Tag: mental illness

My Husband Is Forcing Me to Get My Inheritance From Court From My Ex-husband’s (Deceased) Brothers Otherwise He Will Divorce Me. What Should I Do?

Talk to a good (a good) lawyer about whether you even have the right to “inherit” from your ex-husband’s brothers. Unless there are bizarre circumstances at work here, odds are you have no rights to your ex-husband’s brothers’ decedents’ estates. Talk to a good lawyer who handles wills and probate matters to find out. Heck, bring your husband along to the meeting, so that he learn first-hand from the lawyer himself (that way he can’t tell you that “you don’t understand” if you come back from the lawyer’s office by yourself and tell your husband what the lawyer told you).

As for a husband who threatens to divorce you if you don’t try to obtain a portion of your ex-husband’s brothers’ decedents’ estates, if this kind of behavior on his part is the norm in your marriage, you ought next to find out if this is mental illness, whether it’s behavior that can be corrected, whether he’ll recognize the behavior as wrong, or whether he’ll choose (regardless of why) to continue to conduct himself contemptibly. If your husband is chronically manipulating or emotionally abusing you without remorse, you may be better off without him.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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My Wife Is Divorcing Me Because I Am Not Rich Enough. She Said It Will Take Me Years to Make Her Feel Financially Secure. I Was There for Her When She Had Mental Breakdowns. What Should I Do?

If your wife really is divorcing you, and not merely threatening to divorce you, because 1) you are not rich enough to suit her, and 2) you are not a lazy bum and you are doing your best to support her financially as a spouse, then rejoice–good riddance to bad rubbish. Cut your losses now. You will be better off without her. I know you may think “I’ll never find someone as wonderful as she is again,” but a woman who would divorce you for not being rich enough is a woman who does not love you, who will not be the support you need and deserve, and who will only be a burden and a detriment to you and your children (if and when they would come along).

If your wife is not really divorcing you, but is threatening to divorce you, and claiming it is because 1) you are not rich enough to suit her, and 2) you are not a lazy bum and you are doing your best to support her financially as a spouse, then you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is she really that shallow? Or is the “you’re not rich enough” perhaps a pretext for other feelings and concerns of hers? You mentioned that you were there for her mental breakdowns–is the “your not rich enough” symptomatic of a mental or emotional disorder?
  2. Is this perhaps a matter of youthful inexperience and naivete? A lack of maturity?
  3. Did she grow up rich and doesn’t understand that it’s not the norm?
  4. Did she grow up poor and goes through life terrified of staying poor?
  5. Is she deluded?

If her “I’m going to divorce you because you’re not rich” is not really what she’s thinking of feeling, it’s worth talking with her and with a minister and/or someone whose lifestyle you both wish to emulate and find out what’s realistic and what’s not, what’s achievable and what’s not. If your wife can’t accept reality, then see my answer above. It’s tragic that she would chuck a good man just because he’s not rich enough, but that’s not your problem nor is it a problem you can solve for her.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Should You Ask for a Psychological Evaluation in Your Divorce Case? By Braxton Mounteer

The point of a psychological evaluation isn’t to establish if someone merely suffers from any mental or emotional disorder or disorders, but to help determine whether such disorders, if they exist, render your spouse a danger to himself/herself or to your children, and/or whether your spouse is a pathological liar. In other words, if your spouse suffers from a mental or emotional disorder or disorders, are the disorders relevant to any issues to be decided in the divorce action?

If you’re contemplating a psychological evaluation, ask yourself why.
Is it because your spouse is genuinely unstable or deluded and not credible, or are you trying to embarrass, humiliate, or defame your spouse?

And FYI, if your attorney recommended a psychological evaluation, don’t let that be your own basis for seeking one. If your attorney cannot honestly explain to you the justification for a psychological evaluation, your attorney is likely just trying to get you to spend money.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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If your life partner has a low IQ, is divorce an option?

Yes, but not for the reason you may think.

