Divorcing a Spouse With Psychological Maladies

Divorcing a Spouse With Psychological Maladies

Alpharetta-Atlanta Divorce and Family Law Attorney Stephen A. Land on Divorcing a Spouse with a Mental Illness

It's a tragedy when a human being loses his or her ability to rationalize. In many cases, it's the person who is affected by the mental condition who is the last to recognize it. The state of Georgia recognizes mental illness as one of its 13 grounds for dissolution of marriage. However, just because it's provided for in the law doesn't mean that a divorce based on this ground can be processed without difficulty. If you are married to a person who had a known mental illness or who has developed one, you will need to retain the services of a reliable Georgia family law attorney who has experience with this type of divorce.

Georgia requirements for a divorce due to mental illness

In order to use a spouse's mental illness as grounds for divorce, he or she must either:

  • Be adjudicated as mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction
  • Have been certified as mentally ill by two psychiatric physicians who have examined him or her, and he or she has been institutionalized or under continuous treatment for at least two years. In addition, a physician and the superintendent of the facility must also concur that the spouse exhibits mental illness.

In Georgia, for a divorce to be granted on the grounds of a mental disability, there must also be little likelihood of a recovery. Naturally, even in the most profound cases of mental illness, obtaining this level of certification is not something that the average Georgia spouse is able to accomplish on their own. This requires a very specialized skill set that very few attorneys—even in metropolitan Atlanta—possess.

Other avenues of divorce in Georgia

The state of Georgia lists 13 grounds for divorce, including a no-fault ground in which both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Divorce lawyers in Georgia may recommend other avenues of divorce before attempting to use a spouse's mental illness—particularly in borderline cases of compromised rationality. Creating doubt as to your spouse's mental capacity may preclude him or her from being able to willingly participate in a no-fault divorce. It's important in any dissolution of marriage action for you to contact a reputable family law attorney before proceeding.