PTSD characterized in part by sudden aggressive outbursts or sudden violence will be a major obstacle to a current or former service member’s chances of obtaining unsupervised visitation with his minor children, much less joint physical custody. The courts, as well as minor’s counsel, will put the children’s safety and freedom from emotional trauma ahead of all other considerations if they believe there is a risk that the member will “snap.” Once there has been a diagnosis of PTSD, the member must accept the diagnosis, however unfair it may seem, rather than go into denial. The way forward is to undergo all available psychotherapy and drug therapy, so that a solid mass of professional evidence is available that treatment has been willingly sought and successful. In short, any member with PTSD in his record must be prepared to prove to a skeptical judge that he or she is not going to harm children or anyone else.
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