Divorcing a bipolar spouse can be due to a continued strain on a marriage. Bipolar disorder, also termed manic-depressive condition, is a brain disorder causing abnormal shifts in activity levels, mood, energy, and routine tasks. Your spouse could have bipolar disorder if the following symptoms present themselves:
- Depressed moods such as feeling hopeless, sad, or tearful
- Loss of interest in almost all activities
- Weight loss due to low appetite
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Slowed behavior or restlessness
Sometimes a spouse with a mental health condition can’t handle the marriage. It is crucial to understand the process required when divorcing a bipolar spouse.
Below are vital considerations to follow when divorcing a bipolar partner.
Securing a Separation and Settlement Agreement
When divorcing a bipolar spouse, first secure a Separation and Settlement Agreement. The document provides that you and your spouse consent to the separation as conscious parties. This document will also portray the settlement criterion once the divorce process ends. The law requires courts to enforce Agreements entered into:
- With clear agreement terms
- With the counsel representing both parties
- With a fair monetary declaration of all accounts and assets
- With both partners fully aware
- Without proof of coercion or other deception
The Agreement is prone to challenge on the grounds of unfitness. This is despite the bipolar spouse conceding, as ascertained by the counsel. The proof is also required to determine that the divorce with bipolar disorder was not under coercion.
Bipolar disorder and divorce require the determination of child custody terms. Most divorces involve custody disputes, especially when the partners’ voluntary mutual consensus is impossible. The law makes custody rulings based on evaluating the child’s needs.
A parent’s mental condition results in several factors when deciding on the child’s custody and visitation rights. The factors include:
- The child’s needs
- Each parent’s fitness to spend time with the child
- The child’s safety, including the security and stability of the home setting
- The parent’s capacity to converse and coordinate when raising the child
If a divorce occurs without considering these factors, it can adversely affect custody decisions. The law may restrict a parent with bipolar disorder on time spent with the kid if the situation warrants concern. In this case, the court may mandate supervised visitation.
Manage Your Emotions
You will experience mixed emotions when divorcing a bipolar partner. These emotions may include:
In such a case, acknowledge these emotions and find suitable ways to mitigate them. You can enroll in a support group, visit a therapist, or record them in your journal. Spend time thinking about this decision and ensure your emotions don’t overwhelm you.
Try to support your bipolar spouse by controlling your anxiety levels. You can manage your decisions and responses in a manner that can produce a smooth divorce proceeding.
Once you feel your spouse puts you and your children in danger, take an immediate step to protect yourself. You can take a restraining order or depart from your family home. You can also meet with your attorney to advise you on the best decision.
Communicate With Your Attorney
Conducting a divorce with bipolar disorder can be challenging in North Carolina. An attorney is helpful in this scenario to smoothen the divorce proceedings. If you cannot communicate with your spouse, let the attorney intervene. A proxy will minimize the stress and enhance the smooth flow of the divorce process.
Some areas an attorney may provide guidance include:
- Custody issues
- Division of assets and other estates
- Other matters arising in the divorce process
When negotiating asset division, a divorce attorney‘s objective is to see clients obtain a fair and just legal process. The asset division should concur with the determination of property entitled to each spouse before and during a marriage. Your attorney should be fair while dividing the property equitably per your will.
An attorney takes time to develop a relationship with the clients by understanding the pain attached to the divorce. The lawyer and client establish objectives and work towards a profound divorce outcome. When deciding on an attorney, ensure they have experience handling complex legal proceedings.
How to Cope When Your Spouse Suffers from Bipolar Disorder
When divorcing a bipolar spouse, you should also learn to cope with the situation for your good.
This condition can disrupt your daily functioning and requires several steps to ensure a smooth divorce. How can you manage if your spouse has bipolar disorder?
- Renew yourself: Marrying a bipolar spouse can make you lose sight of your identity, hobbies, and needs. Make time for yourself as you file the divorce.
- Educate yourself: Acquire knowledge through various online resources to cope, especially after the divorce.
- Create room for your spouse to open up: Amidst the divorce process, be a source of strength for your bipolar spouse.
Engage an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
Due to the complicated divorce proceedings when divorcing a bipolar spouse, obtain help from an experienced divorce attorney. Prepare all documents and evidence to enable you to maneuver the divorce process.
The divorce attorneys at Remington & Dixon PLLC will offer competent counsel throughout the divorce process. We have an experienced team that will work closely with you to expose your spouse’s behaviors that led to the divorce. Contact us today, and let us protect you throughout the divorce process.
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Jennifer is a founding partner at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Jennifer concentrates her practice in the areas of family law, wills & estates, unemployment benefits appeals, and traffic. At Elon University School of Law, Jennifer was the vice president of the Public Interest Law Society and a member of the Family Law Society. During law school, Jennifer interned at the Elon University School of Law Field Placement Clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina where she represented clients in domestic violence court proceedings.