Physical Disability and Divorce

Individuals who have physical disabilities can face unique challenges in a divorce proceeding. If you become disabled during your marriage, this may have placed strain on the marriage that has now resulted in your spouse wanting a divorce. If this is the case, try to focus on obtaining the best possible financial settlement. Your spouse has an obligation to pay for your support — maybe not indefinitely, but at least for a time. Physical disability is one factor that can be used to support a claim for receiving more alimony or a larger distribution of the marital estate. While you may feel uncomfortable relying on your disability to support such a claim, don't. If you are physically disabled, you need to take care of yourself. If your spouse is still able to work, he can start over on his own; you may not be able to.

If you are a parent who has become disabled during the marriage, your spouse may try to suggest that you are incapable of providing care for the children. Don't think for a second that a physical disability makes you unfit to take care of children. Before bending to his will, think about what steps you can take to make the situation workable for you. For example, let's say your spouse worked while you stayed home with the children. You were able to provide for their care with the help of a part-time housekeeper who prepared meals because you were not able to. Now that you're divorcing, your spouse claims you can't feed the children on your own. While that may be true, you can still ask for enough child or spousal support to be able to hire a part-time housekeeper to help you. You may also be able to resolve the problem by hiring a business that prepares the meals for you and only requires you to throw the food in the oven. Be creative in figuring out how to deal with your physical disability and parent your children.

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