Divorcing a Bipolar Spouse in Arizona
Divorcing a Bipolar Spouse in Arizona | The Symptoms
It is important to be able to distinguish if your spouse is bipolar or simply a very moody or unhappy person. A prior diagnosis by a qualified mental health provider would certainly be excellent proof a spouse has bipolar disorder. If there is not a previous diagnosis, a mental health provider will turn to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM”).
The “DSM” provides that people who are bipolar experience “manic episodes” as an abnormal and persistent elevated mood or feeling of grandiosity that lasts most if not all of the day for at least one week. The person also has either an inflated sense of self, sleeplessness, becomes very talkative, has racing thoughts and ideas, is easily distracted, or participates in risky behavior. The person can also become irritable.
Many such people begin a new business or other ventures with little to no knowledge of the business or enterprise. Most often people suffering a manic episode spend a significant amount of money on shopping sprees, reckless driving, and other unsafe activities. A person can have bipolar disorder with or without an accompanying diagnosis of a major depressive disorder. However, periods of mania are often preceded or followed by a major depressive episode.
Divorcing a Bipolar Spouse in Arizona | The Impact of a Divorce
Filing for divorce against a bipolar spouse in Arizona could spin that spouse into a major depressive episode or a manic episode. As a result, it is much harder to resolve a divorce case with a person suffering from an active bipolar episode. As you may imagine, it is sometimes difficult for spouses to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement when both spouses are not suffering from any mental health disorder. It is much harder to settle a case with a spouse who is suffering from a bipolar disorder episode.
You are likely to experience your spouse going through wild mood swings during the divorce. They can go from being overly grandiose to being depressed and withdrawn. The condition can impact their willingness or lack thereof to face the reality of the divorce even after a divorce petition has been filed. They may be persistent in trying to end the divorce, so it is essential you stand your ground and not show any signs you may be wavering in your decision.
You should also ensure you protect any assets and credit lines you have to ensure your bipolar spouse does not spend all of your money. All negotiations should be done through experienced divorce lawyers to minimize your contact with your bipolar spouse. If settlement discussions do not appear to be going anywhere productive, set your case for trial to get the case finished as quickly as possible.
Divorcing a Bipolar Spouse | A Good Divorce Attorney Makes a Difference
You should seek out a good divorce attorney that not only understands divorce law but also has experience handling divorce cases against a spouse that has a mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder. This does not mean your attorney has to be an aggressive attorney as this will only create additional unnecessary hostility, which will cost you more time and money.
Instead, you should look to an attorney who can push your case through the legal system as quickly as possible and who understands how the disorder will affect settlement discussions and even the trial of your divorce case.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.
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