I Want a Divorce but my Spouse is Mentally Ill, How Should I Proceed?

Mental illness recognizably has an impact on a marriage. However, in the State of Ohio insanity, serious mental illness, or drug abuse are not grounds – or reasons – for divorce.  That being said, Ohio is a “no fault” divorce state, and grounds for divorce may be cited as “incompatibility.”

Mental illness will influence issues such as visitation and custody. The court’s primary concern in custody and visitation issues is the best interests of the child or children. Mental health issues will not necessarily disqualify a parent from visitation or even custody. There is, of course, the chance that the parent could receive treatment or the condition may be mitigated by medication.

If the court thinks it is necessary, it can place restrictions to assure the child’s safety. In addition, in extreme situations where a judge would be concerned for a child’s safety with a parent, the judge can order that visitation be supervised. This means that the visit between parent and child would be conducted in someone else’s presence, such as a grandparent or a member of a social services agency. Be aware though, that a court may terminate parental rights all together if it determines that the mental illness is so severe that the parent cannot provide a permanent home for the child, or care for the child. The court will also, in the case of severing parental rights, need to see that the situation will not likely change in a one-year period.

Mental health may also play a role in property distribution and alimony. According to Ohio law, the court must consider a number of factors when determining whether to award support, the amount of support to award, and length of time support will be paid, and one of the factors the court considers in making this determination is the mental health of the spouses.  If the mental illness is so severe as to keep the spouse from being self-supporting, the court may order extra support for that spouse.

It is important to have the best representation possible, with attorneys who are familiar with psychological issues and their impact on the family dynamic.

Central Ohio Divorce Attorney

Do you need an experienced divorce attorney? Whether or not you anticipate any difficulty in your divorce, Edward F. Whipps & Associates is here to help you. If you wish to consider mediation to help resolve your divorce issues, call Edward F. Whipps & Associates to arrange an initial consultation at a mutually convenient time.