Divorcing a Depressed Spouse in Arizona | Understanding the Symptoms
There are many categories of depressive disorders that can materially affect a family and marriage. These disorders can also have a varying impact on a parent’s ability to properly parent his or her children. Depressive disorders are defined by a mental health professional in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM”).
The DSM indicates that the various depressive mood disorders are characterized by feelings of sadness, a sense of being empty, irritable moods, with changes that severely impact a person’s ability to do everyday activities. The different categories of depressive mood disorders depend upon how long they last, when they occur, and other physical conditions.
One of the more well known depressive disorders is Major Depressive Disorder. To be diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder a person must show the characteristics described above for at least two weeks; although most episodes last much longer than two weeks.
It is important to distinguish between depression that is triggered by an event, such as a divorce or death in the family, from those unrelated to such an event. A temporary depressive state due to an event may not necessarily mean someone suffers from a Major Depressive Disorder.
Divorcing a Depressed Spouse in Arizona | How to Handle the Divorce
Divorcing a depressed spouse, particularly one who has a chronic Major Depressive Disorder is tough and must be handled delicately. The risk of suicide is high among people who suffer from chronic Major Depressive Disorder. The obvious negative impact on the family and children can have an enormous negative emotional impact for many years.
It is important, therefore, to put a support system in place for the spouse who suffers from depression before addressing the issue of a divorce. You should seek out a qualified mental health professional to provide counseling for the spouse. You should follow the recommendations of that counselor. You should investigate medications that may help with the symptoms of depression. You should ensure the person has a strong support network of friends and family.
One of the other important things you should do is to make sure the attorney you hire understands the significance of the depression to the household, the children, and the safety and security of the spouse who suffers from a chronic Major Depressive Disorder. Hiring the wrong divorce attorney who is aggressive and uses litigious tactics can lead to dire consequences. Simply stated, you need a lawyer who will get you divorced from a depressed spouse in a dignified manner.
Choosing to divorce a spouse who is chronically depressed is a difficult choice. A choice only you can make based on your best interests and the best interests of your family. The good news is that even chronically depressed spouses can move on with their lives after divorce with the assistance of mental health treatment, medication, and support.
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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