One of the greatest challenges that can face a married couple or a couple in the process of getting a divorce is when one or both partners suffer from a mental health disorder.
The issues that arise from the stress of marriage and child-rearing are complex for even the most emotionally stable couple. Adding a mental health challenge to the situation can make difficult issues astronomically harder.
Not to mention, the added traumas of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated previously existing mental health issues.
Sadly, I have seen people married to spouses with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and other mental health disorders falsely arrested and falsely accused of child abuse, which has sometimes resulted in the falsely accused spouse losing their jobs and reputations in the community.
So how can you be thoughtful and protect yourself when preparing to disentangle from a marriage—and ultimately keep or gain custody of your children—when your spouse suffers from borderline personality disorder, or another severe mental health concern?
How can you protect your children who are caught in the middle?
Here are four tips for navigating a divorce involving Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):
- If you are already working with an attorney, let your attorney know of your specific concerns immediately, and take his or her advice on the next steps that are deemed right for your situation. If you are not already working with an attorney, find someone who understands mental health issues and ideally, someone who has worked on cases similar to yours.
- Be sure to let your attorney know about any prior mental health episodes that your spouse had, including prior to the marriage. The foregoing should include any hospitalizations, suicidal ideations, suicide attempts, and issues that your spouse may have had with former partners, including any allegations that your spouse made about former boyfriends or girlfriends.
- Sharing information and documentation is key. Be very candid with your attorney about your concerns. Share any examples that illustrate your concerns.
- While it is unwise to challenge someone who is acting irrationally, it is ideal if you can document any erratic behavior on the part of your spouse, including details such as times, places, etc.
For more, read my full article about divorce and borderline personality disorder on Psychology Today or reach out to my office to schedule a meeting today.