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Almost everyone -- at some point during their divorce -- wonders about the mental health of their spouse. When a child's involved, however, and your questions about your spouse's mental health are serious, it may be necessary to ask the court to order a psychological evaluation.

Before you act, here are the things you need to consider:

1. You can expect your spouse to respond in kind.

No matter what your spouse's mental state, asking the court to order a psychological evaluation is likely to be perceived as the first shot in a war. You will probably also have to undergo an evaluation in the interest of fairness.

2. You may find your own mental health becomes an issue.

Maybe you sought therapy for depression before you realized that your marriage was toxic. Maybe you sought therapy to learn how to deal with your spouse's narcissism or borderline traits. The problem here is that you now have a "mental health history" but your spouse -- who may very well actually need mental health treatment -- does not. Your history of mental health treatment is likely to be brought up in court.

3. Your request could backfire on you.

If the psychologist doesn't find anything particularly disordered about your spouse's thinking or problems that could put your child's safety at risk, you could come off looking vindictive. The court may see your allegations as a "smear campaign" against your spouse.

None of this means that you shouldn't ask the court for a psychological evaluation on your spouse. It just means that you need to be aware of what issues can erupt as a result. Every custody battle is different, so talk your situation over with an experienced attorney before you act.

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