Divorcing Someone with a Personality Disorder

August 20, 2016

personality disorder attorneys in Columbus Ohio

Decades of combined experience have taught the Columbus, Ohio, divorce attorneys with Edward F. Whipps & Associates that personality disorders lie at the root of many troubled marriages. The paranoia, compulsive behaviors, obsessions, narcissism, mood swings, and/or withdrawal from society that mark different kinds of personality disorders can make sharing a home and child care duties with an afflicted partner impossible. 

Many instances of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse can be traced back to a personality disorder. So can abandonment or refusal to ensure one’s own well-being or to take care of a young child. Ending the marriage may be the only way to guarantee the health and safety of yourself and your children. Ohio family law, however, does not list personality disorders among the reasons for seeking an at-fault divorce. 

Seeking a divorce for fault is often the only option when trying to end a marriage to a person with a personality disorder because individuals with behavioral problems tend to object to major changes in their lives; therefore, an uncontested divorce or negotiated marriage dissolution will generally not be possible. In order to demonstrate that grounds for divorce exist, the man or woman who files the divorce petition may need to show that they suffered cruelty. They may also be asked to present proof of being left on their own by a person who chose to walk away from the marriage or that their partner grossly neglected duties expected of a spouse or parent. 

Establishing such proof is where hiring a caring and knowledgeable personality disorder attorney can provide invaluable services. Your attorney will offer an empathetic and nonjudgmental ear when you share your story of trying to make your marriage to a person with a personality disorder work. Your lawyer will also do everything legally possible to secure a diagnosis for your partner’s behavioral problems. Meeting that professional obligation can require convincing a judge to issue a court order for a mental and emotional evaluation. 

When appropriate, statements on the actions of the person you’re divorcing will be recorded for use as evidence during negotiations and court hearings over child custody and visitation/parenting time. Witnesses who can attest to the irreconcilable differences created by a spouse’s personality disorder include school-age children, family members, co-workers, and friends. The diagnoses and opinions of medical professionals, mental health counselors, and social workers can also carry great weight. 

A final consideration when divorcing a person who suffers from a personality disorder is that you may need protective orders. Ohio family court judges and police are generally willing to issue and enforce orders to limit contact and communications, but requests for protective orders must be filed in the right form and with the appropriate authorities. Your Columbus personality disorders and divorce attorney will make sure technical issues do not delay enactment of an order of protection for you and your children. 

To request help with a tough divorce case, contact Edward F. Whipps & Associates by calling (614) 461-6006 or filling out this form.




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