Dear Carolyn,

My husband and I have been happily married for a decade. We had a thriving business together before COVID-19, but COVID decimated our industry. We have a daughter, age 7, in second grade. About the time COVID happened, my husband went crazy. He became a wild man. He starting spending like there was no tomorrow, and he went through our savings on crazy purchases, like a convertible we neither needed nor could afford. He ran up our credit cards. He started making accusations against me with no truth to them. I got him to go to the doctor. He was referred to a psychiatrist, and he has been diagnosed with Bipolar 1. What are my options?


Carolyn Answers,

I am sure you are saying to yourself, “do I go or do I stay?” Only you can decide this answer. Bipolar one is not curable. It is a lifelong illness. The disease can be managed with medication and therapy. It is essential to avoid stress, eat regularly, and exercise. Unfortunately, many bipolar patients will not follow doctor orders and will not take care of the disease. Bipolar one will likely worsen with age if not treated properly. You cannot make your spouse follow the doctor’s orders, so your first assessment is whether he will do what the doctor says.

My second piece of advice is that you should be prepared to take care of yourself and your daughter emotionally and financially. Find a support group or a therapist for yourself. It would help if you also had a reliable job that produces a liveable income. I would not count on the revenue from your husband as it may be erratic.

Divorce may be in order, but only you can decide.


Send your questions on family law and divorce matters to “Ask Carolyn…” at, or P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro, NC  27427.  Please do not put identifying information in your questions.  Note that the answers in “Ask Carolyn” are intended to provide general legal information, and the answers are not specific legal advice for your situation.  The column also uses hypothetical questions.  A subtle fact in your unique case may determine the legal advice you need in your individual case.  Also, please note that you are not creating an attorney-client relationship with Carolyn J. Woodruff by writing or having your question answered by “Ask Carolyn…”