In the age of no-fault divorce, you don’t really need to persuade the court to grant you a divorce. Divorce is essentially available on demand. Your spouse’s IQ need not have anything to do with it.

Some people think “no-fault divorce” means that “you can’t divorce me if I’m not at fault.” Not true.

No-fault divorce means that if you want to get a divorce, you don’t have to prove, as the reason for seeking a divorce, that your spouse has committed some kind of fault entitling you to a divorce. All you have to do is claim that there are “irreconcilable differences” between you and your spouse that have caused an irreparable breakdown in the marriage.

Before no-fault divorce was made the law in every state in the United States of America, one could not obtain a divorce unless his/her spouse had committed a “marital fault”. What constitutes marital fault? Each state has its own list, but generally speaking, marital fault includes:

  • adultery
  • impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage
  • cruelty
  • abandonment, desertion, neglect (failure of the spouse to provide necessary financial/temporal support)
  • insanity or severe mental illness
  • certain criminal convictions (usually a felony or those resulting in long-term imprisonment)
  • alcohol and drug abuse
  • contracting a “loathsome disease” (i.e., a sexually transmitted disease)

With no-fault divorce the law now, fault on the part of your need not exist to qualify you to file for divorce

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Why do people not complain about people who shouldn’t marry?

Why do people complain about the high divorce rate, but don’t complain about people who shouldn’t marry? 

There will never be an effective, morally acceptable way to prevent the following kinds of people from marrying (and thus reducing the divorce rate): 

  • stupid people; 
  • people suffering from mental, emotional, and/or personality disorders and disabilities who can’t or won’t treat their conditions successfully;
  • hopelessly romantic and/or naive people; and
  • shysters 

But when people bemoan the high divorce rate, they aren’t referring to divorces that can’t be prevented, they are talking about the divorces that can and should be prevented, divorces that aren’t necessary or inevitable.  

Far too many people who would and should benefit from saving their marriage (and who are more than capable of doing so) give up on it far too easily. They wind up regretting the divorce (as well they should). That’s a shame. That’s worth worrying and complaining about.   

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Has anyone ever been able to prove narcissistic abuse in divorce court?

Yes, it happens quite frequently.*  

What people don’t understand is that finding a spouse is a jerk usually doesn’t amount to much in the divorce action.  

Most people believe—falsely—that if they can show the court that their spouses are narcissists (or some other type of insufferable personality) that this will result in the court bringing the wrath of God down on the narcissist and showering the other spouse with sympathy and riches for his/her trouble. Not so. 

Literally hundreds of thousands of people going through a divorce whose spouses suffer from (or who are suspected of suffering from) personality disorders believe that “if I can prove to the court that my spouse suffers from [antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder], I’ll win everything my heart desires in the divorce case.” No, you won’t.  

It’s not narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder that matters, but actions (or a failure to act) that matters, first and foremost. If your spouse is physically or emotionally abusing you or the kids (and please accept that your when your spouse occasionally disagrees with or criticizes you or your children that does not make him or her emotionally abusive), it doesn’t matter why. If your spouse has a drug or alcohol problem, or a gambling habit, or your able-bodied spouse is lazy and won’t earn a living, it doesn’t matter why. There’s no excuse. An abusive or grossly irresponsible spouse is bad regardless of whether he or she has a personality disorder. See?  


*Now that does not mean that a judge necessarily makes the specific finding of “Husband/Wife is a narcissist who abused his/her spouse,” but many divorce courts find, in making or denying awards of marital property and assets, alimony, child custody, and parent-time, and protective or restraining orders that a spouse and/or parent engaged in lying, cheating, manipulative, exploitative, abusive, neglectful, irresponsible, and/or parental alienating behavior. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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What are the 3 main issues that lead to divorce these days?

Every time you hear about divorce, what are the 3 main issues that lead to divorce these days? 

