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Need Help Divorcing a Depressed Spouse?


As a New York divorce attorney and psychologically-trained mediator, I hear from a lot of spouses who want a divorce because they have realized they have been living the horrors of being married to a narcissist or sociopath.

But there are other personality and mood disorders affecting marriages today. These include depression and anxiety.

As a medical professional and divorce attorney, I see all of these mental health issues infecting the fabric of many marriages. Some of these disorders are less obvious than others, but they disrupt marriages just as profoundly.

A husband met with me recently to discuss divorcing his wife. He is a professional tennis player and his wife an architect. They have two children, 2 and 4 years old.

He explained that for the past year his wife has been sleeping a lot and not paying much attention to their children or him. She has barely managed to maintain her job, and took a lot more sick days than usual. He was thinking she was lazy. He has been caring for the children, doing most of the nurturing. He cooks all their meals, takes them to extracurricular activities and has kept them busy with outings this summer.

His wife was on edge all the time, irritable and angry. She had become withdrawn, and was also drinking a shot of vodka every day. Her appetite was poor, and she wasn’t interested in sex. He urged her to see a therapist but she refused.

He said he still loved her but, he felt the only way to protect his children and himself from this dysfunction was to get a divorce.

Hearing his story, I could tell from the symptoms he described that his wife was depressed. The husband was unaware she was depressed, but knew something was very wrong.

It is sad when mood disorders are ignored and not treated. In addition to therapy, there are many medications that make an enormous difference to people who are anxious and/or depressed.

I have treated many depressed patients while working in medical offices, and I recognize them in my legal practice. If the symptoms were acknowledged, it might be possible to seek treatment and save the marriage.

After discussing depression with him, he wanted to approach this divorce with compassion. He wanted to see if treatment was possible but still felt a divorce might be necessary. I explained my mediation program and that this process would either help him get divorced, or help him save his marriage. He was open to seeing how mediation might help. I suggested I would speak with his wife to explain he wanted a divorce and invite her to a mediation session to discuss moving forward.

The husband agreed. I then I met with him and his wife. There were lots of tears, denial and blame, but she agreed she was in a lot of emotional pain and the marriage was over.

We have started mediation meetings and are making some progress. She has opened up more in the last month and is more responsive to seeing a therapist after my discussing depression with her. Last week she decided to see one of the psychiatrists that works on my team. I am hopeful she will receive the help she needs.

Don’t suffer in silence. If you or your spouse are dealing with unexplained behavioral issues in your marriage, there is help.

My mediation process has a unique psychological component. Unlike other divorce attorneys, because of my medical background, I can identify and address mood and personality disorders affecting the marriage, and provide useful tools to help you move through the divorce process more effectively and with less pain.

My highly successful mediation process will help you divorce with a targeted psychological approach, if needed, combined with solid legal strategy to get you the best possible settlement.

Don’t hesitate to call me if you need help.


still available virtually.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Warm regards,


Call New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner now to schedule your free consultation. 212.734.1551