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Photo of Professionals at McCoy Fatula, APC

How mental illness or addiction can affect a divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2017 | Divorce

Mental illness is a very serious matter affecting California and all other states in our nation. Many people consider addiction to alcohol or other substances to be a mental illness as well. While these problems can have a devastating impact on couples in a relationship, they can also come into play when a couple is getting a divorce.

Laws pertaining to marriage and mental health vary widely throughout the country. For instance, in some states, a person cannot divorce someone just because he or she may be deemed as legally insane. Many states have different standards for mental illness than they do for addiction when dealing with divorce. Some have stipulations regarding how long a mental illness has lasted or whether or not a person has sought treatment for an addiction.

When a state law specifies that someone cannot sue for divorce for substance abuse problems or mental illness, other situations often come into play. A person could sue on grounds of adultery, desertion or even emotional or physical abuse if those exist. In many cases, judges are looking to see if a couple has tried other options, such as living apart or getting treatment in a rehab facility.

Several aspects of a divorce can be affected, included alimony. A state may either increase or reduce the amount of alimony payments based on the circumstances surrounding addiction or mental illness. Likewise, child custody or visitation rights may be altered in these cases to ensure the safety and well-being of the children.

Going through a divorce can be a stressful process for anyone. When coupled with dealing with the issues of addiction or mental illness, the process may feel overwhelming. A California divorce lawyer would be a valuable ally in navigating the divorce process. A knowledgeable attorney will help clients protect their interests both now and in the future and work toward achieving the most favorable outcome in their cases.

Source:, “Mental Illness, Addiction, and Divorce: Know Your Rights –“, Stephen Bitsoli, Nov. 8, 2017

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