What to Do if Your Spouse is Having Mental Issues (and You Need Help)
In order to preserve your spouse’s dignity and ensure that you’re doing the right thing, it’s usually a good idea to talk to your spouse about what he or she is going through before you take any drastic steps. It’s tough on both of you, but with the right advice and the right approach, there is hope for the future.
If your spouse has not been officially diagnosed with an illness or disorder, you may need to work with an attorney to ensure that he or she receives the necessary – and deserved – treatment.
Talking to a Mental Health Lawyer in Wisconsin
Unfortunately, in order to go against your spouse’s wishes if he or she chooses not to seek diagnosis or treatment, you’ll need to file a petition with the courts.
In most cases, a petition for examination can be filed by three adults. One or more of those people must have personal knowledge of the person’s conduct, and as a spouse, you may qualify.
Your lawyer will ask you several questions, including why you want to force your spouse to undergo a psychological evaluation and why you think he or she needs involuntary treatment.
Law enforcement and other authorized individuals can take a person into custody as an “emergency detention” if they have probable cause to believe that the person is mentally ill, dependent on drugs or developmentally disabled. However, they must also believe that:
- The illness or disorder is treatable or can be improved with treatment
- The person is dangerous to him- or herself or to others
The threat of danger can be based on actual threats, attempted acts of harm, or violent behavior.
Because this is such a challenging topic, and particularly if you want to help your spouse, it’s a good idea to talk to a mental health attorney with experience in this sensitive area. Even if you decide that you can no longer remain with your spouse, he or she deserves to be treated with dignity and fairness – and working with a lawyer can help prevent undesirable consequences involving law enforcement or other people involved.