Using Insanity As Grounds For A Divorce

Posted on: 17 March 2016


Insanity or mental illness is an acceptable ground for divorce. However, it comes with some potential complications that you should know before making your divorce application. Here are three such complications:

The Required Level of Proof Is Challenging

Because insanity is such a devastating and complicated health condition, you would think that it would be easy to divorce a mentally ill spouse. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. You may have to prove these issues to the court:

  • Your spouse's condition is incurable – A medical expert will be needed to declare your partner as mentally ill and satisfy the court that the condition cannot be reversed.
  • The illness has lasted for some time – Some states require you to prove that the condition has lasted for a minimum period, so you have to wait for this period to elapse before you can file for divorce on this ground.
  • Institutional care – some states will require proof that you have tried to make your spouse well, and you are taking good care of them before granting you divorce with insanity as a ground. The only way to show this is to provide records for inpatient or institutional care for the spouse.

The Mentally Ill Spouse Cannot File For Divorce

If a couple wants to use insanity as grounds for divorce, the sick spouse cannot be the one making the application. Therefore, if you have mental illness and want to divorce your spouse because of it, your best bet is to convince them to make the application.

Unfortunately, this isn't always as easy as it looks. For example, while you may have the noble idea of divorcing your partner so that you don't burden them with your condition, they may have a different opinion. Some partners

The Divorce May Take Longer Than Usual

Citing insanity as a ground for divorce adds one complication that other couples do not have – choosing a conservator or guardian for the mentally ill partner. As you know, a mentally ill person is incapable of representing themselves in legal matters, such as marriage.  This means the court will have to appoint another person to act on their behalf. Unfortunately, the process of appointing the conservator can take as long as several months.

Therefore, you need to think carefully before putting down mental illness as the ground for your divorce. Have a candid consultation with a divorce attorney, review your state laws, and decide if that is the way you want to proceed.