Depression is a common medical issue in the United States. Many adults experience occasional bouts of depression, and some people even have clinical depression that lasts for years.
If you already had mental health struggles before your divorce, your symptoms may increase at the end of your marriage. Even those who have historically had good mental health may struggle during and after a divorce.
The depression that comes with an end of a marriage can make it hard to get out of bed, affect your interpersonal relationships and damage your career. Unfortunately, your depression could also have a direct, negative impact on the outcome of your divorce proceedings. How might depression impact your divorce?
You may not take the necessary actions
You cannot be a passive observer during a divorce. Yes, your spouse can file for divorce without your permission, and the courts can grant the divorce even if you wished to stay married.
However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the divorce papers. If you take more than 20 days to respond, your ex can secure a divorce by default and potentially have complete control over issues like spousal support, property division and child custody.
Your ex could use it against you in custody proceedings
In general, family law judges in New York would like to see parents share custody after a divorce. However, there are certainly circumstances in which a judge recognizes that shared custody would not be the best outcome.
Mental health issues can sometimes impact what a judge decides would be best for the children. Your ex could try to use your current behavior or prior diagnosis against you. Proactively seeking treatment and complying with medical advice will help you show that you can still be a good parent while dealing with divorce-related depression.
Your emotions might get the better of you in court
Depression doesn’t just involve someone withdrawing from society and struggling to function in daily life. It can also involve emotional dysregulation.
You may struggle to remain calm or respond appropriately in high conflict situations, including hearings in family court. If you don’t have the right support during your divorce, your emotional reactions could affect how others perceive you and the ultimate outcome of the case.
Recognizing how mental health issues could disadvantage you during a New York divorce can help you assert yourself during what will likely be a trying time for you and your family.