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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27888
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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Hello, my wife of 4 years has clinical depression and had been

Customer Question

Hello, my wife of 4 years has clinical depression and had been taking medication for her condition. Three months ago, she went off her meds. As she tapered off, she became withdrawn from me. The week she went off the meds completely, she was emotional and said she needed space to figure out what was going on with her and how she feels about me. Five nights later, she handed back her ring and said we're separated. She was loving and cared deeply for me before all this, and vice versa. Now she is cold and hateful to me and says she is leaving and wants a divorce, yet claims I'm a good person and did nothing wrong. She also says she never loved me, which is not true. I love my wife and do not want to lose her to a divorce; she is clearly acting irrationally. What can I do?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 11 months ago.

Good afternoon Fred,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I empathize with you in regards XXXXX XXXXX situation you are facing, and I understand your angst, and the fear of the unknown when dealing with someone who has gone off their medication.

Fortunately, your wife does not qualify for either a Divorce from bed and Board---the equivalent of a legal separation in VA available only where there has been willful desertion or cruelty by you toward her----or for a divorce, as each of you must be living separate and apart for at least one years to file for a no-fault divorce.

You can, and should, notify her primary treating physician that she has gone off her medication and is acting irrationally. Speak with her family members whom she has regular contact with and seek their help in getting her back on the medication as well. All you can do is offer help. You have no way to compel her to accept help.

In terms of a legal remedy, it is important to understand that unless she is a danger to herself or others, you cannot compel her to go back on her medication, and there is no law to prevent someone from seeking a divorce---once they can prove they have legal grounds---because the law will allow anyone a divorce, even if they are arguably not thinking straight. One primary reason that VA has the one year period before allowing a no-fault divorce it to allow time for each party to be certain of their actions. And, hopefully in the coming months, your wife will come to understand that her actions today are based on her depression and that she doesn't really want a divorce.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as in terms of the law, it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation. Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Thank you,

Doug

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Doug, thank you for your fast response. Much of your advice sounds very much like what I've already heard. When you say my wife doesn't qualify for the equivalent of a legal separation, what do you mean?


 


You said:


 


Fortunately, your wife does not qualify for either a Divorce from bed and Board---the equivalent of a legal separation in VA available only where there has been willful desertion or cruelty by you toward her----or for a divorce, as each of you must be living separate and apart for at least one years to file for a no-fault divorce.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 11 months ago.

Hi Fred,

Under VA law, there is both a traditional divorce---a divorce from the bond of matrimony, and a divorce from bed and board. Under VA law, the divorce from bed and board is similar to a legal Separation in other states.

With a divorce from bed and board, there are limited grounds for seeking it---and those require a showing that you were cruel in your treatment of her as a wife, or that you abandoned her without good cause---neither of which I presume she will be able to show.

The big difference is that the divorce from bed and board does not allow the parties to remarry. However, many of the issues in a traditional divorce are addressed in the divorce from bed and board---such as division of marital property, child custody where children are involved and support matters.

Here is a good site which clearly describes the difference between the two forms of divorce under VA law:

http://www.vsb.org/site/publications/divorce-in-virginia/

Thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated. Please keep in mind that even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

Thanks again.

Doug

LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27888
Experience: 30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
LawTalk and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Fred. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise. I am generally available at least 6 days a week, and often 7, and it would be my privilege to assist you again in the future.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have, or simply ask for me by name in the first sentence of your new question:
http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thanks again. I wish you well in your future.

Doug

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It would be tremendously appreciated.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Doug, I'm sorry about that. I accidentally hit a Back button and it rated you unfairly. I really feel you gave me good service and responded quickly. Thank you so much for all you do to help others. -Fred

Expert:  LawTalk replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for letting me know that Fred.

Fortunately, the positive rating takes precedence, and the negative rating won't affect me.

Have a good evening.

Doug

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