Divorce and mental health go hand in hand.
When a married couple decides to get separated, the emotional effects are inevitable. What is more, there is no such thing as a cheap divorce.
The impact of divorce is sweeping, from potentially causing mental health issues to bringing financial ruin to a spouse. That is why couples think long and hard before ending a marriage.
Still, around 41% of marriages all over the world end in divorce and separation. What mental health issues can come from it? Is it possible to get divorced without incurring large financial losses?
While it is best to seek legal advice from a family law expert when considering divorce and separation, this article can offer you some useful insights.
What are the Different Types of Divorce?
Divorce has two broad categories. The first one is known as “divorce from bed and board,” which makes the separation of the spouses legal but does not allow them to remarry. It can be granted in case of adultery or life-threatening cruelty on one party.
The second one is called “divorce from the bond of matrimony,” or absolute divorce, which essentially declares the marriage invalid and allows either spouse to remarry. It is the more common type of divorce and can come in a number of ways, including the following:
In this type of divorce, the petitioning spouse has to present enough evidence that the other party has committed wrongdoing that led to the unavoidable breakdown of the relationship. This could include physical or emotional abuse.
In a no-fault divorce, there is no need for either spouse to prove that one party is responsible for the marital breakdown. Both spouses just point to “irreconcilable differences” as the cause.
The process is expedited in some cases where the couple hasn’t been married long, do not have any children, and do not own much property. In this case, both spouses can file the papers jointly, possibly without the help of a lawyer.
In this type of divorce, both parties have already agreed on the terms of the separation before getting the process started, including child support, division of property, and alimony.
These details are all stated in the separation agreement and then filed with the court. The courts then fast track the process, and in some cases, the spouses do not need to appear in court but just file sworn affidavits.
A contested divorce is the most contentious and stressful type of divorce. Couples who could not agree on their marital issues usually resort to this process, leaving the decision to a judge.
A default divorce is granted when one spouse files for divorce and the other spouse fails to respond.
Is Mental Health Grounds for Divorce?
In some cases, severe mental health issues in one party can be used as grounds for divorce. In this situation, the petitioning spouse has to file for a fault-based divorce and must prove that the illness is the cause of the marital breakdown.
If the divorce is granted, there is a chance that the petitioner will get a bigger share of the joint assets or a higher amount of financial support.
A judge usually assigns a guardian to protect the interest of the spouse with mental health issues, especially if he or she is in a mental health facility and could not participate in the process.
How Does Divorce Affect Mental Health?
A study shows that divorce and separation are closely linked to increased levels of anxiety and depression. It also increases the risk of alcohol abuse.
Losing a spouse to death is devastating, but the roadmap ahead is often defined. Losing a spouse through divorce often leaves one or both parties without a clear direction moving forward. It can bring about feelings of shame, insecurity, confusion, fear, and other forms of deep psychological distress.
To deal with the aftermath of a divorce, it is important to seek the support of friends and family. It is also a good idea to hire the services of mental health professionals.
How Do I Avoid Financial Ruins in a Divorce?
Divorce is very expensive, but there are things that you can do before, during, and after the process to manage the cost.
First, organise all your accounts before filing for divorce. If possible, do the same for your spouse. This will give you and your spouse the chance to see what you have to work with before moving forward.
Next, find out how much a divorce will cost and choose the path that will minimise the financial impact. For instance, you can explore the possibility of an uncontested divorce and take care of the paperwork yourselves.
Finally, you need to make the relevant changes in documents and accounts that can affect your employment, investments, insurance, and other financial matters.
While divorce and mental health are closely linked, taking care of the financial side of this emotional process will help both spouses heal and move on faster.
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