Sometimes, the law forces you to make hard choices about your love life. For instance, you may have an expensive medical condition, and you rely on Medicare or Medicaid to keep you healthy. You are, however, married to someone who makes good money, but they cannot financially support your treatment. Because of their income, you are suddenly no longer eligible to receive your medical aid, leaving you with no treatment options. In a situation like this, you can consider having a “medical divorce.”
A medical divorce is a tricky concept. It deals with the financial responsibilities of someone who requires long-term healthcare treatment. Essentially, medical divorce allows a couple to separate their assets. This helps the chronically ill spouse qualify for benefits without depleting the healthier spouse’s assets.
Going through a medical divorce is a harsh decision, but it can protect the couple’s financial stability, giving both parties a better chance at receiving the healthcare they require.
The Legal Implications of a Medical Divorce
Custody and Support Agreements
If the couple has children, they must come agree on child custody and support arrangements. Chances are, they will still be living together and behaving like any other married couple, but they still need an official, on-paper parenting plan. They also may need a child support agreement just so they can prove the money is moving from one parent to the other.
There is plenty of paperwork in a divorce, even a medical one. Examples include separation agreements and divorce certificates. These documents are legally binding. You must fill them out thoroughly and file them with the appropriate authorities.
Financial Considerations for Couples Considering a Medical Divorce
Division of Assets and Debts
Couples will need to legally divide their assets and debts. This includes property, bank accounts, and other financial assets. You must consider how this will impact credit scores, loans, and other future financial decisions. Remember, you are now legally an individual, not a couple.
Impact on Retirement Accounts
Divorce can impact retirement savings, and assets are often split between the two parties. This can be a particular concern for older couples who are nearing retirement age.
Potential Loss of Tax Benefits
Married couples are often eligible for certain tax benefits. These may not be available to divorced individuals.
Impact on Estate Planning
Divorce can also have an impact on estate planning. Couples should review their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and any related documents. They must make sure their wishes are still being met after the divorce.
Divorce can be expensive, particularly if the couple has significant assets. Couples should factor in the cost of legal fees when evaluating the financial implications of a medical divorce. You should seek an attorney to help make the process smoother for you, but you can also avoid court fees, mediation, and any other expenses related to a standard divorce.
Impact on Credit Scores
Divorce can also have an impact on credit scores, particularly if one spouse is responsible for a significant amount of debt. Couples should consider how a divorce may impact their credit scores and ability to obtain credit in the future.
The Potential Emotional Toll of a Medical Divorce
Generally, people who go through with a medical divorce are not ending their relationship. They still plan to remain together until death does them part. The marriage is over only in the law’s eyes.
Many people can live with this transition, never giving it a second thought. Many others, however, can suffer real emotional damage. The loss of their marriage’s “official” status can be devastating, especially considering that the decision will be permanent. Not only are they dealing with the stress of their medical condition, but they must also navigate the complex emotions associated with ending a relationship.
If you are struggling with this decision, seek professional support. Don’t be afraid to include your spouse in any counseling. Finding ways to cope with these emotions can be helpful. You can start healing and get comfortable with your new relationship dynamic.
Alternatives to a Medical Divorce
There are other options to consider. For instance, you can explore joint ownership of assets, such as a home or car. This can help both spouses save on expenses and reduce their overall financial burden.
If you are considering a medical divorce, Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. is here to help. We may be able to review your case and find other options for you. If divorce is the best solution, then we can help you get through the red tape, making the whole process as painless as possible.
For a free consultation, contact us online today or call us at (904) 701-0591. **Consultation fees may apply to family law consultations.