Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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In what circumstances are mental illnesses an issue in divorce?

A marriage is often a complex relationship. Many issues affect whether a marriage is successful or whether it is destined for divorce court. Some of these issues include financial instability, infidelity and differing religious beliefs. Another issue that may affect the success of marriage is mental illness.

It can be extremely difficult to cope when a spouse suffers from such an illness. At the same time, the person who is ill may feel that he or she has become a burden to the other spouse. In nearly all cases, the presence of a mental illness adds stress and anxiety to marriage.

Unfortunately, many of these marriages fail as a result. Florida is a no-fault state, which means that neither spouse must prove who is responsible for the marriage breakdown. To put a finer point on the subject, a person can seek a divorce in Florida because of a mental illness but need not report this reason to the court.

However, there are certain circumstances in which a spouse's mental illness is a serious divorce issue and should be addressed by the court. These circumstances include:

  • If the children of the marriage are at risk for abuse and/or neglect by the mentally ill spouse
  • If the ill spouse is a significant danger to your children or to you
  • If one spouse feels the other spouse will use a mental illness diagnosis as a tool to acquire spousal support

One of the most valuable benefits of working with a divorce attorney is being able to discuss these potential issues and others with a knowledge legal professional. This can protect you and your children regardless of whether your spouse has a mental illness or whether you are the one suffering from the illness.

Source: PairedLife, "Can a Psychiatric Diagnosis Hurt You in a Divorce?," accessed Jan. 11, 2018

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