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3 ways disability can affect a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Divorce

Most people, when they marry, vow to stick together through good times and bad, in sickness and in health – but not everybody follows through on those promises. 

This is especially true when “sickness” becomes one spouse’s reality because of a permanent disability. If your marriage has fractured because you developed a disability, you’re not alone – but you do need to think about the divorce process a little differently. Here are three important considerations:

Spousal support

In general, California expects a dependent spouse to become self-supporting, but the law recognizes the fact that this is not always possible. If your disability has made it impossible for you to keep working, you may qualify for permanent support – although you probably should anticipate a challenge from your spouse. You may be required to prove the severity of your limitations to the court.

Health insurance

If your health insurance is through your spouse, you’ll lose that coverage when the divorce is final. However, you may be able to include the cost of COBRA premiums or private insurance coverage in your divorce settlement. That can help you maintain your health care needs until you qualify for Medi-Cal or Medicare.

Property division

Your disability may factor into the negotiations you make surrounding the division of the marital property. While California is a community property state, which means that almost everything a couple acquires after a marriage begins is considered equally shared, you may want your share of the assets to go into a special needs trust, especially if you intend to file for needs-based government benefits, like Supplemental Security Income.

Life can be very complicated when you have a serious disability, and it can get even more complicated when you go through a divorce. It’s much easier to understand your options and protect your future with the right legal assistance.