Divorce and Disability

Marriages may end for any number of reasons, including destructive actions such as infidelity or abusive behavior. Spouses may grow also apart due to financial struggles, differences in child-rearing philosophies, or even clashing religious views. Unfortunately, another common motivation for divorce involves health considerations and disabilities.  or disabilities. In fact, research suggests that disabled individuals are more likely to go through a divorce than the average, non-disabled person.

In Sickness and in Health…

Health concerns and disabilities can affect a marriage in many ways. Depending upon the severity of an illness and whether a disability is purely physical, a chronic health condition can erode a couple’s relationship and eventually lead to resentment of one another. The disabled spouse may feel that he or she is a burden to his or her partner, while the healthier spouse can easily become frustrated and feel a sense of loss, even before a divorce occurs.

If and when a divorce becomes a reality for such couples, there are fairly unique aspects of the law to consider. In certain cases, such as those in which one spouse has a mental or psychological disability that affects his or her capacity to fully understand the situation, the court may designate a guardian to make decisions the disabled person’s behalf.

Disability, Divorce, Alimony, and Benefits

Divorces involving disabilities often involve concerns related to alimony and benefits—especially when the disabled party is in danger of being financially unstable. While disability does not guarantee a specific outcome to the divorce, the disabled spouse’s finances, as well as the nature and length of the marriage, may influence the court’s decision. Depending on the outcome, the court may require the non-disabled spouse to provide money to assist with healthcare costs.

Those who currently live on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may see an increase in their payments as the result of a divorce. Since SSDI payments correspond to financial need, a significant decrease in one’s income often increases the amount of benefits.

If benefits are based on the disabled spouse’s personal work history, however, it is unlikely that the divorce will alter it significantly. Spouses who are at least 62 years old also will not likely see any major change in their benefits.

Contact an Attorney

Every divorce case is different. That is why it is often helpful to consult with a legal professional when the end of a marriage becomes a possibility. If you are considering a divorce, contact the experienced Orland Park divorce attorneys at Kezy & Associates. With three convenient office locations, we can be there when you need us. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation.