential utilities and furnishings) 
      • food you can afford 
      • clothing you can afford 
      • bank or credit union account 
      • phone and phone plan 
      • health insurance 
      • driver’s license (even if you don’t yet own a car; you may be called upon to drive or rent a car sometimes) 
      • tool kit 
      • friend 
      • hobby (start with a library card) 
      • emergency (rainy day) fund

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277  

https://www.quora.com/Ive-never-asked-anything-on-here-before-How-do-I-stop-being-afraid-of-divorcing-just-do-it-Im-so-scared-Ive-been-a-SAHM-for-18-years-Any-advice-is-appreciated-I-have-health-issues-IDK-if-I-can-provide-for-myself/answer/Eric-Johnson-311  

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How do you stay strong while being alienated from your child?

Any way that works for you (without running afoul of God or the law of the land, of course).

Parental alienation is one of the most gut-wrenching miseries one can experience, and it is one of the hardest things to deal with, especially if you find yourself abandoned and rejected—even further victimized—by the people and institutions that ostensibly exist to protect us against lies, slander, deprivation of our rights, and overall justice. Sometimes justice is done, but far too rarely and it is often a day late and a dollar short.

Deal with it as best you can, find what works for you. Listen to other’s advice but find what works for you. We all deal with deep pain like this differently. You don’t deserve this, but you can all too rarely count on “the system” to help you. Lastly, parental alienation will drain the tanks of your dignity, character, decency, faith, and will power dry if you don’t take care to keep them filled. Don’t be afraid to lean on God, your friends, and family for a LOT of support. You’ll feel you’re asking too much. And at some points along this path, you likely will. But your Heavenly Father and your true friends will bear with you if you let them.

You’re not the first to experience indescribable injustice and pain, and like many before you who successfully clawed their way to healing and some happiness, you can too. You can. You owe it to yourself (and your innocent children).

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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Is filing for divorce altogether worth it despite the high cost and heavy emotional toll?

There are clearly circumstances that not only justify but may even necessitate a divorce. No one is bound to remain married too someone who threatens one’s life or physical safety with a life or physical safety of one’s children. No one is required to remain married to someone whose spouse causes one severe mental or emotional anguish. When divorce is a matter of life and death, most people consider the cost and heavy emotional toll to be worth paying. 

Many people divorce believing that the cause of their unhappiness or dissatisfaction or even depression is their spouse. Many of these people have an idealistic, unrealistic expectation of what a spouse should be and how a spouse should behave. Many people believe that if their spouses are not perfect, they are not worth living with. People who think like this and get divorce learn, too late unfortunately, that no spouse is perfect and that it is rather hypocritical for imperfect people to expect their spouses to be perfect. People who divorce under these circumstances are the ones who not only regret losing the companionship of a good and decent (though not perfect) person, and often pay a lifelong emotional (and often financial) price for their mistake. 

 Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277  

https://www.quora.com/Is-filing-for-divorce-altogether-worth-it-despite-the-high-cost-and-heavy-emotional-toll/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1 

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How do I expose a narcissist in family court?

Pretty much impossible. Why? Two big reasons, generally:

  1. Narcissists are masters of deception.
  2. Being a narcissist generally not terribly relevant, if relevant at all, to most issues in a divorce or other kind of domestic relations case. Bad behavior (abuse, neglect) is relevant, but having an unpleasant or difficult personality (even and exceedingly unpleasant or difficult personality) usually isn’t.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://narcismdisorde.quora.com/How-to-expose-a-narcissist-in-Family-Court?__nsrc__=4

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Custody order says mother and child can’t leave the state. Is that legal?

If custody order says mother and child are not allowed to leave the state, is there any chance the court would allow them to go on a vacation to another country if the father says no?

I cannot speak for all jurisdictions, but I can answer the question based upon the law where I practice divorce and family law (Utah):

First, if the court were to order a parent not to leave the state (just the parent, not the parent with the child), that would likely be held unconstitutional, as a civil court does not have the authority to infringe upon an individual’s right to travel without a compelling reason.

