Today, one in five adults suffers from mental health issues – this means that in families, two out of three are dealing with mental health problems at any given time. Think about that – when you drive down the street, every third house is dealing with a family member who is mentally ill. Many are fond of saying “My ex is crazy,” but if your situation is one in which that is literally true rather than figuratively, you should know that you are not alone, even though the burden of dealing with a mentally ill family member is a heavy and lonely one. This is especially true when your family member makes it necessary to bring a case to court with a family law attorney in Greenville, South Carolina.
Often, a mental health issue, whether it has been diagnosed as one or not, is the catalyst that sets the wheels turning in a divorce, separation, or child custody case. It is absolutely a struggle to be married to, or even co-parent with, someone who struggles with mental illness, especially one that has been undiagnosed and essentially untreated for a period of years.
What Can I Expect from a Family Law Case in South Carolina Involving Mental Illness?
There are a number of common pitfalls which can come up during a case with your Greenville, SC family law attorney if your ex suffers from mental illness.
First, your ex may not be willing to believe that he or she has a mental illness at all. This fact alone makes diagnosing and treating such an illness nearly impossible, and the court may need to go so far as to order a psychological evaluation to prove that the illness exists.
Second, your ex may agree that he or she has a mental illness but refuse medication and therapy. Refusing to accept the recommended treatment can make an already unpleasant situation more difficult, and could lead to enforcement issues in your family law case.
Third, your ex could be in treatment and seeing a therapist, but not getting any better. This is a difficult situation when the treatment is court ordered because at this point you and your family law attorney in Greenville, South Carolina can do is wait for the court to examine the situation anew.
Fourth, your ex may have a mental illness, but the court may not see why the illness is important or may fail to recognize the magnitude of its impact on you or your children. Judges and Greenville family attorneys are all exposed to training on a variety of psychological topics, particularly as they apply to children and families, but at the end of the day, a judge or family law attorney in Greenville, South Carolina is not a mental health professional, and convincing them of the severity of the impact of your family member’s illness can be tedious and expensive.
Finally, your ex may have a personality disorder, which is a rather difficult thing to “prove” in a court of law. The science of psychology is still developing, and while it becomes more advanced day by day, it is always changing, and there is a lot about the brain, and about personality disorders, that we don’t know. Family court, and the work of Greenville family attorneys, is often a game of “he said” v. “she said,” and your ability to be proactive and document things that support your version of events will improve your Greenville, SC family law attorney’s ability to overcome the “my word against yours” arguments.
What Can My Family Law Attorney in Greenville South Carolina Do If My Ex is Mentally Ill?
If you suspect that a mental illness is playing a part in your family law case, be sure to inform your Greenville, SC family law attorney as soon as you can. Give examples, and be specific, as to what you perceive as the signs of mental illness. Your family attorney in Greenville may recommend asking the court for a psychological evaluation, and your attorney will know the proper strategy and timing for this request. Whatever your issue, if you are in need of a family law attorney in Greenville, SC, contact the Elliott Frazier Law Firm today, and let us help you through whatever difficult time you may face.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.