Anderson & Boback Logo

Considerations Prior to Divorcing a Spouse Dealing with Mental Illness

Categorized as Divorce

Mental illness of one spouse, or both, is one of the leading factors driving spouses to divorce. A multinational study on mental disorders, marriage, and divorce published in 2011 found that, out of the 18 main mental disorders studied, divorce rates increased 20%-80% if one spouse had been diagnosed. Addictions and major depression were the highest factors; post-traumatic stress disorder was also near the top on the list.

Elsewhere, researchers have demonstrated a strong link between personality disorders and elevated divorce rates. People with antisocial personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder have the highest spousal separation rates in the area of diagnosable personality disorders.

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by failure to conform to social norms and respect laws, engaging in deception, impulsivity, and aggressiveness, reckless disregard for the safety of others, lack of remorse, and consistent irresponsibility. Whereas histrionic personality disorder is described as a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking.

For obvious reasons, the divorce process makes any mental health disorder symptoms even worse. One spouse may even be on the fence regarding initiating proceedings due to the hope of the other spouse receiving help and recovering. When considering a divorce with mental illness as a factor, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the mental health condition treatable, and is the individual willing to receive treatment?

2. How much harm is each family member experiencing?

3. Are you willing to remain in the relationship even if nothing changed?

4. Is the condition stable, or is it likely to get worse over time?

5. What kind of support network is available to you and your family?

There is no universal rule when deciding whether to separate from a spouse with mental illness. While many authorities have opinions on the topic, the decision maker has to make sure that the decision is truly their own.

Was this information helpful?

You May Also Like

Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is a relief granted to a party in a dissolution of marriage case that equitably restores to the party a standard of living to which they became acclimated during the marriage.  For spouses going through…

Visitation interference occurs when the custodial parent in some way interferes with your ability to spend parenting time with your child or visit with them.  In Illinois, a parent has a couple of options when the other parent interferes with…

We receive inquiries regularly from parents of children in Illinois regarding whether or not they can remove their child from the state of Illinois when they are estranged from their child’s other parent.  The answer varies, depending on different situations.…

People often are confused about the difference between a Civil Union and a Domestic Partnership, and what their rights are if their partner, to whom they are not married, leaves them or predeceases them.  This blog is designed to explain…

One of the most hot-button terms in parenting cases in Cook County is “alienation”, meaning that one parent is actively seeking to keep the child from having a relationship with their other parents. The current laws on parenting favor both…

In Illinois, there are two main ways to go about changing your minor child’s name: by agreement, and by Court adjudication of the issue.  As with all things related to co-parenting a minor child, the easiest and least costly method…

Anderson & Boback small logo

Download our Divorce Planning Guide today!

Get the information you need to prepare for divorce with our free resource Guide to Planning for Your Divorce.

What our clients are saying

Schedule a Discreet Consultation Today!

    Firm Overview

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870