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Mental Illness / Addiction

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Mental Illness & Addiction

Understanding these Challenges in Divorce

People who struggle with mental illness, addiction, and substance abuse face challenges in many areas of their lives, including in their personal relationships. While it is often possible to manage and cope with these challenges, unfortunately, they can sometimes contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. When this happens, a spouse’s mental illness or substance abuse can also have significant implications for the divorce process and resolution, and it is important to be prepared for what to expect.

Whether you or your spouse is dealing with mental illness or addiction, you deserve to have your interests protected throughout the divorce process. At Reifman Law Offices, we strive to serve our clients with compassion for the challenges they face. We can help you prepare for the possible implications regarding child custody, spousal support, and other aspects of your divorce. With almost 20 years of experience, we are well-equipped to handle the complicated details of a high-conflict divorce.

Effects of Mental Illness and Addiction on the Divorce Process

Unlike in some other states, mental illness and substance abuse are not legally recognized as grounds for divorce in Illinois. As with any other Illinois divorce, you will need to file for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. However, when a spouse has a serious mental illness or substance abuse problem, it can be much more difficult to work out an amicable resolution, so you may need to prepare to resolve your divorce through litigation in court.

In some cases, mental illness or substance abuse can lead a person to act violently or in a way that endangers their spouse or children. If you feel that you or your children are at risk of harm, you may need to petition for an order of protection or other forms of temporary relief along with your divorce petition. An order of protection can prohibit your spouse from committing acts of abuse, and in some cases, may grant you exclusive possession of your home during the divorce process.

Implications Regarding Child Custody

The allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can be especially difficult when a parent is struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. If a parent’s condition does not interfere with their parenting abilities or their children’s best interests, it may have a minimal impact on child custody decisions. However, the court will likely want to thoroughly investigate the situation to ensure that the children are protected, and they may appoint a guardian ad litem and ask the parent to undergo a psychological evaluation.

If a parent’s mental illness or addiction prevents them from providing the care their children need, they will likely be granted a lesser share of parenting time and parental responsibilities. A parent whose behavior puts their children in danger may be subject to parenting time restrictions, including supervised visitation, required counseling, or prohibitions from using certain substances before or during parenting time.

Implications Regarding Asset Division and Spousal Support

Illinois courts take each spouse’s health into consideration in decisions regarding property division and spousal maintenance. If mental illness or addiction makes it difficult for a spouse to earn an income and support themself, the court could decide to order spousal support to help provide for that spouse’s needs.

However, if a spouse has wasted marital assets or destroyed marital property because of an addiction or mental illness, they may face financial consequences in the divorce process. This could be considered dissipation of marital assets, and the spouse could be required to reimburse the marital estate or be allocated a smaller portion of marital assets when dividing property.

Contact an Arlington Heights High-Conflict Divorce Lawyer

The challenges of mental illness and substance abuse in a divorce are varied and complicated. We will use the full extent of our knowledge and experience to help you resolve the issues you are facing and protect yourself and your children. For a free consultation, contact us today at 847-229-8433. We help clients in Schaumburg, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village, West Dundee, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, and the surrounding areas.

At Reifman Law Offices,

we will take the weight of dealing with family legal issues off of your shoulders.
Call Us 847-229-8433

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Arkady Reifman

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