Complex Divorce Attorneys Serving Chicago and Elmhurst
Skilled Chicago Lawyers for Divorce Litigation Involving Health Issues, Personality Disorders and Drug or Alcohol Addictions
While divorce can be difficult under the best of circumstances, there are health issues that can exacerbate the difficulties, making the case infinitely more complex. The attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC have experience dealing with high conflict cases which may include a client or a client’s spouse with mental illness or a client or his or her spouse who has problems with alcohol or drug abuse. In 2011, a multinational study was conducted which considered 18 types of mental disorders such as major depression, personality disorders and phobias, and the impact those disorders had on marriage and divorce.
The study concluded that such disorders increased the likelihood of divorce anywhere from 20-80 percent, depending on the type and severity of the mental disorder. Marriages in which one party suffers from a personality disorder are almost always marked by periods of high conflict. When you add to that conflict the disputes typically associated with divorce, there is the potential for explosive situations. Lawyers who are unable to recognize signs of personality disorder, addiction or mental illness may inadvertently add to the conflict. With a major in psychology as her undergraduate degree, Maxine Weiss Kunz brings added skills in dealing with these issues to her clients and has successfully tried cases involving these health issues.
How a Person with a Health Issue May View the Divorce Process
The world view of a person with a mental illness, personality disorder or addiction is generally adversarial, therefore they tend to see a significant number of people as “enemies,” and engage in “all or nothing” thinking. Those with personality disorders are also more likely to make patently false statements, behave as bullies and experience the perceived rejection associated with divorce very differently than others. When negotiating a divorce or child custody issue, this kind of reasoning can make it very difficult for the attorney to help clients reach an amicable resolution.
Clients and opposing parties who suffer from mental illness can quickly escalate the need for an attorney experienced in aggressive, adversarial litigation. When a case involves mental health issues including undiagnosed personality disorders, the attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, will take the steps necessary to reveal the truth including:
- Advocate for supervised parenting time when children are involved;
- Seek to bring out behavior patterns in the deposition and in court cross examinations;
- Request a 215(a) examination by a court ordered psychologist or psychiatrist who will make recommendations to the court regarding the mental health of the opposing party; and
- Provide guidance and advice as to how clients can best protect themselves and their children during a divorce when mental health issues can be exacerbated by stress.
Maxine Weiss Kunz is an aggressive litigator in court and an assertive negotiator outside of court, using strategy and evidence to protect her clients and their children.
How the Illinois Family Courts Deal with Health Issues
While the Illinois family courts can order a spouse/parent to participate in counseling, most people get more out of the process when they choose it voluntarily rather than being forced into therapy. Family court judges can order psychological or psychiatric evaluations (Rule 215a) for the purposes of considering the parent’s mental health when allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time (requiring the assistance of Child Custody Evaluators and Other Professionals). In some cases, the child of a divorcing couple may have mental or cognitive disorders, Autism, or Down syndrome, adding significant financial burden to the parents and added difficulties in developing a realistic parenting plan. All in all, divorce and custody issues when mental illness or mental disorders are a factor can be extremely delicate and require an attorney with the necessary knowledge and experience as well as sensitivity and compassion.
Special Protection for Children with Severe Health Issues
When a divorce involves a child or children with a severe health condition, the financial and emotional stress can be heightened even more by concerns around health insurance, daily care of the child and ongoing medical expenses. In this case, it is critical that your attorney understand the establishment of a Support Trust pursuant to Section 503(g) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act.
In accordance with this section, jointly or individually held assets may be set aside in trust for the support, health and general maintenance of any minor child, dependent or incompetent child.
Such a trust may be a necessity in cases where one party has failed to make child support payments, is unemployed or incarcerated or when parties fail to agree on the funding of ongoing medical treatments.
The attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC have extensive knowledge and experience in the law governing the establishment of Support Trusts and have successfully navigated trials concerning the health and welfare of children with challenging medical conditions.
Our Law Firm Can Help You During This Difficult Time
The attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, provide experienced family law representation in an emotionally supportive environment. We work closely with our clients to determine a legal approach which best reflects the individual circumstances of the client’s divorce or custody issue. We fully understand the additional difficulties which face all parties involved when a mental disorder, mental illness, or addiction is a part of the family law issue. Contact Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC today.