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My Spouse has Multiple Personalities, Can I Divorce?

Marriage is one of the biggest decisions you can ever make in your entire life. It follows that it is an equally significant decision to end this marriage. The cost is tremendous, but there are situations wherein ending the union could be the only rational choice. Such is a situation if your spouse is mentally ill.

When your spouse suffers from Multiple/Dissociative Personality Disorder

Until recently, mental illness has not been given the attention it deserves. There are still many conditions that the fields of psychology has not yet figured out. Some of these conditions could make a person become a threat to his/her spouse and their children. 

It can be threatening if your spouse exhibits the symptoms of multiple personality disorder (also called Dissociative Personality Disorder). Persons with this disorder can sometimes manifest symptoms wherein they are not aware of their own identity or current situation. Panic attacks can be expected too.

If it happens often enough, can a spouse use this as grounds for divorce?

Mental Illness as Grounds for Divorce

Confinement to a mental institution is a “no-fault ground” for divorce. Even in this case, the confinement must last for three years.

The petitioner will have to establish two things:

  1. That the disorder has reached an extent that it will no longer improve; and
  2. That even if does improve through therapy, there is a strong possibility of relapse. 

To prove these states, the petitioner must secure the official diagnosis of licensed psychiatrists and therapists. The court may request other experts in the field to give a diagnosis.

Cruelty as a Fault Ground

In the absence of the required conditions stated above, then the petitioner can use the fault ground of cruelty. Texas law does not clearly define the notion of “cruelty”. It depends on how the case is presented. 

If the afflicted spouse has violent episodes, then the spouse can cite those as cruelty. There is no recommended number of incidences. Domestic violence is a ground for divorce. 

If there are no violent episodes, the petitioner can still cite insupportability. If shown that the situation can’t get better, divorce may prosper even if it is a no-fault ground,

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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