During a divorce, clients often ask about using psychological or mental health evaluations to assess the mental health of the other party. While some people believe their ex is “crazy”, only in extreme cases is a mental health evaluation granted or allowed by Chicago family courts, or even relevant. Usually, mental health comes into play when there are concerns regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, as it is a factor that can be considered by a Judge. Substance abuse issues can also trigger mental health issues and arguments, as well as Orders of Protection.
Requesting Mental Health Evaluations in Illinois Family Court
If a true mental health evaluation is necessary, it is provided for under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215. That rule indicates that a person can request a mental health evaluation for their spouse, but it isn’t without caveats/repercussions. First and foremost, the requestor has to pay for it. That is made mandatory under the rule. Additionally, the requestor not only has to pay for the evaluation, but they also have to pay for any lost wages/earnings for the person being evaluated and even transportation costs for the person being evaluated to get to and from appointments. It suffices to say that mental health evaluations are not taken lightly. Additionally, if you are going to allege that the other party needs one, it is likely they will also allege that you need one, so be prepared to have to submit to one yourself (though they are not generously granted, so if there isn’t a strong basis there is a chance a Judge may not order it for both parties, after all.)
Participating in Custody Evaluations
One other way to address mental health issues without obtaining a strict diagnosis is to participate in a Custody Evaluation with an appointed Custody Evaluator. Custody Evaluators often touch on mental health issues, though they cannot necessarily give a diagnosis in their report nor suggest a treatment plan. They can, however, make recommendations as to modifying the parenting time schedule or allocation of parental responsibilities so that the Court Order works for the parties given their respective mental health circumstances. Sometimes, they may refer a party to another provider for mental health treatment or make recommendations that they are further evaluated. They can certainly point out a potential underlying issue, even if they won’t make a diagnosis, and they can touch on potential mental health issues.
Are Mental Health Issues Involved in Your Chicago Divorce Case?
When mental health issues arise in an Illinois divorce case there is often more than one way to address them. It is best to speak to an experienced Chicago divorce attorney about the circumstances unique to your divorce, custody or family law case to determine which type of mental health evaluation, if any, will work the best for you and your family. At Anderson & Boback, our Chicago family law firm has a long-standing record of success handling family law cases involving psychological issues and mental health evaluations. To schedule your confidential consultation with one of our experienced family attorneys, contact us today.