Second, if the court were to order a parent not to leave the state with the child, that may be within the court’s authority to do so, especially if:

  • there were evidence that you have tried to abscond with the child to a foreign country (whether the foreign country is beyond the reach of the Hague Convention) or are at risk of absconding with the child to a foreign country.
  • the custody award, such as a joint physical custody award, was conditioned upon the parties residing within a certain geographical distance of each other.

That stated, if:

  1. there is no concern about you absconding with the children to a foreign country, never to return;
  2. the foreign country to which you want to travel on vacation is not a dangerous place (i.e., a place where Americans are routinely kidnapped or killed and/or where there are wars, insurrections, and/or dangerous natural disasters occurring);
  3. there is no harm that a child would suffer by traveling with you internationally (such as a certain health or medical or mental health condition that makes international travel a serious danger to the child), I cannot see any reason why a court would deny you the right to travel to a foreign country on vacation; and
  4. there is no other compelling reason to deny you and the child(ren) the opportunity to vacation internationally,

I doubt that any court would bar you from travelling internationally with the child(ren).

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/If-custody-order-says-mother-and-child-are-not-allowed-to-leave-the-state-is-there-any-chance-the-court-would-allow-them-to-go-on-a-vacation-to-another-country-if-the-father-says-no/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

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Can the other parent send someone I’ve never met to pickups and drop-offs for our child?

Can the other parent send someone I’ve never met to pickups and drop-offs for our child?

Can the other parent send someone I’ve never met to pickups and drop-offs for our child when custody order only lists the parents? What would I file with the court to contest this? Would the court just add that person to the order?

Before I address your questions, I suggest you honestly examine the bases for your concerns. Are you honestly worried about this situation, or do you see an opportunity to denigrate your ex and make trouble for your ex in court?

So you’re asking at least three questions here.

First, can the other parent send someone you have never met to pick up or drop off your child when the court’s order states identifies no one other than the parents as the ones who pick up and drop off the child for custody and parent-time exchanges? The answer: If the order can be interpreted or construed to provide that the parents certainly can pick up and drop off, but that permission or authorization to pick up or drop off the child is not limited solely to the parents, then a parent can have someone else to pick up or drop off the child. On the other hand, if the order can be interpreted or construed to provide that permission or authorization to pick up or drop off the child is restricted solely to the parents, then you could argue that if one of the parents fails to pick up or drop off the child personally and instead sends someone else to pick up or drop off the child, that parent is violating the court’s order.

Your next question was: what would I file with the court to contest this? Well, obviously if the court order allows for persons other than the parents to pick up or drop off the child, there would be little point to complaining to the court about it unless you could demonstrate that the person or people the other parent is designating to pick up or drop off the child is harming, attempting to harm, or threatening to harm the child in some significant way.

If the court order prohibits persons other than the parents to pick up or drop off the child, you are wise to ask whether it’s worth the time, effort, hassle, risk, and money to do so if all the other parent is likely to do is file a motion or petition to authorize people other than the parents to pick up or drop off the child. If there is no statute in your jurisdiction that prohibits persons other than parents to facilitate custody or parent-time pickups and drop-offs, if the parent can show that he or she has a legitimate need for the help with pickups and drop offs, and if the person or persons who are not parents but who are picking up or dropping off the child is or are responsible adults who are doing a good job with pickups and drop-offs and doing neither the child nor the parent any harm, you need to ask yourself whether complaining to the court is fair and reasonable for you to do. If the only reason you want to complain is because you like to stir the pot and/or try to cause your ex trouble with the court, you should re-think that position.

https://www.quora.com/Can-parent-send-someone-Ive-never-met-to-custody-drop-off-and-pick-ups-of-our-child-when-custody-order-only-lists-the-parents-What-would-I-file-with-the-court-to-contest-this-Would-the-court-just-add-that-person-to/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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How exactly does shared custody work? Does the child end up being like that kid from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid”?

How exactly does shared custody work? Does the child end up being like that kid from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid”?

The child certainly can be like the child (Andrea) from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid,” if under a shared parenting arrangement 1) the child divides his/her time living with both the father and mother and 2) each parent wants the child to live only with him/her and tries to persuade the child to do so.

