Elkouri Heath, PLC


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Divorcing a Mentally Ill Spouse

 Posted on May 30, 2024 in Divorce

MI divorce lawyerGetting divorced is emotionally trying under the best circumstances because it represents a major life change. After living with your spouse for many years - happily or otherwise - becoming single again can be a lot to process. When your spouse has a serious mental illness that is not well-controlled, remaining married to him or her can become impossible. You may have a lot of complex emotions surrounding the divorce. You might struggle with feeling like you are abandoning him or her, even if you have tried everything to get your spouse the treatment he or she needs. Sometimes, getting a divorce is necessary to protect yourself and your children. You need an experienced Novi, MI divorce lawyer to help you legally cut ties with a mentally ill spouse.

Tips for Divorce When Your Spouse Has a Serious Mental Illness

The divorce process will likely be more complicated when you are trying to navigate it with someone who is too mentally ill to fully comprehend the proceedings. Some tips that may help include: 

  • Consider a protection order - If your spouse has violent tendencies or has threatened you or your children, getting a protection order can help you stay safe. Although your spouse may not comprehend the order or may be unable to follow its directions, having the order in place means that you can call the police and have your spouse removed quickly if he or she arrives at your home or workplace. You can urge the police to take your spouse for emergency mental health care instead of arresting him or her.
  • Do not attempt mediation - It is highly unlikely that someone with a major mental illness will be able to meaningfully participate in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. He or she may make unreasonable demands, fail to show up or have unrealistic expectations. Prepare to contest the divorce.
  • Involve social services - Your attorney may recommend bringing in social workers to get help for your spouse if he or she is unable to care for him or herself. Your spouse may need involuntary treatment, placement in a mental health facility, or a legal guardian to help him or her through the divorce if he or she is incapacitated. 
  • Get counseling for yourself and your children - You and your children may benefit from counseling to help you process your feelings and experiences dealing with your spouse’s mental illness. 

Contact an Oakland County, MI Divorce Attorney

Elkouri Heath, PLC is committed to helping people end their marriages to spouses with significant mental illnesses. Our dedicated Novi, MI divorce lawyers recognize the emotional aspects of divorce and take a holistic approach to family law proceedings. Contact us at 248-344-9700 for a complimentary consultation.

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