A Calmer Divorce Option: Settling Your Divorce Out of Court
Major life events can have a significant impact on a person’s emotional well-being. If that person is already struggling with mental health issues, the divorce process and the transition period that follows can be even more difficult. One way of decreasing the accompanying tension and stress is by choosing a divorce method that allows you to settle your case out of court.
Why Divorcing Someone With Mental Health Issues Can Be Challenging
Going through a divorce is difficult for all parties, even if they are the ones initiating the process. The end of a marriage means leaving behind shared goals and plans and is often accompanied by a sense of loss.
When one of the spouses is suffering from mental health issues, the emotions triggered by the divorce can make the process even more challenging. The spouse with mental health issues may attempt to prevent the divorce from progressing or take revenge over perceived wrongs.
If you are the one who initiated the divorce, you may feel guilty about pursuing it and the impact it will have on your spouse’s mental stability. You will likely also be concerned about the effect of the divorce on your children and the possibility of losing your relationship with them.
Do Not Let Your Children Get Caught in the Middle
In desperation over the divorce and the coming changes to their life, a parent who is already struggling with a mental health disorder might do things that can significantly harm the other parent, such as accusing them of abuse. They might attempt to alienate the children from the other parent as payback.
While you might feel like you have the right to retribution, it might be best to step back and consider the effect that any actions you take will have on the children, and this can help you prevent them from getting caught in the middle of the conflict.
Preparing to Divorce a Spouse With Mental Health Challenges
If you are in this situation and thinking of divorce, the preparation should begin early. Ideally, you will want to gather evidence that shows the existence of those issues, such as documenting any episodes or ensuring that you have credible witnesses for your interactions.
A divorce lawyer might be able to guide you about ways of interacting with your spouse to avoid further conflicts. Additionally, you might look for ways to lessen the impact of the process on the spouse with mental health issues, including:
- Gathering a support team, including a therapist who might help you work through your issues to cope with the actions of your spouse
- Approaching your spouse about the divorce when they are having periods of emotional stability
- Accepting that you will not be able to change your spouse and focusing on what you can do instead to make the process move forward as amicably as possible
- Maintaining a friendly tone and outlook about the process, including exploring alternative methods to going to court
Why Staying Out of Court Might Help
A long and expensive litigated divorce might not be best when one of the spouses deals with mental health challenges. The court appearances might just escalate that spouse’s feeling of desperation. However, you might explore alternative conflict resolution methods with your divorce lawyer that might help keep you out of court while resolving your issues more positively. You might consider a collaborative divorce or mediation to resolve your issues.
If you are ready to begin the divorce process and are dealing with a spouse with mental health issues, you need the guidance and support of a lawyer who understands your situation and who might help you choose the right method. At the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner we can assist you with your needs. Call us today at 215-886-1266 to schedule a consultation at our Jenkintown, Pennsylvania office.