My wife was dianosed with Bi-Polar about 2-months ago. After years of going to counslers, pastors and emergency rooms she finally had a diagnosis. I was actually looking forward to the future that with the right medications and counsling things would be better. She spent most of the month of January in day counsling, then in the hospital voluntarily and then involuntarily. During involuntary part she contacted an attorney to get her out, which was unsuccessful. The attorney did convince her that I was to blame for her illness and I needed to be out of her life. While my wife was in the hospital involuntarily her attorney had me served with a restraining order and began paperwork for a divorce. Since her release from the hospital was required to have biological family in our home until just last week. In spite of the restraining order we have spoken and seen each other almost everyday, but she will not drop it. She is still convinced that I am the root of all of her problems. My attorney has advised file an order for custody of the kids. I do not think this is going to help my wife's recovery. I have allowed the restraining order to be extended twice. For one I'm hoping that the meds and counsling kick in and she drops it. Second, I don't think it would be good for her recovery to attend a court hearing. Everyone (family, friends, doctors, counslers) is trying to convince her that this is not the time to be making these type of decisions. She is also convinced that she wants to sell the house, move to another state, get a job (she is presently a stay-at-home mom) and never see her mom or sister again. Any similar experience or encouraging thoughts?
sorry I can't give you encouraging thoughts, but I can tell you that we experienced something very similar with my father who has been diagnosed as bi-polar. He has been divorced 5 times (my mom was his first wife and she stayed around for 15 years trying to get him help).
During his second divorce (I was 17 at the time), my dad behaved very similiarly to the way you describe your wife. Prior to the divorce, our whole family including my grandpa and grandma forced him to go to the hospital after a number of incidents and he was diagnosed as bi-polar (first time he had ever sought treatment). During this time he and my step-mom separated. He took meds for about a month and seemed to stabilize (he called my real mom and apologized saying she was "right all along", etc.).
However, for some reason after a month he decided to go off the treatment, real soon thereafter he was able to convince most of the family and even his doctors that my step-mom was the root of all his problems and had even "coaxed" him into thinking he was bi-polar. He too got an attorney who convinced him that he could get custody of my half-brother. He ended up spending well over $50,000 in attorney fees and got nothing but visitation.
Of course, 2 years later my dad started have the same problems and with a different wife, got another divorce, claiming it was her fault. He repeated this again two more times with different women over the next 6 years.
Recently (2 years ago) he remarried the second wife (claiming he wanted to get his family back together) but now he is having the EXACT same problems and has once again started blaming my step-mom. If he divorces her AGAIN, I don't know what I will do but I do know that my half-brother has already said he will not talk to my dad, neither will my two older sisters.
Just from my experience with my dad I can tell you a couple of things I have learned about people with bi-polar:
(1) The do not believe they have a problem (I have hypothisized that it is because they like their "highs" enough to deal with the "lows." Therefore when they are "low" they convince themselves that they can get "high" again if they only make certain changes-with my dad it is his job and his spouse. When they are "high" they don't feel like they have any problems at all.)
(2) Even when they get treatment, it is a constant struggle to keep them from "falling off" the wagon, because no treatment makes them feel as good as their "high" periods.
As for your situation, I don't have much advice, because if I knew what to do I would have done it with my dad a long time ago. I will tell you that at some point, you have to stop worrying about her "feelings" because she is not acting or thinking rationally. I know it is hard to do because you love her and want her to recover, but I have learned that treating people with bi-polar like sick children is NOT the way to go. She does not need to be babied, she needs to continue to get help.
Thanks for the reply. I know it probably won't do any good, but I feel like printing a copy and showing it to my wife. I'm still trying to rationalize with an unrational person. One positive so far is that my wife seems to understand that she has to take the medicine or risk going back to the hospital. She has been on the same medication cocktail for about a month. Part of the reason she was in the hospital so long is that she didn't respond quickly to the medications. My hope is that she'll respond to the present medication and I'll get that " I was right all along" phone call before she goes too far with this divorce.
Even recognizing the laws that allow legal representation universally are indeed mostly made by attorneys in the legislature, and enforced by judges who themselves are usually attorneys...
If it was me - I'd call the local Family Law Court, and ask if you could possibly schedule a tete-a-tete with a Superior Court Judge. Note that you are NOT asking for legal advice, as they would HAVE to tell you to seek legal counsel...
What you wish to do (and you might even consider doing this on paper) - is list the facts more or less as you have stated them here. Mail it or take it with you (should you meet in person).
There ought to be SOME issue of ethics, if indeed the attorney CHANGED the tac of his representation - going so far as to giving unrequested family law advice (from which he hopes to garner monies)... Especially since he KNEW his client MIGHT be lacking good judgement !!!
That's what I'd do !!!
Best of Luck !!!
Side-bar (so to speak) - I've brought issues up before that warranted bar association review. This person sounds like a shark. Eat 'em alive !!!
In effect, you're seeking relief from unprecidented and usury legal practice. The attorney's actions ought to most certainly come under scrutiny. If the exact judge that reviewed the initial filing could be communicated with, that would be the best.
I've personally done two divorces " In Pro Per " which means seat of the pants on your own. They say an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client. Thank goodness I'm not an attorney, eh !!!
I HAVE met with a judge, much as I mentioned, and gotten a human response that helped. I've also seen the son of a much vaunted Supreme Court Chief Justice turn his back on reason and humanity.
Again, best of luck !!!
Last edited by maniasterisk; 02-24-2005 at 08:48 AM.
Hi! First I can understand the user name. Now what I am going to say is from the bp end because I'm bp. My husband is the "earthling".
I think you're making a big mistake letting the restraining order stand. It can be used against not only in this divorce proceeding, but custody, and any other thing you might accidently get caught up in. Be VERY careful. I understand you love your wife and want what's best for her but, she may not come out of this in time to save your marriage. A restraining order can do some real damage and at anytime she can call and turn you in if she goes off the deep end again. If you have to I would get a lawyer working on it ASAP.
I know the practical things are hard to think about when you're dealing with someone you love and a severe illness. For your sake and the kids and even your wife someone has to be practical here.
Filing for custody of your children may not help your wifes recovery right now. I would be saying this if she had diabetes and was just doing enough to keep herself out of the hospital...To Bad! You need to think about the kids and you. Her lawyer sounds like a real shister giving her this advice fresh from a psych ward but, you have to protect you and your children for the long run. When she gets to the point of saying your right she will do so even if you take the kids. This divorce idea alone isn't good for her recovery but, she might not come to that realization until it's too late and you have to be prepared for her to never come to the realization.
Okay...from this fairly stable bp to you...take her to court...get rid of the restraining order on your record...take care of you...and welcome her back only if things change. This is just my opinion but it's based on lots of experience and a bunch of mistakes learned from.