Mental Health and Divorce Law in Arizona
Dealing with a divorce is challenging enough on its own but when you also have to address mental health problems in the family, things can become truly unmanageable. Leaning on an experienced Arizona divorce attorney can give you guidance and help you pinpoint the best options for yourself and the people you love.
Arizona Divorce Laws and Mental Health Issues
Arizona is a no-fault state. This means that in the case of a divorce, two former partners will not have to prove who is to blame for the end of the marriage. One of the parties wanting to get a legal separation will be sufficient to trigger the process.
A fault divorce is possible in a limited number of instances.
Drug use and alcoholism are sufficient for the court to grant a divorce to one of the partners. Occasional use is not going to be enough to result in a fault divorce. When drugs or alcohol have a profound negative impact on the marriage, however, the court will take such facts into consideration.
If a couple has been living separately for two years or more, one of the spouses could request a divorce on such grounds. Thus, if one of the spouses is being treated at a facility for a mental health issue for a prolonged period of time, the other spouse can request legal separation.
Child Custody and Mental Health Illness
As you can see, mental health problems do not have a massive impact on the divorce process itself. The one aspect of the separation such issues could affect is child custody.
Numerous factors will be examined by the court to determine the best custody arrangement. The well-being of children is of primary importance. The mental and physical health of the parents or guardians will thus have to be examined to ensure a safe and consistently reliable environment.
There are many parents who can cope with mental illness and still provide their children with adequate care. Depending on the specific circumstances and the diagnosis, the court may request a mental examination be performed by an experienced professional.
The custodial rights of a person suffering from mental illness will be restricted solely in instances when they cannot care for the children or they could potentially endanger minors.
Based on mental illness, one of the parents can request the termination of parental rights of their former partner. The termination of parental rights is a permanent court decision. Therefore, magistrates will not take it lightly. Sufficient evidence will have to be provided about the ongoing nature of the illness and the manner in which it could jeopardize the well-being of children.
Mental Health and Alimony Considerations
A final divorce aspect that will need to be examined in relation to mental health issues is alimony. If one partner is not self-sufficient in the aftermath of the divorce, the court may grant that person spousal support for a certain period of time.
Thus, if mental illness prevents a person from finding employment, they could be granted alimony. An exception from that rule is a person receiving disability benefits because of their condition.
Alimony will, therefore, be considered in instances when mental illness is debilitating and preventing an individual from being self-sufficient. In the wide majority of cases, people who have such an issue are still capable of doing work and earning an income.
When mental illness is considered during divorce proceedings, both partners should be mindful of the potential effect on the other one. Child custody and alimony talks are usually difficult, which is why mental health issues should not be used against a former spouse. If you’re the person dealing with such a problem, you should know your limitations. Be realistic in the assessment of the situation to make the divorce as quick and painless as it could be.
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