Divorce and Mental Health

When an individual has a psychiatric condition and is not able to consistently manage their symptoms, the marital relationship can become strained.   Sometimes, the stress created by this circumstance can prove to be too much for the marriage to survive.  When mental health issues are part of a divorce, there can be added considerations.

For many, divorce is one of the most stressful experiences they will have in their life.  Further, this process can evoke feelings of sadness, anger, grief, and anxiety.   An individual who has a serious mental health condition may experience increased symptoms in times of intense negative emotions such as those which arise in a divorce.  Therefore, a spouse could become symptomatic when faced with the painful feelings which come during the ending of their marriage.  Depending on the individual’s condition and the degree of conflict between the parties, the person could become unreasonable in their demands and irrational.  When the couple is unable to communicate effectively, it can make it impossible to engage in productive or meaningful negotiations.  If the situations does not change, it may be appropriate to take the case before the court.

In Wisconsin, as in most other states, the court must make decisions regarding custody and child placement which are in the best interest of the child.  This evaluation is conducted through the court’s examination of both parents and their ability to provide the child with a safe environment.  If a parent has a mental illness but has demonstrated stability and safe behavior around their child, a court may be inclined to order that the parent have the same custodial and placement rights as the other parent.  However, if the parent has a known history of violent, unsafe, or abusive conduct due to their mental illness symptoms or otherwise, a court may determine that limited contact and decision-making is in the child’s best interest.

Mental health issues and divorce can be complex.  Attorney Karyn Youso has experience assisting clients through divorce and finding the right resources and solutions when mental health issues are present.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us take a “first look.”

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