I have been a divorce and family law attorney for 26 years. In that time I have spoken to thousands of people about divorce and their reasons for seeking a divorce. While there are many reasons one may need or feel the need to divorce, the “top 3” reasons are, in my experience: 

  1. Broken trust (whether that is caused by infidelity or hiding a substance abuse problem or failing to “pull one’s own weight” in the marriage relationship, etc.) 
  2. Placing self-interest ahead of fostering the marriage partnership (which usually takes the form of expecting your spouse to be perfect and to be solely or primarily responsible for your happiness) 
  3. Immaturity and/or some kind of mental health disorder 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277 

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Can I gain full custody if I’m bipolar?

I don’t want anything to do with my child’s father. Can I gain full custody if I’m bipolar? 

First, thank you for being so candid and blunt. This is a question that everyone on both sides of this issue have but that few have the guts to ask or have the guts to accept an equally blunt response. That stated, I will try to give you an answer in the same vein as your question: 

(Note: I cannot tell you whether there are any jurisdictions that treat bipolar disorder or other emotional or mental health conditions as absolute bars to consideration for legal or physical custody of children, but I can tell you what I know based upon the law of Utah, which is the jurisdiction where I’ve been practicing for the past 26 years) 

Now let’s talk about suffering from bipolar disorder. I’m amazed at the number of people who will say things to me like, “My child is autistic,” when the child has never been diagnosed by a competent mental health professional with autism. There are a lot of people will claim as fact that which they believe. This is often the case with personality disorders. I can’t tell you how many times people come to my office and say, “My wife has borderline personality disorder (BPD)” and “My husband is a narcissist and/or suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)” and “My spouse has bipolar disorder” without there ever being a diagnosis by a competent mental health professional. 

So, the first question we need to answer is whether you truly are bipolar or whether you and/or your spouse just believe you are.  

Next, if you are in fact bi-polar you need to determine whether your condition renders you dangerous to yourself and/or to others. By the way, this would be true of any serious mental health or serious personality disorder. If you are bipolar and or suffer other serious mental health problems, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are a danger to yourself or others. Many mental health and emotional disorders can be successfully treated with medication and/or counseling or therapy, so that someone with such a condition is no less fit as a parent than someone with a serious physical condition that is being successfully treated. 

Bottom line: merely suffering from bipolar disorder is not an absolute bar to being awarded sole or joint custody of a child. Without a showing that the bipolar disorder causes you to be a danger to yourself or to others (including your children, of course), evidence that you suffer from bipolar disorder (or other mental health or emotional disorders) is not enough to knock you out of the box. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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Why would a father give a child’s abusive mother full custody?

Why would a father whose attorney had outed his children’s mother as a schizophrenogenic narc monster give her full custody? 


If the father had it within his power to prevent custody of the children from being awarded to a schizophrenic monster of a mother (as you describe her), but did not do so, then clearly the father acted (or failed to act) morally and responsibly. 

It could be that the father was an even bigger monster than the mother (so self absorbed and/or apathetic that the children’s welfare didn’t concern him). 

It is more likely, however, that the father did not “give” the mother custody of the children, but encountered a legal system that was biased and that discriminated against fathers, leading the father to conclude that an award of custody to the mother was a fait accompli. under such circumstances, the father did not so much “give” custody of the children to the mother, but surrendered it to her. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  


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How can I reveal my soon-to-be ex as having NPD in our custody case?

How can I reveal my soon-to-be ex as having NPD in our child custody case?

You’re asking the wrong question. You shouldn’t be asking how you can prove your spouse has NPD (or some other mental or emotional disorder), but whether your spouse in some way unfit—due to mental illness or emotional disorder—to exercise custody of or parent-time with the children. 

There are so many people who believe that if he/she can prove that his/her spouse or the other parent merely suffers from a mental illness or emotional disorder he/she will somehow win the custody battle. 

It seems as though people believe that mental illness or emotional disorders automatically disqualify one from exercising custody or parent time (visitation) with one’s children. It’s not true. I don’t know where this misconception came from. 

