How Do I Deal with Mental Illness in My Divorce?
As Orlando family attorneys, one question that we frequently receive from individuals who are approaching and going through divorce is how to deal with the issue of mental illness in the process. According to statistics, one in five people in the United States experiences a mental illness in a given year, and a significant percentage of these individuals experience illnesses that limit their major life activities. As a result, it is no surprise that this issue comes up in divorce in a variety of ways, including in contributing to the breakdown of the marriage; sometimes manifesting itself as aggression, excessive spending, risky financial decisions, dangerous behavior with partners and/or children, narcissism, self-centeredness, and other frightening behaviors.
Addressing Urgency In The Divorce
As a result, if you are going through divorce and have concerns about your partner’s mental illness interfering with a number of important issues, once the complaint for divorce has been filed, you may need to engage in urgent activities that other friends and families going through divorce may not have, such as ensuring that your children are safe, coming up with a treatment plan, and/or ensuring that your assets are not being put at risk. Note that the courts have a variety of other powers to assist in this regard, for example, they can appoint guardians in extreme circumstances where someone cannot make rational decisions and/or incompetence is involved. Courts also have the ability to limit access to funds, freeze accounts, and enable third parties to make important payments on behalf of someone else, such as house for housing and food.
When Mental Illness Affects Children In Divorce
When it comes to mental illness issues that have the potential to affect children, courts are always going to act out of what is in the best interest of the children; ensuring that the child is safe with respect any relationship that parent has a child. Therefore, if one parent is alleging that the other suffers from mental illness, the court will typically order an evaluation to be conducted by a licensed mental health provider and can enter an order that limits or prohibits contact with the children; pending the outcome of that evaluation; as well as making parental visitation conditional on receiving therapy, medication, or other treatments. Courts can also order supervised parenting time.
Substance Abuse & Children Suffering From Mental Illness
If substance abuse is part of the illness, the courts can also order random drug and alcohol testing as a condition of awarding parenting time and have a report sent to the custodial parent.
Also note that mental illness doesn’t always just affect a partner, but sometimes if a child. If a child suffers from mental illness and the parents disagree as to its existence and/or treatment, the courts can also get involved in this circumstance, responding to parents petition to the court for assistance and an order allowing treatment.
Contact Our Florida Family Law Attorneys to Find Out More
If you live in Florida and have any questions about divorce and other areas of family law, contact our attorneys at Arwani Law Firm, PLLC today to find out how we can help.