Divorcing someone with mental illness has its struggles. If you are struggling with mental illness, or are considering divorcing someone who is struggling with their own mental health issues, know that you are not alone. You can get through it. The process may be a bit more complicated, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Mental illness can change the whole negotiation process, making it much more difficult to reach an agreement. Here are some things to consider if you are thinking of divorcing a spouse with mental illness.
Tips on Divorcing Someone With Mental Illness
There are many things to take into consideration when dealing with mental health issues during divorce. The one thing that is definitely not going to work is trying to get the other person to change. Mental health issues do not simply just disappear, particularly if they were at the root of the issues in the relationships.
Sometimes, people come into a whole divorce proceeding thinking that their spouse’s mental illness will not affect the proceedings. This is rarely – if ever – the case. Remember: you’re divorcing the person that you’re married to. That person is going to be the same throughout the divorce process. It’s probably going to be worse, not better.
In my experience, I like to divide mental illness into separate categories. It is important to clarify that I am not a mental health professional. These categories are simply some of the things that I see in my practice.
Incompetence refers to someone who is so mentally ill that they are not able to show up and participate in the legal proceedings. Sometimes they even need to have someone substituted in for them.
Sometimes this is because someone may have schizophrenia or other kind of mental illness that makes it impossible for them to participate throughout the divorce process.
Character disorders can make certain people extremely difficult to deal with. We occasionally find patients that suffer from borderline personality disorder or narcissism (either at an extreme level or even just a little bit). Others suffer from manic depression or substance abuse.
There are so many ways in which mental illness makes it difficult to negotiate with someone. Interestingly, of course, mental illness is the reason that many couples divorce in the first place.
Divorce is not an easy thing to go through. When you’re divorcing someone with mental illness, it can be even more difficult. Mental illness can make it harder to negotiate and even communicate with your ex-spouse. If children are involved, it can be even trickier. This is why it is important to speak to a family law attorney who has experience dealing with mental health issues during divorce. Speaking to a therapist to work through your own mental health issues is also a great idea.
Remember that you are not alone during this difficult process. If you’ve got any questions about divorcing someone with a mental illness or divorce in general, contact a trusted attorney. You can also click here to read more about mental health during the divorce process.