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What Challenges Will You Face When Divorcing A Spouse With Mental Illness?


Even though we have made great strides as a society when it comes to mental health, there is still a stigma surrounding it. Those with mental health issues are seen as scary or dangerous. Or maybe they’re just faking it for attention.

When a person listens to their doctor and takes medication as prescribed, a mental health issue can be properly controlled. But when a person doesn’t take the appropriate steps to manage their mental illness, they can be a danger to themselves and others.

This can be scary within the confines of a marriage. You are watching the person you love deteriorate. They may lash out and cause danger to you and any children. You may feel angry about their condition and as a result, feel guilty.

After a while, though, you feel overwhelmed. You need to take care of yourself. Dealing with mental illness often takes its toll on marriages, leading to divorce. Divorcing a person with mental illness comes with challenges, though. Here are some things that you’ll likely experience along the way. 


Many people feel guilty about thinking about divorce. After all, you vowed to love your spouse for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. Your spouse is ill, so shouldn’t you stay together? Sometimes it’s impossible to stick around without sacrificing your physical or mental health. You decide to leave, but there’s guilt. There’s guilt about not sticking to your marriage vows. There’s guilt that you can’t do more to help them. You feel guilty that you want to divorce them. There’s guilt about how your spouse will survive after the divorce. However, you need to let go of this guilt, especially if there are children involved. You cannot let your spouse’s mental illness control everyone’s lives. You need to set yourself free and do what’s right for you and the rest of the family. 


Of course, you’re going to worry about your spouse’s wellbeing post-divorce. You’re not equipped to deal with your spouse’s mental health issues, but you certainly don’t want to make things worse. You may worry about your spouse intentionally harming themselves. To deal with this possibility, it may be a good idea to put a support system in place. Local mental health services, charities, and loved ones may be able to provide support for your spouse in your absence. 


Loss comes with “what ifs.” What if you made things worse by divorcing? What if they cannot cope and kill themselves? What if they get better and you miss them? Stop with this and instead make a decision. Do what you can to help your spouse but know that you cannot live your life for others.

Contact Us Today

It can be challenging to deal with mental illness, especially when your spouse is struggling with it. Such an illness can negatively impact a marriage and even make you consider divorce.

Will you stay and or will you move on? Contact an Orlando divorce attorney from Greater Orlando Family Law to help you deal with the challenges you will face. To schedule a consultation, call 407-377-6399 or fill out the online form.



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