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Scottish law, divorce and mental illness

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yinyang | 13:44 Wed 06th Jan 2010 | Law
5 Answers
Would really appreciate advice on this on. Firstly, I'm trying to find this out on behalf of a family member so apologies if I'm vague on some of the details..

Basically this woman - lets call her B - has split up from her husband.He is bipolar, which is not currently well managed and he's now living in a block of flats for homeless men. His attitude at the moment is unhelpful tosay the least; basically B is trying to sort everything out on her own.

Financially they are a mess. He allowed huge debt to built up by hiding bills and massive spending when he was off work sick. They have the Scottish eqivalent of an IVA; not sure what exactly, B said something about trustees and are still a long way from paying it off. Obviously B wants to sell the house but it's not in a good condition and they just don't have money to do any repairs so this will affect the selling value. B also thinks if she tries to sell the trustees will just take over, take the house from her and she won't get a penny from the sale. Is she right with this one?
B herself is not sure just how much debt they are in and bipolar man is refusing to give her much information. The mortage, loans etc are in joint names and a lot of the companies she's trying to sort things out with keep saying they can't do anything without permission from the co- signee.

I think the basic thing she needs to know at the moment is - does she have any power to get in touch with the people they owe to, explain that her husband is mentally ill and not really able to make 'grown up' decisions at the moment; basically take him out of the equation altogethert; or does she need to have some official certificate from the doctor / psychiatrist that says he is no longer capable of taking responsibility?


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Any help would really be appreciated. Citizen's advice couldn't help and she isn't entitled to legal aid and is understandably wary of the cost of involving a lawyer.

Again. sorry this is a bit of a jumble. B has been trying to deal with it on her own but has just phoned and this all tumbled out bit by bit. I will do my best to answer if anyone needs anything clarified. Thanks.
I don't know anything about the legal side of this.

Try the Bipolar Scotland website I am bipolar and have found their information to be very helpful.

Running up huge amounts of debt is a known problem - I had considerable debts a few years ago but luckily I managed to pay them off.

It must be hard living with somebody who has such an unpredictable illness.

Question Author
Thanks, Susan.

It's been a few years since his diagnosis and B has always tried to get as much info and support as she can. Giving up on her marriage is heartbreaking for her but he was never one for trying to help himself, and it's at the stage now where she doesn't know where his illness ends and just being a total b******* begins.

Will pass the website you gave onto her. Best wishes and take care of yourself.
A difficult one.

She has certainly no expectation of telling any organisation about the mental illness and expecting them to take any notice. (After all if that were possible anyone divorcing or with financial issues could do it, true or not)

Even with a certificate (and how would she get one? Patient confidentiality should prevent it) she would be on sticky ground. Mentally ill people don't automatically lose the right to run their own affairs.

I'd say she needs legal advice - maybe starting at the CAB
Question Author
Thanks dzug.

She's already been to CAB who said they didn't have any one qualified to give her advice with all the ins and outs of her particular situation.

Having browsed around today there does seem to be something called a ' third party mandate' and other ways a person suffering from mental illness can turn over dealing with their finances to another if two professionals will certify he is incapable of making sound decisions. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that so I do think the money will just have to be found for B to go and see a lawyer. This needs to sorted soon.
Thanks again.

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