Divorcing Someone with Mental Health Issues Requires Extra Care

Our culture likes to romanticize marriage and romantic love. Many people are under the incorrect assumption that so long as two people have a deep emotional bond, they can overcome any challenge. In the real world, loving someone doesn't necessarily mean your marriage will succeed.

If you married somebody who has serious mental health issues or a personality disorder, your marriage may fail despite your best efforts. It is normal to wonder what kind of impact your spouse's mental health issues could have on divorce proceedings.

The courts likely won't consider mental health issues during property division

For a couple without minor children, the division of assets during a divorce is usually the most contentious aspect of the process. It is quite common for people to wonder how unusual circumstances or aggravating factors from their marriage could impact the outcome of the asset division process.

Colorado family law requires that the courts divide marital property in the divorce. Typically, the courts will not look at the behavior of either spouse during the marriage when dividing assets. The only exception to this is if there is a clear case of dissipation. That occurs when one spouse intentionally wastes marital assets to penalize the other spouse or skew the asset division process. Barring that, it isn't likely that your spouse's mental health issues will impact how the courts divide your property.

Mental health issues could impact child custody proceedings

Unlike asset division, child custody hearings look at much more detail from your marriage. The courts will always seek to secure an outcome that focuses on the best interests of the children. That generally means shared custody or a parenting plan that supports ongoing relationships with both parents. However, if there is any reason to suspect that one parent could pose a threat or risk to the children, the courts may deviate from the shared custody standard.

If your spouse has a diagnosis with a serious personality disorder or other mental health condition, that could very well impact the custody outcome. The courts may not want to place your children with your spouse or may require supervised visitation to ensure that your spouse can manage.

If your spouse does not have a personality disorder diagnosis, the courts are less likely to consider mental health concerns. Allegations of personality disorders are common in divorces, and without the verification by a physician or mental health specialist, it will be hard for the courts to determine what is the truth.

If your spouse does not have a diagnosis, you may want to take some time to document behaviors and issues that result from that condition. That documentation could help sway the custody hearing in favor of the children's safety.