What should I know about mental health issues & divorce in New York?

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If your spouse suffers from severe mental health issues, you may feel tremendous guilt when contemplating ending the marriage. However, after exhausting all other options and being burdened with the blowback of your partner’s condition, you may be left with no other options than ending your marriage. When divorcing someone due to their incurable insanity, you will face a unique set of challenges. To best prepare yourself for these challenges, it is in your best interest to contact a compassionate Suffolk County Divorce & Separation Attorney who can help you navigate this complex process. 

Can my spouse’s mental health issues prevent me from obtaining a divorce in New York?

If you seek a divorce in New York, as the petitioner, it is necessary to state the grounds for ending your marriage. Essentially, you must provide the court with reasoning for the cause of the breakdown of your marriage. In New York, you can pursue a no-fault or fault-based divorce. With a no-fault divorce, you do not have to present any evidence to prove the cause of the marriage’s breakdown. You can claim that irreconcilable differences caused the breakdown of marriage. However, if you file for a fault-based divorce, it’s a more complicated process as you have to prove the grounds you are citing. Each state regulates different legal grounds in which a person can be granted a divorce.

If your spouse suffers from a severe mental health condition, their illness will not prevent you from obtaining a divorce. You can cite irrecusable insanity as the cause of the marriage’s breakdown. However, you will be burdened with proving that their mental health issues caused the dissolution of the marriage. Although their mental health issues won’t prevent you from obtaining a divorce, their condition will likely slow down the process and directly impact the outcome of your divorce settlement agreement.

Will their condition affect the outcome of my divorce?

As mentioned above, a spouse’s mental health issue will not prevent you from obtaining a divorce. However, their condition will affect support, custody, and property distribution. Unfortunately, severe mental health issues can hamper an individual’s ability to support themselves and their family. When this is the case, the court will often grant a larger share of the couple’s marital assets during the division of assets to ensure spouses who cannot work or hold employment have financial support.

Regardless of an individual’s mental state, they have a legal obligation to support their children financially. Therefore, if a parent’s mental health conditions prevent them from working, they may be awarded additional compensation during property distortion to cover child support costs. Furthermore, many worry about how their spouse’s mental health issues will affect their children’s custody determination. A parent’s mental health condition will not automatically preclude them from receiving custody or parenting time. However, if it can be proven that their condition has a negative impact on their child’s well-being, they will not be granted custody as the court values safeguarding a child’s best interests.

For more information on divorcing a spouse with mental health issues, contact The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today. Allow our firm to represent your interests to maximize your chances of achieving the best possible outcome.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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