Divorcing for Mental Health Reasons

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According to the American Psychological Association (APA), between 40 and 50% of all American marriages end in divorce. This is despite increased awareness of the challenges of divorce, as well as numerous resources available to help couples deal with the mounting pressures of modern life. While financial distress remains one of the leading causes of marital discord, mental health is also becoming a large factor in many divorces.

At Five Points Law Group, we take a compassionate approach to helping couples deal with the breakdown of a marriage. If a partner’s mental health concerns are creating stress in the marriage or have led to a situation in which divorce is the only option, contact us today to schedule a private consultation with an attorney who can provide skillful and empathetic advice and recommendations.

 

How Mental Health Affects a Marriage

Mental health is a much wider issue than many people wish to admit. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that approximately 44.7 million Americans (about one in five people) are living with some form of mental health issue. This can range from minor transient depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to serious personality disorders, such as bipolar disorder or affect disorders. Regardless of the specific condition, the challenges that people face can spill over into their relationships and marriages.

The spouse of an individual dealing with serious mental health disorders may end up feeling alone and burdened, as though the relation has morphed from a loving spousal relationship into more of a clinical relationship, where the spouse is constantly trying to “fix” or “counsel” the affected partner. In some situations, behaviors can create fear, panic, or even resentment. These feelings can stir and build for years – even decades – before a person finally decides that they cannot continue to tolerate the situation.

 

Does Leaving Mean You do Not Care?

Not at all. Many spouses who choose to divorce over mental health issues are very loving, and in fact they may care deeply for their spouse. However, there may be a host of reasons why divorce makes sense. Consider these brief scenarios in which despite a loving relationship, a person may decide it is better to divorce:

  • Children are being negatively affected
  • Family finances are being negatively affected
  • The person with a mental health condition needs help that the spouse can not provide
  • Institutional care is needed
  • The mental health disorder is creating a danger to others
  • Behaviors are leading to high-risk conduct, like promiscuity or drug and alcohol dependence

Getting Help Early

Often with the help of a compassionate divorce attorney, you can communicate with the affected spouse and help them see the benefits of divorce. Often, when children are involved, it may make sense to give space and distance to allow the person who is facing mental health challenges time to get the help needed. It also may be necessary to give children a break from the frequent challenges and events that so often accompany mental health disorders.

 

If you are dealing with a partner with mental health challenges in Birmingham, call Five Points Law Group today, and speak with a skilled family law attorney who can review your situation and look for efficient yet practical approaches to helping you resolve your divorce.

Heather Fann
Heather Fann
Heather's practice seeks to preserve the dignity of clients through healthy paths for their changing families, employing both modern and traditional means of resolution including collaborative practice and methods such as use of Parenting Coordinators, as well as mediation, though she stands ready to litigate where necessary.

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