How Does A Spouse's Mental Health Affect Filing For A Divorce?
About one out of every five adults in the United States are living with some kind of mental illness. If you happen to be married to an individual that has a mental illness, it can definitely put a strain on the relationship. In the event you do decide that you need to get a divorce, whether or not the mental illness is involved with your decision, it can mean there will be a few things different about divorce proceedings to consider. Make sure you have a good divorce attorney who is familiar with working with clients that are in a relationship with someone who has a mental illness. Here are a few other things you should know.
Your spouse's mental health could affect property division.
Most judges do try to keep things fair when it comes to dividing marital property, but having a spouse with mental health issues can come into play when those decisions are made. In many states, the judge must take into consideration how well each individual can support themselves or how they can obtain property. If your spouse's condition leaves them in a state in which they are unable to work and earn a living, they may get more of a share of the marital property than you. This is why it is extremely important to work with a divorce attorney that can help you make sure you are not left with too little.
Your spouse's mental health will be considered during child custody decisions.
Naturally, child custody is going to be involved with your divorce proceeding if you have children, and even this part of the divorce can be affected by your spouse's mental health. Many divorcing spouses are surprised to learn that mental health issues have to be disclosed, even if it is just something as simple as depression or anxiety because it can affect a person's ability to take care of the child all on their own.
Your spouse's mental health could mean you are more likely to have to pay spousal support.
If you have been the primary provider for your spouse because they have been unable to work due to their mental illness, do not be surprised if the other spouse's attorney asks for spousal support. Depending on what state you live in and the laws in your area, you may be responsible for continuing to provide financial support for the individual even if you are no longer together.
For more information, reach out to a local divorce attorney.