Divorce happens under all sorts of circumstances for a broad range of different personal reasons. Sometimes, people divorce due to the health concerns of one spouse. Other times, a divorce is the result of other elements in the marriage, but there is still concern about how the health challenges of one spouse might impact the divorce process.
If one of the spouses in a marriage has a chronic health concern, there can be some unique issues that arise during divorce negotiations. How might their health challenges impact the divorce process?
Insurance can be a challenge
It is very common for one spouse to provide insurance for the whole family even if both spouses work. After all, not every business provides the same caliber of coverage. Spouses generally cannot cover each other, only dependent children, with their policies after a divorce. This can raise challenges for paying for treatment and could impact what care someone could receive.
Property division issues may be different
Particularly in scenarios where someone’s health issues will prevent them from working or limit their income, a judge may consider their health when evaluating their economic circumstances to apply the state’s equitable distribution statute to their property. Someone with major health concerns may end up receiving more marital assets or less of the shared marital debt because of their economic challenges.
Health can even affect custody
If someone has cancer or epilepsy, they may not be in a position to meet all the needs of their children without support. Someone who routinely experiences seizures, for example, cannot drive the children places and might be in a position where they require hospitalization. Similarly, when the symptoms or treatment for a condition leave someone unable to meet the needs of the children, they may not be able to fully share parenting time because of those health issues.
Ideally, spouses will be able to work together to address the challenges presented by someone’s health concerns and arrive at their own solutions for property division, custody and even alimony. Embracing a cooperative approach to divorce can benefit those in challenging circumstances in part because it will give them more control over the outcome of their divorce. Regardless of whether litigation is inevitable or not, however, seeking legal guidance proactively tends to be a good idea when a spouse’s health challenges are likely to complicate the road ahead.