Can you divorce your mentally incapacitated spouse?

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2023 | Divorce, Family Law

One of your marriage’s core pillars is the commitment to be there for each other in sickness and in health. In your family situation, this vow could mean that you deliberately choose to care for your mentally incapacitated spouse.

But try as you might in making things work, your spouse’s substantial cognitive impairment coupled with troubled behavior may already have a detrimental impact on you and your child.

Thus, you are now contemplating divorce on fault-based grounds of mental hospital confinement. By doing so, you must also learn how it potentially changes your family dynamics.

Divorce considerations on your spouse’s mental fitness

Per Texas Family Code, the court may grant your divorce petition based on your spouse’s confinement in a mental facility if you can prove two things:

  • That they have been privately or publicly institutionalized in or out of the state for at least three years
  • That their mental illness is severe enough that adjustment upon their release in the near future is unlikely, or that relapse is expected

While these factors hold true, the judge may still look at all possible relevant factors. Ultimately, their comprehensive investigation must serve the child’s best interests.

If they deem your spouse is mentally unfit to provide a stable and safe environment for your child, they may grant you sole conservatorship, which is the state’s version of child custody. Depending on the language or terms of the final divorce decree, you may not need to consult your spouse before making significant decisions about your child’s welfare.

Further, their visitation rights may also be either limited or supervised. This modification aims to ensure that their unpredictable mental state may not lead to tragic circumstances.

Mental health is a complex concern

Dealing with a loved one’s mental disorder requires confronting sensitive discussions, which may also affect your mental wellness. If you believe that your spouse’s mental disability is already causing grave consequences, then learning about your divorce options from your legal representative proves invaluable.

FindLaw Network