Divorcing a Mentally Ill Spouse

Divorce is one of the most stressful things a family can face. But if you're in the process of divorcing a mentally ill spouse, you know that this process can be even more difficult when your former partner is facing a mental health crisis.

No-Fault Divorce

In North Carolina, it is possible to use incurable insanity as grounds for a divorce, but it's unnecessary for the age of no-fault divorce. To obtain a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse need to live apart for one year without engaging in everyday marital life. Instead, your most pressing concerns may be ensuring the health and well-being of your ex-partners, your children, and yourself.

Divorce from Bed and Board 

In North Carolina, you can also obtain a specific divorce variation that technically keeps you in a marital relationship. A divorce from bed and board may be a faster, temporary solution until you can obtain a standard divorce. You may want to consider a divorce from bed and board if your spouse:

  • Abandons the family,
  • Commits adultery,
  • Treats you cruelly or endangers your life,
  • Maliciously forces you to leave,
  • Is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or 
  • Causes “intolerable indignities” in your life.

Mental Health and Custody

If your spouse is mentally ill, it can also affect child custody and visitation. A court will consider your spouse's ability to provide care to your children and adjust custody accordingly. Your spouse may need supervised visitation for a time or perhaps only visits during the day. A North Carolina court will consider how your spouse's mental illness or addiction may affect your kids to ensure the children's welfare and safety. In extreme cases, a court may consider terminating a severely mentally ill spouse's parental rights if the court finds them unfit to raise a child.

Mental Health and Financial Support

When splitting a couple's assets and determining spousal support, a court will consider each parent's physical and mental health. In some cases where a spouse is insane and doesn't have the assets to provide their support, a court will order the spouse seeking the divorce to pay for their care.  

Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Whatever you decide to do, it's important that you not feel guilty about your decision to divorce. Your spouse's mental illness isn't your fault. You are merely making the best decision that you can for yourself and your family. But you will need expert advice to guide you in this difficult time.

If you're contemplating divorce from a mentally ill spouse, you need a skilled divorce attorney. If you're in the Shelby or Gastonia area, we can help. Contact Caulder & Valentine online or call and set up a consultation.