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Is COVID-19 Affecting Your Bipolar Spouse?


These are very difficult times. People already suffering from mental health issues are suffering even more.

Couples in unhappy marriages are now pressured by losing their jobs, juggling their childrens’ schooling issues, and managing their dwindling finances. More and more couples in difficult marriages are in pain and seeking help.

A couple called and consulted with me about mediation a few months ago. The husband had significant outstanding credit card bills. He also drank quite a bit and had anger issues. The wife wanted a divorce.

Whenever we had a virtual meeting, the husband dominated the conversation, talking over his wife, berating her, and barely letting her get in a word edgewise. He had an intense, aggressive speech pattern that caught my attention.

He was unreasonably insistent on getting his way. The wife just stayed quiet and was afraid to interrupt his ranting.

During our second meeting as we started discussing finances, property, and child custody, it became clear to me that the husband’s ability to focus, listen to reason or communicate with his wife in a rational way was not possible.

After observing these behaviors (since in addition to being an attorney I have a medical background) it struck me that this husband’s behavior was indicative of a bipolar disorder.

I told them towards the end of the meeting it was clear to me they were having difficulty negotiating, and I thought there might be some other issues that needed to be addressed by a therapist before mediation could be effective.

I offered them a few names of doctors who are part of my team of experts and suggested they speak with a psychiatrist and take this first step toward their divorce journey.

Two weeks later I contacted them, as I usually do to follow up on how they were doing, and they told me they had been working with one of the doctors I recommended. The husband had been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and the doctor had prescribed medication.

Several weeks later they made another appointment and came to see me. The husband shared with me how much better he was feeling and how things seemed so much clearer. He felt more focused, less stressed, and calmer. His mind was no longer racing. He had also found some answers as to why holding on to a job had been so difficult in his life. Cleary, the diagnosis and treatment was making a huge difference for him.

The couple was then able to proceed with their divorce. We continued to have productive meetings addressing support, finding creative ways to locate streams of income for the family to survive divorce financially, and making important decisions regarding their 2-year-old daughter.

The mediation process successfully continued culminating in a separation agreement they could both live with and they obtained their divorce within three months.

As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney/mediator, here is what to look for if Bipolar Disorder is a “third party” in a marriage:

  • Quickly moving suddenly from one idea to the next (super mania)
  • Having exaggerated self-confidence
  • Rapid, "pressured" (uninterruptable) and loud speech
  • Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep
  • Difficulty maintaining a schedule, sometimes resulting in having trouble keeping a job
  • Living beyond one’s means

It is sad and fascinating to see how much personality affects settlement of matrimonial cases. This is particularly true when one or both partners have a mood or character disorder.

If you are in a marriage that looks similar to the couple’s story I just shared with you, I can help you.

My combination of legal and medical strategies is unusual and effective when it comes to divorce. The understanding and proper guidance for this complicated aspect is important for a psychologically sound and legally successful outcome.

I have the unique ability to provide a compassionate and productive process to see you through your divorce.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic all our FREE ONE HOUR CONSULTATIONS are conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

Call now to book your free consultation. 212.734.1551

I look forward to working with you, and helping you find productive solutions if mental illness is affecting your marriage!

Stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


Call New York Divorce Lawyer today to schedule your free consultation about a COVID Divorce.

Call 212.734.1551.