But shared custody (also known as joint custody or—when the child spends equal time with both parents—joint equal or 50/50 custody) does not inexorably condemn the child to have a “Suitcase Kid” experience, as long as the parents place the happiness and mental and emotional health of the child above the parents’ respective self-interest. Treat your child the way you would want to be treated, were you in the child’s shoes!

It’s not popular these days to state what we all know: the best thing a fit parent can do for a child is to rear that child in a family in which that parent is married happily to the child’s other parent. Short of that, the next best thing a fit parent can do for a child is to ensure the child is reared as much as possible by both parents. Children of fit parents love both parents and want to be loved and cared for by both parents as much as possible (duh). Do it for them! They deserve it. It’s the least that divorced or separated parents can do for their children.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/How-exactly-does-shared-custody-work-Does-the-child-end-up-being-like-that-kid-from-Jacqueline-Wilsons-The-Suitcase-Kid/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Divorcing parents in psychiatric care deny thoughts of self-harm?

Do parents in psychiatric care deny thoughts of self-harm for fear admitting it may impact custody? Is it common for a parent in psychiatric care to make false denials of thoughts of self-harm for fear that doing so may adversely impact parental rights, visitation, or shared custody?

Of course. Many times we justify withhold information by invoking “Some things are better left unsaid.”

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-common-for-a-person-in-psychiatric-care-to-intentionally-deny-thoughts-of-self-harm-for-fear-that-doing-so-may-impact-parental-rights-visitation-or-shared-custody-The-person-has-and-continues-to-be-a-dedicated/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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How does divorce affect you socially and mentally?

You will likely be (or feel like) a pariah for a while. You probably anticipated it, but it will still hit you harder that you expected and in ways you didn’t expect. Know that this too shall pass.

Many of your friends (or those you thought were friends) will avoid you—some because they’re unsure of how to treat you, others because they are disappointed in you. Try to understand and to forgive them.

Don’t be afraid to lean on your true friends at a time like this, if and when you need to. New friends will come into your life to fill the void left by those you lost. Be warned: many people know you’re vulnerable and some will try to take advantage of you, if you let them. Don’t let your need for new friends cloud your judgment as to what a real friend is and does.

You may question the foundations of virtually everything you know and believe. Keep things in perspective. The universe is not conspiring against you, God has not forgotten you, although it feels that way at times (a lot of times). You are not the first person to experience tribulation and trauma and you won’t be the last. Others have suffered worse and come out on the other side still able to function normally and to be happy. You can too. This too shall pass.

You may forget that it took a few years for you to adjust to married life and parenthood. And it wasn’t easy. Nor was it a daily ordeal. It will take you a few years to adjust to divorce and to single life again. This time will have its share of ups and downs. Forewarned is forearmed. You have made adjustments before. You can and will make adjustments again. Take it one day at a time.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/How-does-divorce-affect-you-socially-and-mentally/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Yes, they can be, under certain circumstances.

A common tactic in child custody disputes is to accuse the other parent of being mentally ill and a danger to the children. Courts are so accustomed to perfunctory allegations of mental illness being thrown around that courts often become jaded and skeptical, and as a result they sometimes won’t place much stock in such claims. So to those of you thinking that going off half-cocked and accusing your spouse of mental illness will give you a cheap, easy advantage, it won’t do you much good (and may undermine your credibility) without an actual diagnosis by a qualified neutral professional, at the very least.

But if a court does acknowledge a parent suffers from mental illness, then yes, there is frequently a bias against that parent. It’s not right, but to some extent, can you condemn them for such a bias? If one parent suffers from no disabilities and the other does (mental and/or physical), right there you have a difference that certainly does the disabled parent no favors in the child custody analysis.

Many people fear mental the mentally ill because they don’t understand mental illness (and have little interest in gaining a greater understanding), so when one does not understand and fears something, one tends avoid that thing. Courts thus often mistreat a mentally ill parent because those courts A) don’t know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody and B) don’t really want to know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody.*

*Note, however, that some judges and other judicial officers suffer from an unusually high incidence of mental health issues (depression and other mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction, etc.) and in those cases they may be hypersensitive to reckless allegations that mental illness = parental unfitness.

