Conshohocken Family Law Attorney Stephanie is a partner in the firm’s Family Law practice group, and has more than 25 years of experience in family law matters. As a highly skilled and...Read More by Author
The Impact of Divorce on Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. There are many mental health diagnoses that surface in parents and children during a divorce. Some suffer mental health issues that are exasperated by a divorce and some conditions are the result of the stress and anxiety that goes along with a major change in the life of parents and the children when going through the divorce process.
There are different options for mental health counseling during a divorce. The parties can participate in co-parenting counseling which helps the parents communicate effectively regarding their children. Often co-parenting counseling is not covered by insurance and therefore you want to speak with a family law practitioner for referrals of affordable providers. Children often need their own individual therapist and sometimes when there are multiple children you want each child to be treated by a different therapist in the same practice or different practices. There is also family counseling where the entire family participates in the session and the provider can schedule appointments with each member separately or together as a family.
Sometimes one parent has a strained relationship with the child which is caused by the other parent alienating the child from the parent because of the parent’s own issues or the child’s desire to not have to leave the marital home and go with the other parent. A mental health provider can focus on reunification therapy which would attempt to repair the relationship between the parent and the child. The process becomes more difficult with older children, so it is important to start as soon as an issue arises.
Sometimes one parent will object to therapy or refuse to pay the cost of therapy. If this becomes an issue you can contact your family law practitioner who can file a Petition with the Court to request therapy.
If there are serious issues such as drug and alcohol addiction or a threat of suicide, there are in-patient facilities available. Again, if one parent refuses treatment for themself or the child then the other parent can file a Petition with the court to request that treatment be mandated.
Divorce can be emotionally difficult for everyone. It is important to have a network of friends and family for emotional support in addition to professionals who can assist with mental health issues.
You can always call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. The Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.