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What You Need to Know About Divorce and Mental Illness or Health Issues

 Posted on February 17, 2023 in Divorce

DuPage County Divorce LawyerDivorce can be an emotionally difficult process, and when mental illness is involved, it may become even more complex. Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can drastically affect the approach taken during divorce proceedings, and they may influence the outcome of a case and play a role in decisions about child custody, financial support arrangements, and other issues. If you are planning to get a divorce, and your spouse has a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness or other health issues, it is important to understand your rights. By seeking representation from an experienced family law attorney who is knowledgeable about the legal implications of these cases, you can protect your interests and determine the best ways to resolve any disputes you may encounter. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we can help address these concerns during the divorce process, and we are prepared to fight for your rights and interests as you work to end your marriage successfully.

Mental Illness and Divorce: What You Need to Know

When it comes to divorce, mental illness can be a complicating factor. During divorce proceedings, mental health conditions or other health concerns may affect decisions concerning child custody, financial support, and other issues that must be resolved before your marriage can be legally dissolved. Understanding how to address these issues correctly can be crucial, and whether your spouse has a mental or physical illness or you have been diagnosed with a condition that could affect your divorce, you will need to determine the best ways to address any concerns you may face.

In certain circumstances, a spouse who is suffering from a mental health condition may be declared mentally incompetent. This may be an issue to address in situations where there are concerns that a person is incapable of making sound decisions about their own well-being or the welfare of their children. If a spouse is judged mentally incompetent, a legal guardian may be named who can make decisions on their behalf, and an attorney can represent them during legal proceedings and advocate for their rights and interests.

The court may order psychological evaluations for one or both spouses if there is evidence that either party has an underlying mental health issue that could affect their ability to provide care for children or manage finances responsibly during or after the divorce process. These assessments, which are conducted by licensed psychologists who have an understanding of how mental health issues may affect family law matters, provide comprehensive reports on a spouse's emotional state and capabilities. This information can be pivotal when it comes to determining how assets will be divided between spouses during property division proceedings, how parents will share custody of their children, whether either spouse will pay financial support to the other, and other divorce-related issues.

How Mental Illness Can Impact Child Custody Decisions

When considering how to address issues related to child custody, the mental health of the parents can be a key consideration. Any potential risks posed by one parent’s mental health condition may be taken into account when determining what arrangement would best serve the interests of the child. For example, if one parent has a history of substance abuse or violent behavior due to their mental illness, this could lead to restrictions being placed on their parenting time. In certain cases, a court may dictate that visits be monitored in order to guarantee the safety of the child while with their parent.

The court may also consider whether mental health issues may affect a parent's ability to provide for their children both financially and emotionally. If a parent suffers from depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder that affects their ability to work or limits their ability to care for themselves, this could influence decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. A parent who is mentally or physically unable to fully meet children's needs may be subject to limits on the amount of time children will spend with them or live in their homes. A parent's income-earning capacity may also be considered when making decisions about child support, and if their illness has affected their ability to work, their financial obligations toward their children may be reduced.

Financial Implications of Mental Illness During Divorce

The mental health of one or both parties may have implications on the financial settlements negotiated during the divorce process. In some cases, one spouse’s mental health or their physical condition may be taken into consideration when determining how assets will be divided or whether spousal support will be awarded. These issues can be especially significant if a spouse's mental illness has caused economic hardship for either party.

If one spouse has been unable to work full-time because of a mental health issue, they may ask for spousal support. This form of support may be awarded if a spouse needs financial assistance in order to meet their ongoing needs, and it is meant to ensure that both parties can maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while married after they complete the divorce process. A spouse who experiences financial disadvantages due to a mental illness may be able to receive ongoing financial support, and when determining the amount that will be paid, the court may also take into account any additional costs associated with treating the condition, such as medication or therapy sessions.

