How do mental health issues impact divorce cases in Michigan?
Divorces are challenging no matter what, but they are made even more complicated if one or both spouses suffer from a mental illness. Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, so spouses cannot sue for divorce based on the other’s mental health. However, mental illness can add difficulties to a divorce hearing. Here are some mental health related considerations to make when divorcing in Michigan.
What Counts As Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a mental health impairment ranging from extreme mental diseases to more easily treatable emotional conditions. Within divorce, some mental health issues can be addressed simply by seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist. If you or your spouse suffer from mild depression and seek medication or treatment, chances are your management will make it so there is no effect on your proceedings.
Other more extreme disorders, like borderline personality or schizophrenia, can be more difficult to deal with in a divorce. This is especially the case if the spouse suffering the illness refuses to acknowledge they have a problem, or refuses to seek treatment. Even when they do recognize the condition, treatment can be extremely difficult, requiring a significant commitment. If you or your spouse has been institutionalized, there are chances it will come into play during your divorce.
Mental Health Issues And Divorce In Michigan
Each state has its own rules governing the different elements of divorce, and mental health is no exception. Under Michigan’s no-fault statues, one spouse cannot sue for divorce based on the other’s mental illness. That being said, mental health can still play a part, sometimes even leading to annulment.
Since marriage is a legally binding contract, both spouses must be mentally able to give their consent. If at the time of signing, one or both spouses were unable to give consent due to a mental illness, the courts may rule to annul the marriage. Reversely, the court will not annul a marriage if the spouses lived together after the mentally ill spouse regained their capacity to consent.
Mental Illness, Alimony, and Custody
Alimony is often ordered in divorce cases as a way to balance the incomes of the spouses. This is especially the case if one of the spouses is financially dependent, or has a significantly lower income. A spouse suffering from mental illness will often struggle to find work or fully support themselves. Since mental illness can factor into a spouses self-sufficiency, it can become a determinate in granting alimony.
Similar to alimony rulings, family courts decide on child custody based on the mental capacity of the spouses. Like most states, Michigan decides custody based on what is in the best interest of the child. These rules are written into the laws and include the spouses’ willingness and ability to foster emotional ties, give the child love and guidance, and to provide the child with food, clothing, and any other necessary care.
If you have specific questions about mental health issues related to your divorce, contact The Gucciardo Family Law Firm for advice!
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