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Divorcing a Spouse With Mental Illness: What You Need to Know!


Divorcing a spouse with mental illness can be a delicate, challenging, and emotionally complex process. It requires careful consideration and legal strategy and psychological understanding. We can help you with both!

As a medically trained divorce attorney/mediator, I am well versed in the various essential factors you need to know when navigating the process of divorcing a spouse with mental illness. My unique and comprehensive divorce process was created to address the psychological and legal makeup of spouses and their marriage. We approach divorce with both head and heart!

From my more than 35 years experience, I am happy to share with you some of my suggestions on how to compassionately manage divorcing a spouse with mental illness.

Understand the Mental Illness

To embark on this journey, it is vital to first educate yourself about your spouse's mental illness. Familiarize yourself with the condition, its symptoms, and how it may affect your spouse's behavior and ability to participate in the divorce process. Seek information from mental health professionals, support groups, and reliable resources to gain insight into your spouse's condition.

Prioritize Your Safety

If your spouse's mental illness poses a risk to your safety or that of your children, your well-being should be your top priority. If necessary, consult with a therapist or a domestic violence organization to develop a safety plan. This may involve seeking a restraining order, finding a safe place to stay, and informing trusted individuals about your situation.

Seek Professional Support

Navigating a divorce involving mental illness can be emotionally draining. Consider engaging the support of a therapist or counselor who specializes in divorce and mental health. They can help you cope with the challenges, provide guidance, and offer strategies.

Gather Documentation

Collect and organize relevant documentation related to your spouse's mental illness.This may include medical records, psychiatric evaluations, and any other evidence that can substantiate their condition and its impact on the marriage. These records can be valuable when presenting your case to legal professionals or during divorce proceedings.

Consult with a Knowledgeable Attorney

Engage the services of an experienced family law attorney who has expertise in handling cases involving mental health issues. I have a unique medical training which will help guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected and helping you make informed decisions. I can also provide advice on issues like child custody, spousal support, and property division in the context of mental illness.

Child Custody Considerations

When children are involved, their best interests must be prioritized. Courts typically consider the mental health of both parents when determining child custody arrangements. However, the court's primary focus is on ensuring the child's safety and well-being. Provide evidence, if necessary, to demonstrate the impact of your spouse's mental illness on their ability to parent effectively.

Collaborative Divorce or Mediation

I try to encourage clients when possible to consider negotiating or mediating a divorce rather than litigating. Alternative dispute resolution methods can provide a more amicable and supportive environment allowing you and your spouse to work together to find mutually agreeable solutions. As part of my divorce service, mental health professionals on my team are brought in as part of our comprehensive legal/psychological approach to divorce.

Financial Considerations

Divorcing a spouse with mental illness may have financial implications. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to provide financial support in the form of spousal maintenance or alimony. It’s important to understand your rights and obligations, and to ensure a fair division of assets.

Divorcing a spouse with mental illness is an emotionally challenging journey. You will need empathy, careful navigation and caring, compassionate support. Unlike other divorce attorneys, I provide a unique divorce service providing clients with the full medical/psychological and legal support necessary to get the best results.

My combination of legal and psychological strategies is highly effective when it comes to divorcing a spouse with mental illness. The understanding and proper guidance for this complicated aspect is important for a psychologically safe and legally successful outcome.

For over 35 years as a divorce attorney and mediator, I have been guiding spouses successfully to find the right path to divorce.

Our FREE 1-hour consultations are veryinformative and conveniently conducted virtually!

I look forward to helping you and your family.

Warm regards,


Divorcing a spouse with mental illness requires a special kind of attention, compassion and legal expertise.

Call New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner Now to schedule your FREE consultation now!