Divorce and Your Spouse’s Mental Health Concerns


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Divorce is a complicated legal event and an emotionally draining life event. If you have come to the very difficult decision that you are ready to move forward with divorce – and your spouse has mental health issues – the matter is likely to be that much more difficult. Better understanding what to expect, however, can help.

You Are Not Alone

Mental illness is not something about which people like to talk. In fact, there is a definite stigma attached. However, sweeping the matter under the carpet is not likely to do you, your divorce, or your children any favors. In reality, mental illness is likely far more common than you realize. Consider the following statistics related to mental health in the United States that are forwarded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • One in five adults experiences some form of mental illness each year.

  • 1 in 20 adults experiences a serious form of mental illness each year.

  • In 2019, almost four percent of those who suffered from mental illness also experienced a concurrent substance abuse issue.

In other words, you are not alone, and seeking the professional legal counsel you need is very well advised.

The Effects of Mental Illness on a Marriage

Mental illness and mental health issues can take myriad forms, but they can affect a marriage in specific negative ways, including the following consequences:

  • The inability to earn (or the inability to earn at one’s actual capacity)

  • Financial irresponsibility or even recklessness

  • Emotional or physical abuse

  • Emotional retreat from the marriage

  • Extramarital affairs

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Any one of these can significantly contribute to or cause marital collapse.

Your Own Emotional State

In reality, coping with a mentally unwell spouse can take an immense emotional toll on you. Ultimately, deciding that it is time to divorce your spouse when he or she is likely at his or her most vulnerable can elicit all of the following emotional challenges for you:

  • Immense guilt

  • A sense of loss

  • Concern about your spouse’s future

  • Concern about your children’s ongoing relationship with your ex once the divorce is finalized

You did not make the decision to divorce lightly, and it is important not to allow yourself to become mired in the emotional quagmire that is poised to take you down. Preserving your own health and well-being is important for you and your children, so facing these emotional roadblocks with determination and purpose is key.

Look to an Experienced Killeen Family Law Attorney

Divorcing a spouse with a mental health issue can be exceptionally difficult – both emotionally and logistically. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, however, is a compassionate family law attorney committed to helping you find the best path forward in relation to your unique situation. For more information about how we can help you specifically, please do not hesitate to contact us at 254-501-4040 today.

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