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What to know about divorcing someone with a mental illness

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, so you can divorce for any reason. You don’t need to prove that the other person is the reason behind the divorce. If your spouse has a mental illness, this influences some of the decisions on property division and child custody, but it won’t prevent you from getting a divorce.


If you earn more money than your spouse, there is a higher chance that the judge will require you to pay them alimony when they have a mental illness. A lot of factors go into alimony decisions, such as length of the marriage, age and health of both parties and the ability of the other spouse to enter the workforce.


In some situations, a judge could annul your marriage. This is for when your spouse’s mental state was so poor that they didn’t understand the implications of marrying you at the time of your wedding. Even if your spouse was drunk or intoxicated on another type of drug on your wedding day, this qualifies for a potential annulment of the marriage.

Child custody

If you have concerns about the safety of your child, you should gather evidence of your spouse’s mental health problems to prove to the court why you should get sole custody. Divorce issues involving children are often more stressful, especially when parents don’t agree on their co-parenting plan.

Attempting to negotiate with a spouse who has mental illness can make divorce even more difficult. You could bring in a professional mediator to help you negotiate a co-parenting plan. Also, try to be more patient with your spouse, and don’t take their behavior personally. Avoid talking to them when their mental state is going through one of its downs whenever possible. You will find communication to be easier on one of their good days.

Divorcing someone with mental illness adds additional layers of complexity because the judge must take into consideration their condition when making decisions on alimony, child custody and property distribution. You should be prepared to seek extra help from mediators and therapists if you need it.