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PennyO's avatar

Separation from wife threatening suicide?

Asked by PennyO (6points) March 2nd, 2010

My brother has been unhappily married for months now, he asked his wife for a divorce a few weeks ago and she threatened suicide. He wants to cut ties with her once and for all next week by packing his stuff and leaving, so that his wife will come home to find his stuff gone. He says it’s the only way she won’t call him and threaten / manipulate him with suicide. I don’t think this is the best option, but it’s his life and it’s what he will do. What I need to know is, are there any legal implications against my brother? He’s worried he’ll get into trouble with the authorities for leaving her in such a way and forcing her to commit suicide (if she really does go through with it), knowing that she has mentioned it in the past. Anyone have any advice?

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19 Answers

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wundayatta's avatar

Is she mentally ill? I mean, diagnosed?

I don’t think she’ll do anything. At least, not right away. However, if she is mentally ill and she doesn’t get help, it could happen later on.

But I think you’re right that she is manipulating him, and not very subtly either.

However, I can’t see how he would have any legal obligations… except maybe to notify the police or some other official that she is behaving abnormally. There may be some kind of obligation to inform the authorities, but I’m not sure about that. But he certainly did not force her to commit suicide. If he did, it wouldn’t be suicide. It would be murder.

dpworkin's avatar

He is free to do what he likes, but if he is concerned about her well-being he may wish to inform someone in her family just before he leaves, so that they can see to her.

FutureMemory's avatar

I really hope that calling someone on their bluff isn’t a crime…?

Buttonstc's avatar

If he’s really that concerned about covering his ass, he could call 911 and when the cops respond, he could try for a court commitment on mental health grounds.

If someone is a danger to themselves, that’s one of the few reasons whereby they can be involuntarily held for 72 hrs for psych evaluation.

Even if she recants it in the presence of police, it’s now on the record in the form of their report.

If she is just bluffing, it’s doubtless shell try the same tactic again as the decision as to whether they haul her off for court commitment is dependent upon the decision of the responding officers.

The point is not to park her in a psych facility, but just to let her know that this is not a manipulation tactic to be tossed around lightly.

Dr_C's avatar

Best possible answer ^^^^^

lilikoi's avatar

Just to throw it out there, isn’t there something called ‘accomplice to suicide’ in some states? That might be worth looking into.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Sounds like an idle threat.
Call the suicide hotline if she’s serious.
They might be able to tell you or him how to deal

Judi's avatar

He needs to do lie he says. Move out when she is not there to create drama. After he is gone, he should call the police (before she gets home) and tell them that he has left his wife and that she had threatened to commit suicide if he did. They will go out and do a health and welfare check on her.
If there are no kids he should run and never look back. She is responsible for her own choices.
I agree with @Buttonstc except I think the police should decide if she needs to be held. If you ask for that they will just think you’re a vindictive ex. Let them make that determination based on their interview after you report the threat.

charliecompany34's avatar

when you are aware that anybody is considering suicide, your best bet is to report it or let authorities know. to be aware of it and not say anything could cost a life and party or parties would be held with the guilt of “i should have said something because i knew.”

fireinthepriory's avatar

GA @Buttonstc. Suicide is not something to be threatened lightly. Wanted to add that people who do threaten to commit suicide are statistically not that likely to actually do it.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t think a person can be held responsible for failure to prevent someone else from making a mistake they are determined to make. Can they? How could they?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Buttonstc has offered the best possible answer!

skfinkel's avatar

You don’t say how long they have been married, or if there are any children involved. If this is a really short marriage, perhaps walking away is the best thing, with some kind of assurance that she is okay (the police idea is an interesting one). If it is a long marriage, there is more involved, more at stake, and I think more is needed than just walking.

thriftymaid's avatar

When he leaves, if he feels she is a threat to herself he can call the police. They will go to her home to do a well check. If they feel she may hurt herself they will take her involuntarilly to a hopital for (usually) a 72 hour observation/evaluation.

PennyO's avatar

They’ve only been married a couple of years and it’s been shaky from the start. No children are involved so it should be nice and easy. I think she’s using the suicide threat to manipulate him, but he just wants to cover his own back in case she does do anything. She’s threatened it so many times before, and she’s still alive.

thriftchicks's avatar

I agree with others, he can inform her that the next time she threatens suicide, he will have no other choice but to call the police and the suicide hotline. If she REALLY wanted to commit suicide, she’d have done it already. Take it from a survivor of a double suicide.

hopeful5141's avatar

Legally, he is not responsible. Law and morality are two very distinct things. If he really suspects that she will harm herself, he should inform someone. He is right not to wish to be manipulated, but just in case there is intent, I cannot imagine that he would want to know that he did not warn someone of her thoughts.

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