Divorce for people with mental illness has its problems. If you are struggling with mental illness or are considering divorcing someone who is struggling with their own mental health problems, you know that you are not alone. You can get through it. The process may be a little more complicated, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Mental illness can change the whole negotiation process and make it much more difficult to reach an agreement. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering divorcing a spouse with mental illness.
Tips on divorce for people with mental illness
There are many things to consider when dealing with mental health issues during divorce. The one thing that definitely won’t work is trying to get the other person to change. Mental health problems don’t just go away, especially if they were the root of problems in relationships.
Sometimes people divorce completely, thinking that their spouse’s mental illness does not affect the process. This is seldom, if ever, the case. Remember: you are divorcing the person you are married to. That person will be the same throughout the divorce process. It’s likely going to get worse, not better.
In my experience, I like to divide mental illnesses into different categories. It is important to clarify that I am not a psychiatrist. These categories are just some of the things I see in my practice.
Incompetence refers to someone who is so mentally ill that they cannot show up and attend the legal process. Sometimes they even have to be replaced by someone.
Sometimes this is because someone has schizophrenia or some other mental illness that makes it impossible for them to participate in the divorce process.
Character disorders can make certain people extremely difficult to deal with. Occasionally we find patients suffering from borderline personality disorder or narcissism (either at an extreme level or even just a little). Others suffer from manic depression or substance abuse.
There are so many ways that mental illness can make it difficult to negotiate with someone. Interestingly, of course, mental illness is the reason many couples get divorced in the first place.
Divorce is not an easy thing. If you’re divorcing someone with a mental illness, it can be even more difficult. Mental illness can make it harder to negotiate and even communicate with your ex-spouse. When children are involved, it can be even more difficult. For this reason, it is important to speak to a family law attorney who is experienced in dealing with mental health issues during divorce. It is also a good idea to speak to a therapist to help resolve your own mental health issues.
Remember, you are not alone in this difficult process. If you have any questions about the divorce of someone with a mental illness, or about divorce in general, contact a trusted lawyer. You can also click here to learn more about mental health during the divorce process.