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How is mental illness assessed as justification for a divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2021 | Divorce, Firm News |

In Georgia, people who want to get a divorce should understand the grounds for it under the law. While many people will simply claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken and get a total divorce based on that, there are other grounds for divorce including adultery, desertion, habitual intoxication and marital cruelty. For some, the spouse is suffering from mental illness. While this is unfortunate and warrants kindness, sympathy and the proper level of care, it can make a marriage untenable and is therefore a viable reason to get a divorce. Understanding how the law assesses incurable mental illness in a divorce is important if this is the primary factor for the filing.

Legal facts about incurable mental illness in a divorce

For incurable mental illness to be the reason for a divorce, the court must find that the person is suffering from this issue or two physicians must perform an examination and certify that the person is mentally ill. In addition, he or she must be confined to an institution for it and have continuous treatment for at least two years prior to the divorce action. The institution’s superintendent or CEO as well as one court-appointed physician competent in such matters must certify that that the person is mentally ill and cannot perform the marital requirements due to a lack of reasoning, memory or intelligence. They must also certify that no recovery with the current treatment protocols can be expected.

If the individual has a guardian, then that guardian as well as the facility’s superintendent must be served with the divorce action. If there is no guardian, it can be served on the guardian ad litem – the court-appointed person who will oversee the person’s affairs. The superintendent or CEO of the facility can appear in court to speak about the situation. If there is a divorce, it will not impact those who provide support and maintenance of the person who is suffering from mental illness.

For complicated divorce issues, having experienced help can be essential

While many divorces are simple matters of the sides no longer wanting to be together in a marital relationship and the court case centers on child support, child custody, spousal support, visitation and property division, others are more complex. That is especially true if one of the spouses is suffering from incurable mental illness and that is why the divorce is being initiated. For these difficult circumstances, it is vital to know the law and to be competently represented. Having assistance from the beginning can be vital to reach the desired result.