Divorcing a mentally ill person is both controversial and complicated. For example, some people think that you shouldn't divorce your mentally ill partner because of the "till death do us part" vows that people make while marrying. However, you aren't obligated to remain married to your partner just because they are sick. Just keep these four things in mind when gearing up for the divorce:
Know the Whole Story First
If your partner's mental illness is the reason you are divorcing them, then it pays to know the whole story first before making your move. For example, you need to know exactly what your partner is suffering from, how serious is it and whether it is treatable or not. You also need to know what to expect should you change your mind and elect to stay with your partner. That way you can make an informed decision and spare yourself the thoughts of what might have been if you had elected to stay with your partner.
Expect Stonewalling or Aggression
People with mental illness typically react in one of two ways; they either decide to stonewall their partners or become exceedingly aggressive. For example, your partner may decide to be uncooperative during the divorce negotiations and refuse to give even an inch. They may also decide to file numerous claims and counterclaims to make you change your mind or to frustrate you. Therefore, don't approach the divorce thinking that you can get a judgment within no time.
Get Help for Your Spouse
Whether or not you decide to divorce your spouse, it's good to help them get the help they need. In fact, helping your partner to manage or control their illness may also help you with the divorce. For example, the treatment may make them less aggressive and help you hasten the divorce process. Therefore, whether your spouse needs a therapist or a psychiatrist, you should help them get treatment.
Get a Guardian Ad Litem for Your Partner
If your partner is too sick to handle the divorce themselves, then it's in both of your interests to have someone act on their behalf. A close family member can usually do this without any problem, but if there is no family member who can do it, you can petition the court to appoint a guardian ad litem for your spouse. That is the best way to ensure your spouse's interests and rights will be well catered for during the divorce.
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