Divorce and Mental Illness


Divorce and Mental Illness

mental illness and divorceAny divorce is likely to be difficult, but for those who are getting a divorce from a spouse who suffers from a mental illness, even more difficulties than usual can arise. Mental illness is a broad term used to describe those suffering from some form of psychopathology which makes the mind function differently from others. Some people may be diagnosed and treated with medication or therapy while others go undiagnosed.

Dangerous Minds, Dangerous Divorce

Whether the divorce is the result of a spouse’s mental illness or simply complicates the situation, these legal actions are likely to be fraught with difficulties. For example, you may want to use caution when divorcing someone who suffers from a mental illness. Mental illness can lead to aggressive and even dangerous behavior in some cases. Ensure you protect yourself and your children. Others who suffer from mental illness may slip into depression or even harm themselves when confronted with divorce. It is important to remember that you are not responsible for another’s actions, but it is also important to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to yourself or anyone else.

To protect yourself, keep careful records of the conversations you and your spouse have. This information can be invaluable if you need a restraining order, are fighting for sole custody or are taking some other form of legal action. It is important to remember that no one chooses to be mentally ill. While it can be frustrating and even scary, try to show compassion and understanding to your spouse throughout the process.

Is the Process for Divorce Different for Mentally Ill Spouses?

California is a no-fault divorce state which means there are no requirements to state why you want the divorce. Instead, you list either “inconsolable differences” or “incurable insanity” of one spouse. If you decide to state “incurable insanity” as the reason on your divorce papers, you will be required to prove that the insanity existed at the time of the divorce filing. At a minimum this means that you must provide expert witness medical testimony to the court. Filing for divorce on the grounds of “incurable insanity” is complex and time consuming. It may be beneficial if you are attempting to gain sole custody of the children, but it will have no effect on property division.

Because of the issues surrounding a divorce filing claiming “incurable insanity,” if you chose to use these grounds you may wish to hire an experienced divorce attorney like those at Men’s Legal Center. Our team of skilled divorce attorneys can help you determine the best approach to your divorce. We can also help you reach a fair divorce settlement, including negotiating with the other side. When facing the complex issues surrounding mental illness and divorce, always turn to the team at Men’s Legal Center.

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