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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Chicago Divorce Attorney Involving Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Des Plaines lawyer for divorce and substance abuse

Chicago Divorce Lawyer for Custody, Orders of Protection, and Divorce Issues Related to Mental Health in Cook County

Being married to a spouse with a mental illness or a substance abuse problem can be incredibly challenging, and unfortunately, it may be enough to outweigh the positives in the marriage. As a result, you may decide that your best option is to file for divorce. If so, you should be aware of the possible complications that mental illness and substance abuse can bring to the divorce process.

At The Law Office of George J. Skuros, we know that some divorce cases are more complicated than others, and dissolving a marriage can be difficult for both the person coping with mental illness and their spouse. With our knowledge from over 30 years of legal experience, we can help you understand and protect your rights and address the many challenges that are likely to arise as you bring your marriage to an end.

Are Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Grounds for Divorce in Illinois?

In several states throughout the U.S., a spouse's mental illness or substance abuse qualifies as legal grounds for a fault-based divorce. Even in Illinois, this was true for substance abuse up until 2016. However, Illinois is now a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the only recognized grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences. Mental illness and addiction can certainly contribute to irreconcilable differences, but a spouse will not be punished or held legally responsible for the failure of the marriage simply because they have a mental health or substance abuse problem. However, this does not mean that mental illness never has an impact on the outcome of a divorce.

Divorce and Family Law Issues Affected by Mental Illness

Depending on the specific circumstances, a spouse's mental health or substance abuse could affect several different aspects of a divorce, including:

  • Spousal maintenance - When deciding whether to award spousal support in an Illinois divorce, the court will consider factors including each spouse's physical and mental health and their ability to earn an income and support themselves financially. A spouse with severe mental illness may need expensive treatment, and they also may have difficulty maintaining regular employment. If so, the court may order the other spouse to pay maintenance to help provide for the mentally ill spouse's needs.
  • Asset dissipation - On the other hand, a spouse's financial interests in a divorce can also be negatively impacted by their mental health. Particularly in the case of addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling, a spouse may use marital assets to fuel their habit. In these cases, the other spouse can file a claim of dissipation and pursue reimbursement for wasted assets in the division of marital property.
  • Orders of protection - If a spouse's mental illness or substance abuse is associated with violent behavior toward their spouse or children, it may be necessary to petition for an order of protection from domestic abuse along with the petition for divorce. A protection order can be crucial for the parties at risk of abuse, but it can also complicate the divorce process by barring communication and contact between spouses, and in some cases, an order of protection may grant a spouse temporary exclusive possession of the home and other property.
  • Allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time - Many parents are able to manage their mental illness without it negatively affecting their parenting abilities. However, in cases where there is evidence of a parent's inability to provide for a child's needs, they may be granted a lesser share of parenting time and decision-making responsibility. In severe cases in which a parent's mental illness or substance abuse endangers a child, their parenting time and responsibilities may be restricted. This could mean that they may be ordered to undergo treatment or refrain from using drugs or alcohol during their parenting time, or they may be required to have their parenting time supervised by a third party.

Contact a Mount Prospect Family Law Attorney

We can help you understand your options if you are concerned about your spouse's mental illness or protect your rights when your spouse alleges that your behavior has caused them financial harm or endangered your children. Contact us today at 312-884-1222 for a free, confidential consultation to discuss these sensitive issues. We serve clients in Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Schaumburg, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Park Ridge, the North Shore, and throughout the Chicago area and Cook County.

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