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How Can Mental Health Issues Complicate a Divorce?

Mental health is something that many will struggle with throughout their lifetime. However, mental health issues do, unfortunately, impact some more than others. In these cases, it can place significant strain on their relationships. Unfortunately, this can lead to divorce in some instances, as a spouse may no longer have the means or ability to support the mental health issues of their partner. If you’re contemplating divorcing your spouse and they have a mental illness, you may not know how to proceed. Luckily, New Jersey divorce attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of this process. Read on to learn more about these unique circumstances.

Can I Proceed With a Divorce if My Spouse Has Mental Health Issues?

Many believe that if their spouse has a mental illness, they will not be able to proceed with the divorce process. This is because criminals can plead insanity or not guilty because of mental illness. However, this does not apply to divorce cases. If you want to file for divorce and your spouse has mental health issues, this will not allow them to avoid this process.

However, they may be granted additional protections by the courts. If your spouse resides in a mental health facility or cannot understand what is happening, the courts may grant them a guardian ad litem. This is essentially someone appointed to your spouse to help ensure their best interest is represented during your case.

How Will My Spouse’s Mental Illness Impact the Outcome of Our Divorce?

In general, a spouse with severe mental illness may impact the outcome of your divorce. One of the significant impacts will be on spousal support. If your spouse has difficulty holding down a job or cannot work due to their illness, you may be ordered to pay a larger share of alimony to help support them. A judge may also award them a slightly larger share of marital assets, depending on the circumstances of your case.

You may also find that your spouse’s mental illness can impact your custody arrangement if you have children. While suffering from mental health issues is not grounds for a judge to revoke a parent’s custody rights, they will consider a number of factors before issuing a decision. Generally, they will consider whether or not your spouse can provide a safe and stable home for the child and how severe their mental illness is.

Going through any divorce can be challenging for the parties involved. However, those divorcing spouses with mental illness may experience extreme guilt. As such, this may cloud your judgment. It’s in your best interest to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney from Lawrence Law to help you through these challenging times. Our dedicated and compassionate team can help you navigate the complexities of divorce so you can focus on healing. Contact us today to learn more.

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