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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
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I just filed for a divorce from a man that was diagnosed bipolar

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I just filed for a divorce from a man that was diagnosed bipolar 5 years ago. Any suggestions on how to make this easier. We have five children together. He has left us with little money for me to care for them. I am afraid I will lose everything in court to make sure the kids are in the care of a responsible parent. I love/loved him, but can't live with the issues that are present with his drinking and denial of his problems. He has been verbally abusive off/on since 1/2005 and emotionally abusive probably for the 20 yrs together(I just didn't want to see it). We have been living apart since 2/09 and his last hospitalization was 5/09 during a one-way trip across the US. My family is in Texas and we live in NY. I want to move back. I'm afraid I will have nothing left to start a new life for myself and the kids after this divorce. Any advice/help for me in court would be greatly appreciated.
So you are anticipating that this will be a High Conflict Divorce. You cannot stop him from fighting the custody arrangements, of course. But there are many resources you could suggest to at least show the courts that you are a reasonable person wanting what is best for the children.

1. Go to a co-parenting counselor (both of you) to work on your co-parenting relationship. The most well-adjusted children are from divorced parents who get along.

2. Use the family communication website to communicate avoiding (as much as possible) face-to-face interaction in front of the children (especially if #1 is impossible).
I will get back to on the name of that website.

3. make sure the children have transitional objects when going to his house. Let them bring there "creature comforts" especially if there are overnights with him.

4. Read a book on Parent Alienation Syndrome, and try to not be an alienating parent (and hope and pray that he is not as well); Author: Gardner, Richard, Divorce Casualties. This is very harmful to children.

5. Collaborative Divorce practice is an attorney who works closely with a co-parenting coach and specializes in high conflict divorces. Consider this king of attorney unless you are happy with yours.

These are just some starting points. I will be back with the communication website shortly.
Here is the website:

When I read you post the first time everything after "we have five kids together" was not there. So now I have a better idea what you are dealing with. Have no fear, no court would give him 50/50 with his level of mental instability. Do not let him intimidate you. The above recommendations still apply but I can see where #1 is probably impossible. He is not going to cooperate. But you can show the courts you are willing.
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