Mental Health And Divorce In New York

  • Posted on: Nov 15 2021
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What most people don’t realize is that mental illness can affect your divorce case in New York. How? Let’s find out.

Mental Illness As Grounds For Divorce

There are different types of mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and bipolar disorder. But can a spouse file for divorce in New York on the grounds of such illnesses? No. Typically, mental illness, or addiction, is not grounds for divorce in New York.

However, mental health issues can be related or considered within the proceedings of the divorce. Usually, New York spouses file for divorce under two grounds:

  • No-fault grounds
  • Fault-based grounds

No-fault grounds

Here, none of the spouses claim that the other is at fault for the cause of the breakup. Instead, both partners agree to separate on irreconcilable differences. This means that the marriage is in itself broken and cannot be salvaged.

Fault-based grounds

Here, either one spouse or both of the spouses blame the other for the divorce. Some of the reasons couples in New York claim fault-based grounds include;

  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Cruelty or inhuman treatment

Concerning cruelty of inhuman treatment, a spouse’s mental and physical well-being must be endangered to the point where it is not proper or safe for them to live with their partner.

Therefore, to include mental illness as grounds for divorce in New York, one spouse’s mental instability, drug addiction, or drunkenness must intend to cause mental anguish to the other spouse. And in most cases, this is accompanied by verbal or physical abuse.

Annulment And Mental Illness

Once the court has granted a couple an annulment, the marriage is considered void. This shows that the marriage was a mistake from the beginning. In New York, the grounds for annulment are:

  1. Lack of understanding makes it impossible for a spouse to consent to marriage
  2. Incurable mental illness for at least five years

In the first case, if the court determines that the spouse couldn’t understand the significance of the marriage decision at the time of marriage due to retardation or mental illness, an annulment is given. A good example would be a schizophrenic spouse filing for an annulment.

In the second case, the court requires three physicians, recognized by authorities on mental disease, to agree that the spouse has an incurable mental illness. Nonetheless, this shows that annulment in New York is centered on mental health issues.



In one way or another, mental health can affect the proceedings of a divorce in New York. For instance, the court might deny a mentally ill parent custody or impose supervised visitation with the children.

In severe cases, the court can even terminate parental rights if the child’s welfare is at risk. In a nutshell, while mental health is not a primary ground for divorce, it carries a specific influence on the divorce outcome. Get ahold of one of our trained attorneys today so that you have the most accurate information concerning mental health and divorce.

Posted in: Divorce Law, Family Law, Uncategorized