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How Can I Divorce My 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 especially during this never-ending pandemic.

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 had a consultation with me a few months ago to discuss divorcing his wife. He is a hair stylist and his wife is a designer. They have three children, 2, 4, and 6 years old. Due to the pandemic their family has been living in all kinds of upheaval and conflict.

He explained that for the past two years his wife has been sleeping a lot and not paying much attention to their children or him. She has managed to maintain her job working at home and designing online, but had taken more sick days than usual.

He was thinking she was lazy. He has been caring for the children and doing most of the nurturing. He cooks all their meals, cleans the house, and home schooled the children in the beginning of the pandemic and then started taking them to school.

His wife was on edge all the time, crying, irritable, and angry. She had become withdrawn and was now drinking vodka every day.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 was to get a divorce, but he also wanted to get her help.

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 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 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 participate in a mediation session to discuss moving forward. The husband agreed.

I then spoke with him and his wife together. There were lots of tears, denial and blame, but she agreed the marriage was over. She also kept insisting there was nothing wrong with her.

We have started mediation meetings and are making some progress. She has opened up more in the last 2 months and is more responsive to seeing a therapist after my discussing depression with her in more detail. Three weeks ago she decided to see one of the psychiatrists that works on my team. The mediation process is working well and she is feeling the positive benefits of working with a psychiatrist and receiving the good results of taking medication.

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.

All ourFREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


If your spouse is depressed and you need a divorce, call New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner now to book your free consultation.