Unless you are a psychologist, counselor or medical doctor, chances are you are not aware what Cluster B behaviors are. They are defined as a group of personality disorders characterized by overly emotional, dramatic or unpredictable behavior or thinking. Some of the disorders that fall under this category are borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. While it is completely possible for people that suffer from these types of disorders to live a relatively normal life, a diagnosis of a Cluster B behavior disorder can play an important role in a child custody battle.
Personality disorders affect roughly 15 percent of adults, of which 9 percent suffer from Cluster B specific disorders. Cluster B personality disorders are commonly called relationship wreckers, and many people that suffer from these disorders end up in family court or facing divorce.
For individuals divorcing a spouse they know or suspect suffers from a Cluster B behavior disorder, making the family court aware of it may impact how custody is determined. While either spouse may ask for a mental health evaluation, it may not be something both spouses want to endure. However, if one spouse can show reason that custody should not be automatically awarded jointly, a judge may make the recommendation for a mental health evaluation for one or both parents.
A parent’s Cluster B behaviors can be emotionally damaging for children and should be considered when determining custody and visitation. While many adults seek professional help to manage their mental health, some do not. For individuals concerned about their child’s well-being with a parent that suffers from one of these disorders, speaking to a trusted family law attorney may help.