First, merely having a mental or emotional disorder does not make one an unfit parent. Merely having a certain mental or emotional disorder or disorders does not automatically make one a danger to himself or to others. 

Second, even having a mental illness or emotional disorder that could render one a danger to himself or others does not mean that one cannot function as a fit parent. Many parents with serious mental and emotional disorders take medication to treat and manage those disorders successfully. Merely having a mental or emotional disorder (or other kinds of disabilities) does not automatically disqualify a parent as fit to exercise child custody and parent-time. 

Third, proving that one has a serious and disqualifying mental or emotional disorder or disorders is extraordinarily difficult. Diagnosis of many mental and emotional disorders is highly subjective. And if there isn’t associated seriously bad behavior to provide tangible, verifiable proof of actual serious harm resulting from suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders, then accusing a spouse or other parent of suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders essentially comes down to a matter of “your word against mine.” 

Fourth, even if a parent is self-absorbed, hot-tempered, hypocritical, etc., that doesn’t make the parent inherently unfit to exercise custody or parent-time. There are innumerable people suffering from some form of mental illness or personality disorder who still manage to function adequately in society. We may not know exactly why they’re so difficult to deal with, why they’re such jerks, why they won’t change, but they still meet minimum standards of behavior for normal society. 

Finally, accusing the other spouse or parent of suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders as a means of poisoning the opinion of the court against your spouse or other parent (and thereby obtain an advantage) can backfire. Making unsupported allegations comes across to courts as cheap shots (which they are). Unsupported allegations damage your credibility. It can make you look like the crazy and unstable one. It’s trendy to throw around these terms and accuse your spouse of suffering from NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or BPD (borderline personality disorder), or other defects and disabilities. Mere allegations are a dime a dozen. Mere allegations and uncorroborated stories of mental illness or ability disorders don’t usually get a court’s attention (false claims of child abuse and domestic violence, however, are a different story altogether). 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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What kind of “damage” can untreated BPD in a parent cause children?

What kind of “damage” can an untreated single parent with BPD/shared custody/ cause to the kids in the long term?


Children of BPD parents often struggle with trusting others and forming intimate relationships. they often have a warped perception of reality because of the BPD parent’s influence. They often develop strong false feelings of guilt and shame and misplaced senses of responsibility for people and things for which they are not responsible. Children of divorce who have a BPD parent often feel as though they must choose love and loyalty for the BPD parent over the other parent. 

No matter how happy and successful a life and future a child of a parent with untreated BPD will have, that parent’s untreated BPD will do the child damage. Some children are able to compensate for the damage, many children will be made that much more anti-fragile from the damage, but plenty of children will struggle in life because of the parents untreated BPD. 

And how do you treat BPD effectively? I’ve heard it said by mental health professionals that it’s easier to overcome a heroin addiction than it is to treat BPD successfully. 

So pity the child of a BPD parent. Help that child as much as you can. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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What is it like to battle for custody with a narcissist?


Narcissists know how to game the system, to exploit its weaknesses, to exploit all that is good in human nature and institutions for destructive ends. 

It’s virtually impossible to prove that a narcissist is engaging in such misconduct because one of the things that makes a narcissist a narcissist, and so maddeningly effective as a narcissist is the ability to do so much damage with plausible deniability. 

Narcissists know that the odds of being caught lying are low, and the odds of being held accountable for lying are even lower. In the pursuit of their own self-interest narcissists have no scruples about lying, about exploiting others and about harming others, and about undermining our faith in the processes and institutions upon which a peaceful and stable society depend. 

This is why narcissists are so good at duping social workers, law enforcement officers, psychologists, and courts. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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How do I expose a narcissist in family court?

