According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness, and approximately one in 25 adults in the U.S. (11.2 million) experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. One of these major life activities may be divorce, adding to the complication of the situation.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act
Filing for divorce is not an easy process. When filing, you may take one of two options: filing with “grounds for divorce” or “no-fault.” However, unlike most other states, a spouse’s mental illness isn’t grounds for divorce in Illinois.
As of the change in 2016, The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Illinois is now a no-fault divorce only state, meaning that all fault-based grounds have been eliminated, and a claim of irreconcilable differences (an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage) is the only way to legally file. Although a mental illness issue or impairment cannot be the reason to file for divorce, it may affect the outcome of the divorce.
Mental Health Issues and Divorce Outcomes
A spouse’s mental health can affect many divorce outcomes such as, but not limited to:
- Property and asset division
- Family support
- Child custody/parental rights
Although mental illness may or may not make or break your divorce case, it can affect what you obtain and your spouse obtains, keeping the rest of your family and their needs in mind.
Orders of Protection
In some instances, one’s mental illness could lead to violent and destructive behavior. If you believe you or your child(ren) are in harm’s way, it is important to file an order of protection immediately. An order of protection will:
- Restrain the individual from committing any acts of abuse or harassment.
- Reassign parental responsibility/child custody for minor children.
- Order the individual to stay away from the filer and/or other family members, including banishment from their school and workplace.
- Allot time between the petitioner and the respondent. If there is a sign of abuse to the child(ren), restriction or revocation may result.
- Instruct the respondent to attend counseling with a psychologist, therapist, social worker, or substance abuse program.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney
If you believe your spouse’s mental illness is affecting your marriage and you are considering filing for divorce, contact a seasoned Elmhurst divorce attorney from Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLP. Call our office today at 312-605-4041 to find out how we can help.