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#722613 - 06/22/11 08:24 PM Mental Health Issues
newcharles Offline

recently joined

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 3
I've been separated almost a year. My ex has a long history of depression and had a nervous breakdown several months after our separation (for which she was hospitalized.) We have three young children and have agreed on joint custody. We are in mediation, but have not seen the mediator since before the breakdown. I was told that the mediator may not be willing (or able?) to continue due to a question of my ex's "competence," so I asked my ex to share that information with the mediator so we will know if continuing that way is even possible. However, ex is unwilling to let the mediator know and says there is "no reason she should have to." (And I don't think I should be the one to disclose that.) Ex has shared very little with me about her diagnosis other than "depression." As a father, I am concerned for my children due to a couple near-relapses since her first breakdown. I don't believe she would ever intentionally hurt the kids, witnessing a breakdown could be very damaging in my opinion. Does the breakdown HAVE to be disclosed at some point (mediator, court, attorney) in the process? Or is Massachusetts so backwards that a personís personal privacy trumps the potential welfare of the children? Any feedback, advice, or information would be GREATLY appreciated!

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#722614 - 09/03/11 02:05 PM Re: Mental Health Issues [Re: newcharles]
peytonmanning18 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 9
I'm a little confused. If the mediator is unwilling to continue due to a question about your ex's competence, are you saying the mediator already knows that there is some issue with your ex's mental health? I guess what I don't quite understand from your post is what does the mediator know or not know now?

As far as you telling the mediator (you think you shouldn't be the one to do so) I agree but for a slightly different reason, that is that I wouldn't think a competent mediator would take one party's word for the mental competence of the other party. That is too obviously a possible tactic.

I went through a divorce recently myself in MA, where my then wife of 15 years was showing what seemed to be signs of mental illness (delusions, mostly). She refused any treatment (she was never quite at the "danger to herself or others" point) so there was never any kind of formal diagnosis.

In the end on the advice of my lawyer I ended up giving her alimony that amounted to more than what would have been the normally calculated amount of child support (we have one son, he's 11 now). In my lawyer's opinion if we had gone in front of a judge I might well have ended up giving her even more money each month, if she had happened to be in one of her bad phases when the judge saw her. So in a way she didn't fight for more money, and I didn't fight to make an issue of her mental state. There were more considerations involved, she had stayed at home for years (even though I had wanted her to work, our son was already in school full day).

Have you spoken to a lawyer? Mediation may not be the way to go when dealing with someone with mental issues.

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