Can a Mental Illness Affect a Divorce?


February 26, 2021

When filing for a divorce, one must state the grounds for the divorce. When mental illness plays a part in the decision to file for a divorce, there are a few considerations one should know. The following outlines how a mental illness can impact a divorce case.

Fault in Divorce

When mental illness is the primary reason for a divorce, it may be in the person’s best interest to file a fault-based divorce. A fault-based divorce is based on some fault of the other spouse, and it is the other spouse’s responsibility to prove that their former partner contributed to the divorce. Examples of this include adultery, domestic violence, and marital abandonment. A fault-based divorce is different from a no-fault divorce in that a no-fault divorce does not require one to prove fault on the part of their former spouse.

Mental illness may affect a divorce in many ways, including child custody, alimony, and child support. Having a mental illness does not exempt one from their child support obligations. If a mental illness affects their ability to successfully gain employment or hold a job, a judge may award extra spousal support to the spouse. A well-managed mental illness may have little to no impact on a divorce.

Does Mental Illness Affect Child Custody?

Mental illness may affect child custody, but it does not automatically mean that a spouse will not be able to spend time with their children. Spouses with more severe mental health issues may find it a bit more difficult to obtain child custody. Mental health issues are not the only factor a judge will take into consideration when working out a child custody arrangement. The main factor is what is best for the children.

The court will take the mental and physical health of both parties as well as the relationship between both parents and their children when making decisions. Other factors that are taken into consideration when determining child custody include:

  • The child’s age and developmental status.
  • The child’s relationship to other siblings and extended family.
  • Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence.
  • Whether a child has adjusted well to their school and their community.

In certain circumstances, a parent may lose their child custody if their mental illness makes it impossible to care for their children or if parental termination is in the best interest of the child. For help solving divorce matters, a spouse should contact a lawyer.

Moorestown Divorce Lawyers at Stockton Family Law Represent Clients with Complex Divorce Cases

A mental illness can complicate your divorce, but an experienced Moorestown divorce lawyer at Stockton Family Law can help you through it and answer any questions you may have about the process. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-412-5052. We have an office located in Moorestown, New Jersey, and we proudly assist clients throughout South Jersey, including Mount Laurel, Burlington County, and Camden County.

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