Skip to Content

Thinking of Divorcing Your Bipolar Spouse?


A divorcing couple met with me a few months ago for mediation. The husband had trouble holding a job as an accountant and significant outstanding credit card bills. He also smoked pot quite a bit and was very moody. The wife could no longer stay in the marriage and wanted a divorce.

Whenever we had a meeting, the husband dominated the meeting, talking over his wife 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 was quiet, not saying much and overpowered by him when she spoke.

During our third 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 psychological and medical training as a physician assistant) it struck me that this husband’s behavior was indicative of 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 continue and be effective.

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

Shortly afterwards I contacted them shortly afterward to follow up on how they were doing. They told me they had been working with one of the doctors I recommended and that the husband had been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and the doctor had prescribed medication.

Shortly after, the couple made another appointment with 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. He had also stopped smoking pot.

Clearly the diagnosis and treatment was making a huge difference for him and the marriage. Although the husband was feeling better, they agreed they could no longer be married.

We continued the divorce process and had 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 four-year-old twins.

The mediation process has successfully continued and has recently culminated in a fair separation agreement. They will receive their divorce in a few months.

Here is what to look for if Bipolar Disorder is the “third party” in your 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
  • Difficultly maintaining a schedule, sometimes resulting in having trouble keeping a job
  • Living beyond one’s dreams

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

If you are in a marriage that looks similar to this couple’s story, I can help you.

My combination of legal and psychological strategies is different from most lawyers. My background helps unusual divorce situations, and having an understanding of psychological issues can help you achieve a legally successful outcome.

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

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

I look forward to speaking with you.

Warm regards,


Call Attorney Lois Brenner Now to schedule your FREE consultation!