The Effect of Chronic Illness on Divorce in New Jersey
Until Death Do Us Part? Some Couples Find It Hard to Cope with Their Marriage and a Chronic Illness
Navigating a marriage that is falling apart and the subsequent process of divorce is difficult for any person. When there are additional factors that weigh on the marriage and the divorce, the complexity of marital union dissolution is amplified. Chronic illness experienced by one spouse is a clear example of a difficulty that can adversely impact both the marriage and the divorce proceedings. If you or your spouse suffers from chronic illness and divorce has become inevitable, you need the experienced legal support of The Montanari Law Group in your corner. Contact us at (973) 233-4396 for a free consultation, and read on to learn more about how chronic illness affects New Jersey divorces.
Chronic Illness: Definition and Characteristics
Chronic illness, or chronic disease, is any illness lasting more than a year that requires consistent medical attention and impairs one’s capacity to function on a daily basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic illnesses are generally non-contagious (though HIV can be considered chronic), and they usually develop slowly and progressively. Six in ten people in the United States have a chronic illness. Some of the most common chronic diseases include cancers, cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart disease, stroke, respiratory conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and mental illness.
Chronic Illnesses as a Cause of Divorce in NJ
Remaining in sync with a partner and navigating the ups and downs of marriage is a process for any couple, but when one or both spouses is suffering from a chronic illness, marriage becomes much more difficult. Chronic illnesses often manifest in differing intensities through time, and they often make contribution to the marriage through work or day-to-day tasks difficult or impossible. Ailing individuals may project their pain onto their spouse through their emotions, and impatient or exasperated support spouses may erupt when the life as they imagined it is no longer possible. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, about a third of marriages end in divorce when only the wife is ill. The AARP reports that up to three out of four marriages end when one spouse has a serious chronic illness.
What to Know about Divorcing a Spouse with a Chronic Illness
While the divorce process when one or both spouses is suffering from a chronic illness follows the same basic framework as a regular divorce, there are multiple factors that must be taken into consideration when it comes to such a divorce. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state when it comes to divorce. This means that in a divorce, assets will not simply be split half and half. Instead, the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part reviews a variety of factors to determine what is an equitable division based on considerations involving both spouses, which might not be an equal division. These factors include how long the couple was married, their ages, their current employment and future employment outlook, their health, and their health expenses, among others. When reviewing the spouses’ future earning potential and health, the court will likely find that the chronic illness requires a higher financial contribution in the divorce in order for them to maintain the standard of living they had when married.
Chronic illness, then, will affect the distribution of assets to provide a fair and equitable financial base for the newly single partner to move forward with their chronic illness. The presence of a chronic illness may also affect spousal support payment and even child custody. While the Family Part court considers it in the child’s best interest to spend equal time with both parents, a joint custody agreement may not be possible if one spouse suffers from severe chronic illness. Because all of these factors are so delicate and important, it is essential that a family law attorney take charge of a divorce involving chronic illness.
Consult a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer if You are Going Through a Divorce in the Middle of a Chronic Illness
Our team at The Montanari Law Group is devoted to ensuring you receive your full and fair share in a divorce and that your future needs are amply taken care of. If you or your spouse suffer from a chronic illness, you need a professional with decades of experience to foresee the coming decades and make sure that you and your family are provided for. We successfully represent clients in West Milford, Clifton, Ringwood, South Orange, Woodland Park, Nutley, Hawthorne, and nearby towns across Northern New Jersey in their chronic illness-related divorce cases and give you the confidence in our capacity that allows you space to rest and focus on your healing and new life. Contact us today at (973) 233-4396 or contact us online today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.