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Tips for Divorcing a Spouse with a Mental Illness in Illinois

Posted on in Divorce

Barrington divorce attorney

Mental illness can manifest itself in many different forms, including depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. Some of these conditions are recognizable while others are harder to detect. Studies show that nearly half of American adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. In many cases, these conditions can cause the breakdown of a marriage. The emotional upheaval that a divorce causes can be challenging for anyone to go through, but when one spouse has mental health issues, legally ending a marriage can be even more intimidating. Although Illinois courts do not consider fault in a divorce, it will weigh several factors when determining certain marital issues such as child custody or dividing assets and property. The mental well-being of one spouse may impact the outcomes since a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the children.   

Practical Steps to Protect Yourself

The stress of a divorce can escalate the symptoms of mental illness. For example, a person who suffers from depression may become suicidal at the news that his or her spouse has filed for divorce. In other situations, a mentally ill person can become violent toward his or her spouse or children in response to the marriage dissolving. In certain cases, Illinois courts may terminate parental rights when a parent is mentally ill is unable to perform basic parental duties. 

For a mental illness to be a grounds for terminating parental rights, a mental health professional must testify that the parent is mentally ill, and there is no chance of recovery in the near future. In addition, if one spouse’s mental health issues make it impossible to stay employed, the other spouse may be ordered to provide spousal support payments. For these reasons, among many others, it is important for a spouse to follow these tips in order to protect himself or herself from emotional, physical, and even financial harm when initiating a divorce: 

  • Document/record conversations with the mentally unstable spouse.

  • Save emails, text messages, and letters from the mentally ill spouse. 

  • Take photos to show proof of domestic violence.

  • Seek an order of protection if necessary (financial or physical restraining order). 

  • Make copies of a bank account or credit card statements showing the dissipation of assets. 

  • Consult with a legal professional to assist you with the legal process. 

Contact a Barrington Divorce Lawyer

Getting a divorce when your spouse has a mental illness can be daunting, to say the least. It may present challenges that you did not consider, especially regarding your children. At the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II PC, we have more than 50 years of combined experience in handling all types of divorces, including amicable and high-conflict cases. Our qualified and compassionate Algonquin parenting time attorneys know how mental illness can affect your divorce proceedings. We will advocate for your rights during child support and division of assets and property decisions. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 630-200-4882.


Sources:
https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2019/02/5-surprising-mental-health-statistics/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000

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