There are many valid reasons why couples divorce in South Carolina. Maybe the romance is long gone and can’t be re-ignited. Financial issues may be involved. Your spouse has been unfaithful, and the trust between you has dissolved. The two of you disagree on just about everything, and the usual bickering has turned into a miserable, all-out, all-consuming, never-ending war.
Any of the above scenarios constitute a motive to divorce your significant other. But there can be circumstances that make a legal, permanent split not so fast and simple. One of them is when your husband or wife has a mental illness.
Recognizing a mental illness
It helps to clarify the term “mental illness.” Sometimes it is loosely used to refer to all kinds of conditions, but the actual definition is quite specific.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Serious mental illness is a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Examples of serious mental illness include major depressive disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”
If you plan to divorce someone with a diagnosed mental illness, remain aware of these points below. They may be of value as you undertake this sensitive proceeding.
- Put your feelings of guilt over the dissolution of your marriage aside. Being wedded to a mentally ill person can be a significant challenge that not everyone is emotionally equipped for.
- When child custody is being decided, one parent’s mental status may be a factor.
- People with a mental illness may experience periods when they are more rational and approachable than other times. Gauge their mood at a given juncture and then consider it.
A delicate problem for all concerned
Divorcing someone who is mentally ill may entail complexities you didn’t expect. It can require your compassion and patience, along with careful consideration. Carefully weigh your options as you go through the process of ending your marriage.