In addition to addressing issues related to spousal support, the court will also consider how a person’s mental health may affect their ability to manage their finances and address their ongoing needs. These issues may play a role in asset division proceedings. While marital assets will be divided fairly and equitably between the spouses, the health of each spouse and the parties' ongoing needs will be considered when deciding how property should be allocated. The ongoing expenses of treating a condition may be considered, and assets may be divided in a way that will ensure that a spouse can live comfortably, meet their ongoing needs, and address any ongoing physical or mental health concerns.

In cases involving mental health issues, spouses should be aware that the decisions made during their divorce may have potential tax implications. Alimony generally cannot be deducted from the taxable income of the person paying support, and it is not taxable for the recipient. Any assets that are divided between spouses must be reported accurately for tax purposes, and spouses should be aware of any taxes that must be paid when they own different assets, such as property taxes that apply to a family home. Spouses may also need to determine whether public benefits received by either spouse, such as Social Security disability benefits for a person with a serious mental illness or physical health conditions, will affect the taxes they owe and other financial aspects of their divorce.

To ensure that all financial concerns will be addressed correctly, it is crucial to work with an attorney who understands the financial impact of mental illnesses on divorce proceedings. A skilled and experienced lawyer can advocate on behalf of their client, addressing issues related to spousal support, property division, tax-related concerns, and any other financial decisions. This will ensure that a fair outcome can be reached while protecting the best interests of the spouses, their children, and anyone else involved in a case.

Divorcing a Narcissistic Spouse

In many cases, a spouse with a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness may behave unreasonably during the divorce process. A narcissistic spouse will often focus solely on their own needs and desires, and they may be unwilling to cooperate or negotiate agreements in good faith. Navigating the divorce process with a narcissistic partner can be daunting. Their manipulative tactics and tendency to gaslight may leave you feeling uncertain of your own perceptions, or you may be concerned that your own needs and desires will not be properly addressed.

The best way to protect yourself when divorcing a narcissist is by seeking professional help from an experienced family law attorney who understands how mental illness affects family law cases. Your lawyer can offer advice on the best approach to take during negotiations and the ways you can avoid being taken advantage of. They can help you understand what you should and should not do or say when dealing with your spouse, and they can make sure your rights will be protected as you work to reach a divorce settlement or use litigation to resolve your outstanding disputes.

It is also important to consider how narcissism may affect issues related to child custody. If your spouse believes that they should have sole custody of your children or is refusing to consider your parental rights, they may engage in parental alienation. They may attempt to influence children to take their side in any disputes, or they may try to damage your relationship with your children by refusing to allow you to communicate or spend time with them. It is important to address any concerns about parental alienation or other issues that may affect your children's best interests quickly and effectively. By bringing these issues to the court's attention and demonstrating that your spouse has acted in a way that may harm your children's well-being, you can ensure that matters related to child custody will be decided in a way that allows you to continue to have strong, loving relationships with your children.

Seeking Professional Help During Divorce

In addition to finding an experienced family law attorney who can help you address issues related to mental illness during your divorce, there are a variety of other resources available that may help you get through the divorce process successfully. Psychological counseling can help you address the emotional issues you are experiencing and ensure that you can maintain your own mental health. It may also help you determine the best strategies for dealing with unreasonable behavior by your spouse while also ensuring that you can meet your children's emotional needs. Support groups can also provide emotional support from people who understand what you are going through, and you may be able to receive advice and guidance from those who have faced similar struggles.

Contact Our DuPage County Divorce Lawyers

Addressing issues related to mental illness during your divorce can be a difficult and complex process. It is important to understand the potential implications of mental health issues on divorce proceedings, including whether physical or mental concerns will affect child custody decisions or financial support. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can provide legal counsel and guidance during the process, ensuring that these concerns are addressed correctly and helping you reach an outcome that will protect your ongoing interests and allow you to maintain success in the future.

At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we understand the unique challenges involved in divorce cases where a spouse has a diagnosed mental illness or when other physical or mental health concerns need to be addressed. Our experienced Elmhurst complex divorce attorneys can provide compassionate representation for you, and we will fight to protect your rights and advocate for your best interests in court. We are committed to finding solutions tailored to your individual needs while also protecting the best interests of your children. Contact us today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist with your case.






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