Pretty much impossible. Why? Two big reasons, generally:

  1. Narcissists are masters of deception.
  2. Being a narcissist generally not terribly relevant, if relevant at all, to most issues in a divorce or other kind of domestic relations case. Bad behavior (abuse, neglect) is relevant, but having an unpleasant or difficult personality (even and exceedingly unpleasant or difficult personality) usually isn’t.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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How do courts view mothers who abandon their family during a divorce?

How does the court view mothers that abandon their family during a divorce?

Generally, with disbelief, at first. Why? A few reasons.

One, to its credit, our culture still holds the concept and institution of motherhood in high esteem, so most people (and judges are people) believe that mothers are good, devoted caregivers. Most mothers are just that. So it is not easy to accept what our senses are conveying when a mother behaves contrary to our cultural expectations. We tend to see mothers as we want to see them, not as they always are.

Two, few bad mothers are honest with the court about being bad mothers. So the false face that most bad mothers present to the court is (primarily, but not solely, because of point number one) not only hard to detect as false, but easily accepted or acceptable as genuine.

  • One way bad mothers divert attention from their faults and misconduct is by blaming the fathers for those faults and misdeeds. Just as we tend to put mothers on a pedestal in our culture, we unfairly tend to see and treat many fathers as second-class parents. The feeling is like, “Yeah, they are important to a child’s upbringing, I guess, but they aren’t as vital and important to a child’s development as a mother, so we give dads less of the benefit of the doubt.” This is so wrong for so many reasons, but nevertheless it happens so often.
    • If kids are abused or neglected, bad mothers blame the guiltless fathers with a high rate of success in court. For example: violence perpetrated by men can be more severe than violence perpetrated by women, so if a child is a victim of domestic violence, it’s easy to assume Dad is the perpetrator (interestingly, FBI statistics show women commit just as much, if not more, domestic violence than men). If Dad has a full-time job, it’s easy to presume that Mom is the full-time caregiver, not a lazy slob who drinks herself numb every day and lets the kids run amok until Dad gets home to restore order and attend to the children’s need.

Three, even when a bad mother’s defects are unavoidably and undeniably exposed, many courts possess surprisingly great supplies of sympathy and forgiveness that they would rarely or not so readily extend to a father. It so often gets framed like this, for example: a mother who abuses drugs or alcohol is a victim whose substance abuse is a cry for help. A father who abuses drugs is a narcissist who lacks self-discipline. A mother with crippling mental health issues is deserving of our concern and rehabilitation. A father with crippling mental health issues is a danger against which the children need protection. I’ve personally witnessed many cases where mom was abusive and/or neglectful and dad was not, yet mom was awarded primary physical custody of the children because the court felt so strongly that the kids “need their mother,” that somehow mom had earned the right to be the custodial parent by virtue of being a woman, and that mom could and would overcome her shortcomings (not because there was credible evidence that she can and wanted to overcome those shortcomings, but because the court had to make such a finding to justify the award of custody to the worse of the two parents).

To be clear, I am not telling you that courts cannot identify bad mothers or that they cannot or will not shield children from bad mothers. Many people—moms and dads alike—when discovered for the mediocre, even dangerous, parents they are, are not awarded child custody and/or are subject to supervision around their children. It can and does happen. But that is not what discussed here. In response to the question of which parent among mothers and fathers gets undeserved breaks more in divorce cases, it is mothers hands down. Now you know some of the main reasons why.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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What are the dirty tricks your spouse can do to attack you during a divorce?

What are the dirty tricks your spouse and his/her lawyer can do to attack you during a divorce?

Understand that while the tone of this answer to your question is a little—a little—tongue in cheek, it’s still true.

