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Separating While Going Through a Major Medical Event-Survival Strategies

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

Cancer, autoimmune diseases and other medical struggles can strain even the strongest marriages. Some couples manage to pull through, while others find the difficulties impossible to weather together.

Divorce can provide ample relief for couples struggling through medical catastrophe, but it also adds new burdens. The healthy spouse may be forced to divorce on grounds of constructive desertion. Furthermore, the stress of divorce negotiations may further harm the ill spouse’s already compromised health. If, despite this, you intend to divorce, consider implementing the following suggestions:

Separation Versus Divorce

Health insurance quickly becomes a chief consideration in divorces involving severe illness. Spouses may suddenly find themselves without adequate coverage and no guarantee of qualifying for Medicaid. For this reason, many seek limited divorce (known as legal separation in most states). Limited divorce allows spouses to retain numerous financial and healthcare benefits, while still resolving issues such as alimony, child support and custody with courtroom guidance.

Consider Mediation

Sick spouses may not possess the strength necessary for protracted litigation. Although not necessarily possible for the entirety of the divorce, mediation can reduce physical burdens by significantly reducing the timeline. Separating spouses can arrange brief mediation sessions focused on areas in which they share common ground.

Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives

Concerned about who will make essential decisions should your health take a turn for the worse? Consider establishing durable power of attorney or an advance health care directive for your ex-spouse. This approach best suits those who part on amicable terms and maintain a close relationship following divorce. It can be comforting to know that, in the worst case scenario, your former spouse will carry out your wishes as outlined in estate planning documents.

Maintain Hope for the Future

Divorce and illness make distressing bedfellows, but in time, your separation may actually improve your physical and mental health. Once you remove the stress of a bad marriage, you may experience a swifter and easier recovery. Be open to the possibility of a happier and healthier post-divorce life. The more you focus on long-term outcomes, the less devastating you’ll find current divorce proceedings.

With strong legal representation, you can mitigate the most difficult aspects of your Maryland divorce, regardless of your current health status. Don’t hesitate to seek counsel from DiPietro Law Group.

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