Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more instances of clients or their spouses struggling with mental health or addiction issues. The first thing to understand is that addiction issues are mental health issues. Anyone that suffers from an addiction disorder suffers from a mental health problem. And it’s important that when we are approached with somebody that has one of those issues, that we understand:
What the issues are
What mental health disorders are out there
What kinds of addiction issues are out there
How they’re treated
What people need to do to get the proper types of treatment
This starts with education. First, we need to understand what the problems are so clients can understand what can be done to get help for those problems. Then, we explain to clients how those problems may impact the various issues that come up in their divorce, including:
How will it impact child custody?
How will it impact their ability to see their children?
How will it impact their ability to keep their children safe?
Is there an impact on how their property might be divided as a result of these issues?
What if I have a mental health or addiction issue?
If you have a mental health issue or an addiction issue, the first and most important thing is for us to understand where you are and what position you are with your illness. Our primary goal is to do what’s best for you, and what’s best for you maybe to start with trying to get you some help for your addiction issue or for your mental health issue.
We will get you connected with proper mental health professionals, perhaps get you tested, and get you in a position where you can present yourself in your case as a healthy individual or an individual who has their addiction under control.
What if my spouse has a mental health or addiction issue?
If your spouse has a mental health issue or an addiction issue, we want to educate you about what’s possible in terms of going forward with your divorce. What will a judge do under certain circumstances if somebody has an addiction issue or a mental health issue? What kinds of help can you get to help you with your children, with your ex-spouse, with sharing time with this person who may have a mental health issue? How can you move forward knowing that this person might not get any help or might not get any treatment?
And the first thing we do is to educate you about what the mental health issue is. Oftentimes, people go to the internet and get all sorts of advice on what to do and what their spouse may or may not be suffering from. We want you to understand fully what the nature of the illness is, what the nature of the addiction is, and what things are possible to protect you and your children and your family as you go through this process.
The good news is that there are resources available to you and to us to help you move through the process. But, on the other hand, if you don’t have the proper representation and the proper resources available to you, you may not make good decisions when it comes to dividing your property or agreeing to access arrangements with your children.
How do I find the right representation?
It is essential that you are not represented by somebody that only wants to do what you tell them to do. You need to have somebody that will be honest with you and will educate you about the issues involved in your case, especially with regard to mental health and addiction issues. You need someone who will do their best to see that you are connected with mental health professionals and others in the community that can help you as you go through this process.
Our Goranson Bain Ausley attorneys have a vast group of mental health professionals and substance abuse professionals that we can refer you or your spouse to that will provide the help and resources needed. We are very comfortable representing clients or their spouses who have mental health and addiction issues. We are also confident about giving advice and making referrals for anyone who has mental health or addiction issues. You can be assured that we will represent you with understanding and compassion and do our best to get you through this process. And if you are the spouse of somebody that suffers from one of those issues, you will have our full attention and understanding, and we will do everything we can to protect you and your family so you can secure a more healthy future.
To learn more about how to navigate through divorce when mental illness is involved, contact Eric Robertson at 512-454-8791
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