How Schizophrenia Can Affect Divorce Procedures

September 10, 2016

divorce, Dublin Ohio

Understanding how schizophrenia affects divorce procedures requires knowing both which grounds the State of Ohio recognizes as valid for seeking to end a marriage and how the disorder leads a mentally ill spouse to act. 

First, Ohio will grant a man or woman’s divorce petition when the person who files for divorce can produce evidence that their spouse has 

  • Committed adultery
  • Been willfully absent for more than one year
  • Acted in extremely cruel ways
  • Become addicted to drugs or alcohol, which state statutes refer to as “habitual drunkenness”
  • Neglected duties expected of a husband, wife, or parent in a consistent or egregious fashion
  • Engaged in fraud in order to enter into the marriage contract
  • Become imprisoned for a lengthy period
  • Procured a divorce outside of Ohio that does not release the other spouse from the marriage 

Now look at how the National Institute of Mental Health defines schizophrenia and lists its symptoms. According to the research institute, schizophrenia “is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality.” Individuals afflicted by the condition, which often manifests during a person’s 20s and 30s, experience hallucinations, delusions, physical agitation that can include lashing out, social withdrawal, diminished ability to complete tasks, inability to make decisions based on facts, and poor ability to use newly acquired information to alter their actions. 

It is easy to see how a person suffering from schizophrenia could neglect family members, act cruelly while feeling agitated, and abandon a spouse while being beset by delusions and making poor decisions that cannot be swayed by facts. In some cases, people living with someone suffering from schizophrenia can fear for their safety from verbal threats and physical assaults. The mentally ill person will not intend to inflict harm, but he or she may not be able to think clearly. 

Working with a Dublin, Ohio, divorce attorney to arrange psychological evaluations by experts can help a husband or wife establish the presence of untreated and/or uncontrolled schizophrenia as the root of irresolvable or safety problems in a marriage. Going through the process could strengthen the case for divorce or, more hopefully, allow the mentally ill person to receive the treatment they need. Reconciliation is always a possibility, but staying in a marriage will only be bearable if a problem like schizophrenia is resolved. 

It is also important to recognize that schizophrenia is just one of a range of mental illnesses and personality disorders that can break a marriage and complicate child custody and visitation issues. A man or woman who is considering filing for divorce can benefit from consulting with a family law attorney who has a background not only in handling divorce cases, but who also has experience and training in psychology. The legal team at Edward F. Whipps & Associates includes such lawyers. To request an appointment with one, call our Dublin offices at (614) 461-6006 or reach out to us online.





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