Texas Divorce Laws & Mental Illness

By Anna Assad

Texas laws consider the mental health of both spouses in a divorce case. A spouse's mental condition may be the grounds for the divorce itself. The ill spouse's mental health has an effect on various aspects of the case, including custody decisions and spousal support determinations.

Divorce Grounds

Texas laws recognize fault and no-fault divorces. Mental illness of a spouse is considered one of the fault grounds in Texas; the mentally ill spouse has caused the need for divorce. The mental illness ground applies only if the ill spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for at least three years prior to the divorce filing and has a condition that is unlikely to improve. If the mentally ill spouse is likely to suffer relapses, his spouse may use the mental illness grounds for divorce even if his condition will improve. Other grounds for divorce from a mentally ill spouse may apply if he isn't institutionalized. For example, if a mentally ill spouse's condition causes him to behave cruelly toward his wife, she may file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty.

Conservatorship of Children

The custody --referred to as "conservatorship" in Texas -- of children involved in the divorce may be made by the court or by agreement of both parents. The other parent has the right to ask the court to evaluate the mental health of the ill spouse during custody proceedings. In the case of a mentally ill parent, the court may award the other parent sole managing conservatorship of the children. The children usually live with the parent who has sole managing conservatorship, and she makes all of the decisions regarding them. Texas laws consider the mental health of both parents when deciding conservatorship, as the decision must be made in the children's best interests and to maintain their safety.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Attorney Ad Litem

If the grounds for divorce are a spouse's confinement in a mental hospital, the Texas court will appoint an attorney ad litem to represent him during the divorce proceedings. The attorney ad litem may make decisions for the mentally ill spouse, and she protects his legal interests during the divorce proceedings.

Child and Spousal Support

Both child support and spousal support awards are based partly on the payer's income in Texas. At the time of publication, the child support award for one child is 20 percent of the paying parent's total resources if the resources total below $7,500 each month; the resources include all forms of income but not federal assistance benefits. The state guidelines for child support give the judge flexibility when calculating a child support award. A mentally ill parent who is institutionalized may have no resources to pay child support, but the judge may still award it. The mentally ill spouse may qualify for spousal support. Texas law allows for the award of alimony to a spouse who can't support himself because of a mental disability.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce in Missouri If Your Spouse Has Mental Problems


Related articles

Can a Permanent Legal Guardianship in Texas Expire?

A person with a mental or physical disability may need the assistance of a guardian to help him make decisions about his finances, healthcare, living arrangements and other life issues. In such situations, a probate court judge listens to the evidence and appoints a temporary or permanent guardian if he determines that is necessary. A temporary guardianship expires after 60 days, but a permanent guardianship remains in effect until the court issues an order to terminate it. However, a guardian's authority to act may expire under certain circumstances.

Georgia Law on Custody If Adultery Is Committed

When spouses get divorced in Georgia, one spouse's infidelity usually doesn't influence the court's decision when it comes to custody. However, the court will take it into account if the unfaithful spouse's behavior had a negative impact on his children's best interests.

Rules of Divorce in Illinois

Divorce is a complicated process that involves a variety of issues. A divorce decree terminates the marriage, divides the former couple’s marital property and establishes custody terms for the couple’s children. While you can file for divorce in Illinois at any time, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for 90 days before an Illinois court can enter a final judgment of divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Getting a Divorce in Pennsylvania With a Mentally Ill Spouse

A spouse's mental health may impact various areas of a divorce proceeding in Pennsylvania, including the divorce ...

Mental Illness in Divorce in Florida

Florida ordinarily requires that both spouses fully understand their rights and responsibilities before a court will ...

How to File for an Annulment on the Grounds of Mental Disability

If a husband or wife was mentally disabled at the time of the marriage ceremony, the other spouse may be able to file ...

Legal Guardianship in Colorado

A guardian is appointed by the court to make personal decisions on behalf of another person, known as the ward, when ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED