In this month’s blog the family law department are taking a closer look at World Maternal Mental Health Day. This day is observed every year on the first Wednesday of May, with the aim of raising awareness about the mental health challenges that mothers face during and after pregnancy. The day provides an opportunity to shed light on the importance of maternal mental health and the impact it has on both the mother and child.

Universally motherhood is considered to be a joyful and fulfilling experience for many women, but it can also be a challenging and overwhelming journey, especially for those who struggle with mental health issues. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental health disorder, primarily depression and anxiety.

A mother’s mental health can have a significant impact on court proceedings under the Children Act 1989. The Act sets out the legal framework for determining child custody and access arrangements in cases where parents cannot agree on their own. When making decisions about child custody and access, the court’s primary consideration is the welfare of the child.

If a mother has a mental health condition, the court will consider how this may affect her ability to provide adequate care for the child. In some cases, the court may decide that the mother’s mental health condition poses a risk to the child’s welfare. This could result in limitations being placed on whether the child should live with the mother or even see their child. Alternatively, the court may require the mother to undergo treatment or therapy to address her mental health condition before allowing access to the child.

However, it is important to note that a mother’s mental health condition alone does not automatically disqualify her from being granted custody or visitation rights. Instead, the court will consider a range of factors, including the severity of the condition, the mother’s ability to manage her condition, and the level of support available to her.

In some cases, a mother’s mental health condition may be used against her by the other parent to argue for custody or visitation rights. This can be a particularly challenging situation for the mother to navigate, as she may feel that her mental health condition is being unfairly stigmatised or used as a weapon against her. It is important for mothers in this situation to seek legal advice and support to help them protect their rights and the welfare of their child.

World Maternal Mental Health Day serves as a reminder of the importance of maternal mental health and its impact on both the mother and child during family court proceedings. We at Hubbard Pegman and Whitney want to assist all those that need our help and we seek to provide mothers with the necessary support and resources during this time.

If you need any advice regarding you and your child, get in touch with us today. Currently, we are offering a free initial telephone consultation with our family team for new enquires. During this call we will tell you what we can do next to get started. Give our family solicitors a call now for a friendly chat on 020 8735 9772 or email


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