Divorce & Medical Issues: What To Know
Chronic illness, including mental illness, can make a destructive impact on conjugal life. It is possible to seek divorce on grounds of chronic illness. It can be factored into alimony and custody decisions as well.
In the State of California, there is no need for the spouse who want a divorce to prove that the other spouse is the cause of divorce. This is termed “no-fault divorce”. In particular circumstances, however, the chronic illness of one spouse can be a valid reason for the other spouse to seek divorce. Courts in California could dissolve any marriage on grounds that the spouse in such a case is not capable of making decisions. This is termed “legal incapacity”. It determines that a person who is mentally sick is incapable to make decisions like getting married, making medical decisions, executing wills or entering into contracts. Any individual who is incapable of making any decision has deficiency in one or multiple categories like:
- Processing the information given to him or her
- Ability to modulate his or her mood
- Attention and alertness
- Thought processes
Any spouse who seek a divorce due to legal incapacity must prove that other spouse lacks the capacity to make decisions at divorce filing time. Multiple medical professionals will give a statement or testify before a judge to find out whether this particular spouse suffers from any illness. It should be to such an extent that the spouse cannot be capable of making any kind of decision.
Guardian and annulment
For divorce seeking spouse, he or she must deliver or serve petition for divorce on the conservator or the guardian of mentally ill spouse in case there is one present. The conservator or guardian represents the interests of the ill spouse in court. Do understand that an ill spouse has same rights as a healthy spouse to property rights.
Courts in California can annul any marriage if it is proved that a spouse cannot have agreed to marry at time of wedding. To give an example, this will happen in the case of underage spouse. It is also applicable if the spouse is forcefully married. Marriages can also be annuled by the court when one spouse cannot have consented if it was not possible to understand nature of marriage. However, in case the sick spouse recovers after the marriage is completed, then it will not be possible for any judge to annul that marriage.
Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.
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