How Personality Disorders Effect Divorce Procedures

Date Posted:January 17, 2016 | Categories:

Divorce Procedures

Personality disorder added to the emotional trauma of divorce can result in a difficult divorce.  To begin, a clear understanding of what constitutes a personality disorder is helpful.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders categorizes personality disorders into three broad categories, with between three and four disorders in each category. Psychology Today states “personality disorder can be diagnosed if there are significant impairments in self and interpersonal functioning together with one or more pathological personality traits. In addition, these features must be (1) relatively stable across time and consistent across situations, (2) not better understood as normative for the individual’s developmental stage or socio-cultural environment, and (3) not solely due to the direct effects of a substance or general medical condition”. 

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists ten personality disorders, and allocates each to one of three groups or ‘clusters’: A, B, or C 

  • Cluster A (Odd, bizarre, eccentric) – Paranoid PD, Schizoid PD, Schizotypal PD
  • Cluster B (Dramatic, erratic) – Antisocial PD, Borderline PD, Histrionic PD, Narcissistic PD
  • Cluster C (Anxious, fearful) – Avoidant PD, Dependent PD, Obsessive-compulsive PD”

Research tells us that people with Cluster B personality disorders have elevated divorce rates, and those with antisocial and histrionic personality disorders have the highest divorce rates.

Personality disorders impact how the individual struggling with the disease sees the world and interacts with others in their world. The perspective of the person with the personality disorder will very likely have a negative impact how the divorce proceeds. They are also likely to try to make the divorce a lengthy, emotionally draining and costly process.

When one of the parties to divorce has a personality disorder or other psychological disorder, the very process of handling the divorce case will have to be altered, regardless of whether children are involved. The usual assumptions and logical analysis of any given situation may need to be adjusted. Where one of the parties is not capable of rational thought or behavior, simply presenting logical arguments can be a waste of the client’s time and money, and often increases frustration.

Dublin, Ohio Divorce Attorney

At Edward F. Whipps & Associates, our strategies always take into account the psychological barriers present in the parties involved.  The attorneys at Edward F. Whipps & Associates have the background and understanding to handle cases involving psychological issues. Mr. Whipps served for over ten years as a member of the Ohio State Board of Psychology, including a term as President. In that capacity, he became familiar with many psychologists and other mental health professionals throughout Ohio.  He worked to understand their profession and to deal with the many ethical and other professional standards at play in their clinical practices.