couple sad on the couch

Unfortunately, individuals can suffer from mental disorders that disturb their cognition, emotional regulation, and behavior. Dealing with a spouse who has a mental illness can be highly challenging. This is primarily because you are often the victim of the blowback caused by the condition. That said, a spouse’s mental health issues can lead to divorce as individuals may have exhausted all other options but can no longer tolerate the fallout of the illness, such as abuse, infidelity, or financial mismanagement. In such cases, it is vital to understand the unique challenges you will face due to their illness when dissolving your marriage. Please continue reading to learn whether your spouse’s mental health issues can prevent you from obtaining a divorce, and discover how our compassionate Monmouth County Divorce & Separation Attorneys can help you navigate this complex process.

Will my spouse’s mental health issues prevent me from obtaining a divorce in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you nor your spouse can avoid a divorce by pleading insanity. However, it can slow down the process as a judge will likely appoint an individual with debilitating mental health issues a guardian to ensure that their legal interests are represented. Nonetheless, when filing for a divorce, as the petitioner, you must cite the reasoning for the cause of the marriage’s breakdown, otherwise known as the grounds for divorce. If you are filing for a fault-based divorce, you must cite one of the grounds recognized by New Jersey and prove that the cited grounds caused the marriage breakdown.

Although mental health issues are not technically classified as misconduct, incurable insanity can be cited as legal grounds for a divorce. Nevertheless, you can only cite incurable insanity if your spouse’s illness has resulted in them being institutionalized for at least two consecutive years before you filed for a divorce.

Can their condition affect divorce orders?

When divorcing a spouse with mental health issues, their condition will impact everything from child custody to property division. Therefore, to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a seasoned Monmouth County divorce & separation attorney who can help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement agreement.

Unfortunately, an individual’s mental health issues can diminish their ability to support themselves and their family as their condition prevents them from working. In such cases, the judge can award additional maintenance or order a more significant share of marital property to be issued to a spouse with a severe mental illness. When it comes to child custody, the court prioritizes protecting the best interests of a child. Therefore, a parent’s mental health condition will not automatically preclude them from receiving parenting time. However, they may not be granted custody if it has been proven that their condition endangers the safety and health of their child. It is also critical to note that parents are legally obligated to support their children regardless of their mental illness financially. That said, they may be awarded a larger share of your marital property to cover the child support maintenance.

As you can see, a spouse’s mental health issues will not prevent you from obtaining a divorce. However, their condition will affect the outcome of your divorce orders. To increase your chances of achieving favorable results, contact a determined attorney from the legal team at Paone Zaleski & Murphy today.