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

The attitudes of Illinois family law judges about how children should be raised, and their time divided between parents, have changed significantly over the last fifty years or so. Judges used to believe, and rule--almost universally--that children needed to spend…

Recently, the Illinois Appellate court addressed the issue of the date used in determining dissipation as raised by the divorce case In Re Marriage of Sinha. (In re MARRIAGE OF JYOTI SINHA and MUKESHA K. SINHA, 2021 IL App (2d)…

Oftentimes while a family law case is pending, parents will need or want to move with their minor children. The child relocation law in Illinois as of 2021 indicated that you need to seek approval for relocation from the Court…

In Illinois, we have abolished using the term “custody” and now refer to parenting time as the schedule which dictates where the child resides, and when.  Clients often ask whether or not it matters if the child has an opinion…

If you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on all of the issues of divorce, that is a great start to the process. In an uncontested divorce, once that agreement has been reached, or even before, the…

When parents end their relationship, it's rarely easy especially if there are disagreements over custody. As Chicago child custody attorneys, we're often asked for guidance on what you should bring up in a child custody case to show you are…

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