How is insanity defined?
Insanity is defined as a disease or mental defect that prevents a person from being able to understand their actions or the positive or negative effects that can result from those actions. People who have been declared insane cannot legally enter contracts. This can include a marital contract.
How is insanity proven?
The state of Maryland currently uses the Model Penal Code rule to determine insanity. This is commonly utilized in criminal cases. The defendant must prove that they are insane and therefore did not understand that what they did was wrong or that their acts hurt other people. In other words, in a criminal matter, the burden is usually on the defendant to show insanity.
What are the risks associated in living with a person who has been declared legally insane?
People who live or work with a person who was officially listed as legally insane may be putting themselves at risk. The person who was declared insane could inadvertently hurt, injure or kill their spouse, child, parent or other relative. They could also place their colleagues in jeopardy in the workplace by not following rules or operating machinery that could be dangerous when used improperly.
Insanity can be gradual or surface suddenly. A person’s mood and behavior patterns may change without warning. If that happens, it’s a good idea to seek assistance as soon as possible. Proper diagnosis and medication may reduce the risks of accidents or injuries.
Can I use insanity as a reason to file for divorce?
Insanity is a relatively common ground for divorce nowadays. The person who is filing the divorce complaint must be able to verify that their spouse was placed in a mental hospital or other similar institution for at least three years before the initial petition was filed. Their insanity must be incurable and permanent. It’s not something that can be easily remedied.
Two or more certified psychiatrists may be called upon to confirm your claims in court. They should be able to prove to the judge that the person in question is insane and that the insanity cannot be cured. They may also explain that the individual cannot expect to reasonably recover at any point in their lifetime.
What can I do if you have been declared insane?
The court may appoint an attorney to act on your behalf if you’ve been declared insane. The spouse who filed the divorce petition may be ordered to pay the costs for your legal defense. They must have also been a Maryland resident for at least two years or longer before they can file for divorce.
There are three types of defenses that can be used for insanity cases in Maryland. They are as follows:
- Diminished capacity. This is a type of imperfect failure of proof defense that has been used in multiple cases across the country. It is commonly called for in criminal cases but may have implications in certain divorce cases. The defense may also be asked to verify whether the defendant experienced a mental injury or has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in those instances. Generally, this defense is not available in Maryland.
- Irresistible impulse insanity defense. This defense strategy states that the defendant simply couldn’t help themself when they committed an act that put themself or another person in danger. In these situations, it is generally assumed that the accused person has a mental defect or mental illness and that the particular mental disability hampered their ability to manage their own free will.
- The M’Naghten insanity defense. This is the oldest defense strategy, which originated in England in 1843. This is also a two-part defense. The first portion states that the offender was suffering from a disease of the mind, faulty reasoning or other mental defect. The other component is that the specific mental affliction prevented that person from understanding that what they did was wrong or the severity and nature of the act itself. For example, they might not have known that placing their child’s hand on a hot stove burner was wrong.
Can I refute the insanity claim in a divorce case?
You can dispute the insanity claim during divorce proceedings if you so choose. Experts, witnesses, and testimony may be presented to support your assertions in court. You can contact people who can verify your mental health status and act as a character witness on your behalf. You or your legal counsel can also call the testimony and credentials of the other side’s experts and professionals if the insanity claim is questionable.
An insanity diagnosis can be difficult for couples and families. The person who was determined to be insane may still be able to maintain personal relationships with their friends and family members. They can also continue to love and care for their children, even after divorce. They should not be treated poorly just because of this particular classification.
If you are thinking about filing for a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, give us a call today. You can arrange a free consultation at a time that works for your busy schedule. Our trained professionals will sit down and listen to what you have to say. They will provide invaluable advice and can even represent you in the divorce proceedings if you wish.
Divorce is never easy. The thought of ending a marriage can be very daunting. However, it may be necessary for the safety, health and general well-being of all parties who will be directly affected. It may even strengthen certain bonds over time. Our ultimate goal is to help you get back on your feet again. It won’t happen overnight, but if you’re committed to the process, you’ll probably be loving life again before you realize it.