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Can mental illness affect divorce in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2017 | divorce

Each year, one in four adults is diagnosed with some sort of mental illness. It’s no wonder, then, that mental illness may play a part in the reasons a couple divorces. In fact, more than half of all divorces in the United States have mental illness affecting the divorce decision. California couples are no exception. A mental illness diagnosis may play a part in the outcome of the divorce as well.

The type of mental illness has an effect on divorce proceedings. The illness could be severe, like bipolar depression or schizophrenia, or it could be more easily treatable. Much depends, too, on whether a person takes his or her prescribed medication on a consistent basis. One partner cannot diagnose another with a mental illness. The diagnosis must come from a medical professional.

In states that require grounds for divorce, mental illness definitely is one. A judge could order psychiatric testing, especially when there are children involved. Children are perceptive, and even if one parent accuses the other of being mentally unfit, it could affect the children’s relationship with that parent. If a parent is genuinely suffering from a mental illness, a judge will ascertain that parent’s ability to be a good parent.

The mental illness issue should be brought up in court if there is even an inkling someone could be in danger. If there are signs of neglect or abuse of children, the authorities should be notified. All evidence should be documented so that it can be admissable in court.

Mental illness makes a divorce situation even more stressful. A compassionate California lawyer will be able to assist his or her client in the divorce process when the grounds includes mental illness of a spouse. A lawyer experienced in family law may even be able to suggest other professional resources, like counselors, for additional help.

Source:, “Can a Psychiatric Diagnosis Hurt You in a Divorce?”, Accessed on Oct. 20, 2017