What to know about mental health issues & divorce?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. That said, mental health issues can significantly impact a marriage. Sadly, such cases frequently result in divorce because spouses cannot cope with their partner’s illness. If you are seeking a divorce and your spouse suffers from a mental health issue, contact a knowledgeable Nassau County Divorce Attorney who can help you navigate your legal options.
Can my spouse’s mental health issues prevent me from obtaining a divorce?
Firstly, when you are filing for divorce, you must disclose the grounds for divorce, meaning the reasoning for the union’s demise. In New York, you can pursue a divorce from your spouse based on fault or no-fault grounds. If you seek a no-fault divorce, neither you nor your spouse are blaming each other for the cause of the dissolution of marriage and do not need to cite grounds. Instead, you are pleading that irreconcilable differences led to the marriage breakdown. However, if you choose to pursue an at-fault divorce, you are essentially attributing one spouse’s actions as the cause of the divorce and must cite one of the fault grounds recognized by the state of New York as the reason for the marriage breakdown. In many states, insanity is listed as a legal ground for divorce. Therefore, if you can prove your spouse’s mental health issue caused the marriage’s breakdown, you can file for an at-fault divorce.
As mentioned above, you can cite insanity as grounds for divorce. That said, you nor your spouse can avoid a divorce by pleading insanity. Your spouse’s mental health issues will not prevent you from obtaining a divorce. However, it is critical to note that if their mental health issues are severe, they will likely be entitled to certain protections under the law. This is particularly true if your spouse is housed in a mental health facility and their illness has been deemed as incurrable. The court recognizes the need to protect individuals with serious mental health illnesses during divorces to ensure their interests are represented and fairly considered due to their particular circumstances.
How can it affect divorce orders?
When a spouse suffers from mental health issues, it can impact every aspect of a divorce including support, custody, and property division. In most divorces, alimony is awarded to one spouse to provide needed financial support. In divorces where one spouse has mental health issues, the court may award additional spousal support or a larger share of marital property if their illness prohibits them from working or makes it difficult to hold employment to support themselves. However, it is vital to understand that mental health issues will not relinquish you from your child support obligations as parents despite their mental health status must provide for their children.
Furtheremore, mental health issues can affect whether you are granted custody of your children. The court will evaluate several factors to determine a decision that is in a child’s best interest. Therefore, if a child’s parents mental illness endangers the well-being of a child, they will not be granted custody or receive parenting time.
For more information on how we can assist you when divorcing a spouse with mental health issues, contact a skilled attorney from The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. today.