Dirty tricks that often work whether you are a man or woman:

  • falsely accuse your spouse of substance abuse (drugs, alcohol)
  • falsely accuse your spouse of being mentally ill
  • falsely accuse your spouse of having an extramarital affair
  • falsely accuse your spouse of child abuse (both physical and sexual)
    • this works best for women, but it’s starting to gain ground with men too

Dirty tricks that work mostly for women:

  • falsely accuse your spouse of spouse abuse, both physical and sexual (virtually nobody will ever believe a wife abuses a husband unless a busload of nuns with time and date-stamping video cameras witness it too and testify to it)
  • falsely accuse your husband of “pornography addiction”
  • falsely accuse your spouse of never being home, being an absentee parent, never caring for wife and children, you get the idea
  • falsely accuse your spouse of being “controlling” (whatever that means, but it works, so who cares what it means, eh?)
  • falsely accuse your spouse of 1) failing to provide you and your children of adequate financial support and 2) never giving you access to spending money and 3) wasting, dissipating, and diminishing marital assets

Dirty tricks that work mostly for men:

  • falsely accuse your spouse of parental alienation (this rarely works, but when it does, it works better for men than for women; falsely accusing a father of parental alienation doesn’t get much traction)

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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How does a narcissist continue to fool a family court judge?

How does a narcissist continue to fool a family court judge?

How does a narcissist continue to fool a family court judge?

Because there’s almost never a way to prove when anyone engaging in misconduct that is not objectively verifiable.

Because there’s almost never a way to prove that the narcissist (or anyone engaging in misconduct that is not objectively verifiable.

Please see my answer to a similar question that I posted on Quora: Eric Johnson’s answer to How should you educate a lawyer to deal with an NPD/BPD in a court room setting?

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277


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Divorcing parents in psychiatric care deny thoughts of self-harm?

Do parents in psychiatric care deny thoughts of self-harm for fear admitting it may impact custody? Is it common for a parent in psychiatric care to make false denials of thoughts of self-harm for fear that doing so may adversely impact parental rights, visitation, or shared custody?

Of course. Many times we justify withhold information by invoking “Some things are better left unsaid.”

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Best way to handle a child custody dispute with a mentally ill ex?

After procuring an attorney for the matter, what is the best way to prepare for an upcoming child custody dispute with a PBPD ex?

I am amazed at the number of people who believe that courts are interested in whether your ex merely has a mental illness and/or personality disorder. They are not.

Judges care about mental illness and personality disorders only if these conditions make people a danger to themselves or to others.

There are many people who suffer from various mental illnesses and personality disorders who manage these afflictions in responsible ways such that they do not pose a danger to themselves or to others. These kinds of people are of no concern to the court. They can’t be. They’ve done nothing wrong.

It’s not the fact that your ex suffers from mental illness and/or personality disorders that is of concern, it’s whether your ex is harming, attempting to harm, or threatening to harm you or your children or others that is of concern to the court. “Harm” need not be limited to physical injury alone. If your ex who suffers from mental illness or personality disorders is causing you or the children severe emotional or psychological harm, that is relevant.

If the fact that your ex is doing, attempting, or threatening harm as a consequence of suffering from mental illness and/or personality disorders, then and only then is your ex’s condition material and relevant to the court.

Courts will not punish people merely for being mentally ill or suffering from a personality disorder.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Yes, they can be, under certain circumstances.

A common tactic in child custody disputes is to accuse the other parent of being mentally ill and a danger to the children. Courts are so accustomed to perfunctory allegations of mental illness being thrown around that courts often become jaded and skeptical, and as a result they sometimes won’t place much stock in such claims. So to those of you thinking that going off half-cocked and accusing your spouse of mental illness will give you a cheap, easy advantage, it won’t do you much good (and may undermine your credibility) without an actual diagnosis by a qualified neutral professional, at the very least.

But if a court does acknowledge a parent suffers from mental illness, then yes, there is frequently a bias against that parent. It’s not right, but to some extent, can you condemn them for such a bias? If one parent suffers from no disabilities and the other does (mental and/or physical), right there you have a difference that certainly does the disabled parent no favors in the child custody analysis.

