With all the mental health issues facing Americans, it’s not surprising that mental illness continues to negatively impact the lives of married couples in Florida and around the country. The number of Americans experiencing mental illness increased by 1.5 million in one year! Mental health issues bleed over into marital problems and can lead to separation and divorce.
According to Florida law,
Mental incapacity of one of the parties. However, no dissolution shall be allowed unless the party alleged to be incapacitated shall have been adjudged incapacitated according to the provisions of s. 744.331 for a preceding period of at least 3 years. Notice of the proceeding for dissolution shall be served upon one of the nearest blood relatives or guardian of the incapacitated person, and the relative or guardian shall be entitled to appear and to be heard upon the issues. If the incapacitated party has a general guardian other than the party bringing the proceeding, the petition and summons shall be served upon the incapacitated party and the guardian; and the guardian shall defend and protect the interests of the incapacitated party. If the incapacitated party has no guardian other than the party bringing the proceeding, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to defend and protect the interests of the incapacitated party. However, in all dissolutions of marriage granted on the basis of incapacity, the court may require the petitioner to pay alimony pursuant to the provisions of F.S. §61.052(1)(b).
Divorce on the Ground of Mental Incapacity
A person who is incapable of making independent legal decisions because of mental health or disability is considered incapacitated. If you plan to file for divorce from a mentally ill spouse, you want to make certain you have been proactive and made a note of the rules and requirements. Working with a divorce lawyer can help keep your case on track. Once you file for the divorce, a guardian ad litem will be assigned to your case to act on behalf of your incapacitated spouse. It can be difficult going through with a divorce when your partner is ill, but mental health issues can be tremendously hard on a marriage. It’s common to struggle with the decision to divorce when mental health issues are the cause of marital problems.
The Difficulties of Divorcing a Mentally Ill Partner
When studied, it was found that petitioners who’d filed for divorce from a mentally ill spouse have lingering feelings of guilt, loss, and worry. Some spouses admit to having feelings of guilt that stem from leaving their spouse due to mental illness. When marriage vows say you promise to care for your mate in sickness and in health, it can be challenging to admit that you can’t live up to those promises. Leaving a marriage because the person you shared vows with is a different person can leave you with a sense of loss. You miss the person you married who is now gone and replaced with an incapacitated version of your spouse. At the end of it all, it’s normal to worry for the well-being and mental health of this person you loved and cared for enough to marry.
Respectful and Considerate Divorce Guidance
The attorneys at Mitchell & West, LLC can help you navigate the emotional and complicated details of filing for divorce because of mental illness. If your spouse is unable to represent their own interest, we can help you file the proper paperwork to ensure everything proceeds according to Florida regulation. Call us today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information.