So if you suffer from mental illness, and if the court expresses concern about it, and if you can prove your mental illness does not pose a threat to the well-being of the children, then bury the court in useful data and facts that prove this six ways from Sunday. Merely trying to reason with someone who doesn’t understand or care to understand mental illness is not enough. Give’em so much evidence that they can’t rule any other way without knowing they’ll be overturned on appeal. Yes, it’s very expensive and requires great and sustained effort. That’s the way it goes. There’s no easier way.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Are-family-courts-biased-against-parents-with-diagnosed-mental-illness-when-deciding-custody-agreements/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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“No guns in the house until child is 18” order reversed

Family court to father: No guns in the house until child is 18

Washington Post

By Eugene Volokh March 17, 2015

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/03/17/family-court-to-father-no-guns-in-the-house-until-child-is-18/?utm_term=.ef6b700d1996

But last week’s In re Parentage of M.A.R.R. (Ill. Ct. App. Mar. 11, 2015) reversed the order. Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Andrea and Kurt were never married, but they have a now-2-year-old daughter, M.A.R.R. After the parents split up, the trial court eventually gave custody of M.A.R.R. to Kurt.
  2. But Kurt had a gun collection — four pistols, one shotgun, and six rifles. “The guns are kept in a safe in his bedroom, and the door to his bedroom has a key pad access code on it. He keeps his bedroom door locked when the children are around.”

With regard to Kurt’s gun collection, in its letter opinion the trial court noted that Kurt, Andrea and both of Andrea’s parents testified that guns were kept in a locked safe in a closet and behind a locked door to Kurt’s bedroom. Although Andrea’s father testified that he once saw a gun in the garage, the court found that he had no specific information about this incident and no one else corroborated it.

However, then the court found that it did “not wish to minimize the concern it has for the child’s safety, and finds that it is not in the best interests of a child to have multiple guns and ammunition in a home.” In the judgment order, the court ordered Kurt to remove all guns and ammunition from his home within 24 hours and ordered that guns were not permitted back into the home at any time until the child has attained the age of 18.

  1. Kurt appealed, arguing, in relevant part, that the no-guns order was unjustified and violated the Second Amendment. Andrea appealed, arguing in part that one of the custody factors, “the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, favors her because while there was no expert testimony of Kurt’s mental health, [his gun collection, among other things,] indicates that he has mental health issues and is a risk to M.A.R.R. We are not persuaded.”
  2. The court quickly rejected this argument of Andrea’s, holding that “the fact that he legally collected guns has no bearing on his mental health status.” And it accepted Kurt’s argument that he shouldn’t have been ordered not to possess guns. (Note that the order, in context, seemed to have been a condition of getting custody — if he chose to keep the guns, then presumably the trial court would have given custody to Andrea.)

Kurt’s last argument is that the trial court erred when it ordered him to remove all guns and ammunition from his home within 24 hours and prohibited him from having guns brought back into his home until M.A.R.R. had attained the age of 18. In support of his contention, he claims: (1) there is no evidence in the record to justify this order; and (2) the order violates his Second Amendment right to bear arms.

We need not address Kurt’s constitutional issue because, based upon the evidence presented at trial, we hold that the trial court erred by inserting this clause into the judgment order. See Mulay v. Mulay, 225 Ill. 2d 601, 607 (2007) (as a general rule, courts will address constitutional issues only as a last resort, relying whenever possible on nonconstitutional grounds to decide cases).

In its letter opinion, the trial court noted that extensive testimony was given regarding Kurt’s collection of guns. It acknowledged that Kurt, Andrea, and both of Andrea’s parents testified that the guns were kept in a locked safe in a closet located behind a locked door to Kurt’s bedroom. Although the court noted that Andrea’s father testified that he thought he once saw a gun in the garage, it also said that the father had no specific information about the gun, and that no one else at trial corroborated that incident. Nevertheless, the court went on to find that it was not in the child’s best interests to have multiple guns and ammunition in a home.

Based upon the evidence presented at trial, as well as the trial court’s own specific findings, it was not reasonable for the court to place such a restriction on Kurt’s lawful possession of ammunition or guns without any evidence of danger to the child. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s ruling on this issue …

 

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and an intensive editing workshop at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, tort law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.


Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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