Many people fear mental the mentally ill because they don’t understand mental illness (and have little interest in gaining a greater understanding), so when one does not understand and fears something, one tends avoid that thing. Courts thus often mistreat a mentally ill parent because those courts A) don’t know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody and B) don’t really want to know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody.*

*Note, however, that some judges and other judicial officers suffer from an unusually high incidence of mental health issues (depression and other mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction, etc.) and in those cases they may be hypersensitive to reckless allegations that mental illness = parental unfitness.

So if you suffer from mental illness, and if the court expresses concern about it, and if you can prove your mental illness does not pose a threat to the well-being of the children, then bury the court in useful data and facts that prove this six ways from Sunday. Merely trying to reason with someone who doesn’t understand or care to understand mental illness is not enough. Give’em so much evidence that they can’t rule any other way without knowing they’ll be overturned on appeal. Yes, it’s very expensive and requires great and sustained effort. That’s the way it goes. There’s no easier way.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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My mentally spouse just got a bogus restraining order. What do I do?

What can I do when my mentally ill lawyer wife wants a divorce, and just got a bogus restraining order on me?

Assuming that you are resigned to divorce and not to trying to salvage the marriage, here are some ideas. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should point you in the right direction.

First, do not sell your soul to the devil or give in to desires for vengeance in the course of defending yourself.

Divorce lawyers generally are some of the most morally bankrupt people on earth, and if you want one that engages in dirty tricks to “win”, you won’t have to work terribly hard to find one. But resist that temptation. A lawyer who will lie and cheat for you will lie to you and cheat you too. Find a lawyer who can succeed virtuously. It’s not worth your good character to sell out in your divorce defense. By all means, defend yourself vigilantly, but with dignity. You don’t want the regret of selling out to haunt you the rest of your days; that just makes divorce doubly depressing and defeating.

Next, consider that because your wife is a lawyer, on that basis alone the case could either tip unfairly in your favor or hers.

If unfairly favoring her it’s because she’s both a woman and a lawyer, so she has the cultural bias working for her as well as potentially the “non-lawyer husband’s not in the club” bias that could work for her, depending upon how popular she is with the court or how much contempt your judge has for non-lawyers (this is why you must get the best lawyer you can possibly afford. Don’t try to represent yourself. And get a woman lawyer, if she is the best lawyer (or second best lawyer, as long as the difference between best and second best is very close).

If unfairly favoring you it’s because A) the court won’t want to appear to show favoritism to a lawyer over a non-lawyer; B) the court knows or believes she’s mentally ill; or C) both.

Regardless, do the following, and do this with class. The idea here is not to embarrass and humiliate her, it’s only to defend your innocence and prevent her from running rough shod over your rights (and, frankly, she needs to understand that if she’s going to accuse you unfairly she opens the door to her dirty laundry getting aired in public):

Unless you and your (good and tough) lawyer convinced that you can’t persuade the court that you’re innocent, fight the restraining order.

Don’t stipulate to keeping it in place while noting you deny the accusations (that’s often a trick the lawyers on both sides will use to get the matter resolved, but at your expense). Nobody believes the guy who says, “Yes, I have a restraining order against me, and yes, I agreed to its being entered against me for now, but I denied the accusations. I’m innocent.” People stop listening at “Yes, I have a restraining order against me,” and can you blame them?

Move the court for an order for rigorous and comprehensive mental health evaluations for both of you and your wife (you need to get one to show that you’re not asking anything of her you’re not willing to ask of yourself).

Obtain her mental health records.

Find as many “character witnesses” for your and her mental health as you can. You need to show that the restraining order is bogus because your wife is living in a fantasy world, and one of the ways to do that is to show how weird and unstable she when she thinks no one’s watching. If her former clients thought she had a screw loose, find them and get them to testify. Note: this is when you discover the difference between your real friends and your fair weather friends.

As they say, you can’t argue with a crazy person, so knowing how to beat a crazy person’s “arguments” means coming at it from a perspective you simply don’t have at this point. Find a good psychologist and meet with him/her to get a better understanding of your wife’s mental illness. Share what you learn with your lawyer as you both figure out how to prevail against crazy.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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