Divorcing When Happily Married

Q: What is a “medical divorce”?

Reading, Pennsylvania divorce attorneys expect clients who come to them wanting a divorce to be ready– and even eager– to untie the knot. Common reasons people get divorced are standard “irretrievably broken or irreconcilable differences” factors including infidelity, addiction, domestic abuse, different spending habits or parenting styles, or just growing apart. But sometimes couples who are very much in love and who both want to remain together find themselves seeking a divorce. 

Why would a happily married couple get divorced?

To avoid financial ruin. Such is the reason for the phenomenon known as “medical divorce”. Despite taking vows to stay together in sickness and in health, young and old couples sometimes face extreme situations that call for extreme and emotionally devastating actions—like divorcing when happily married.

For example, when couples have assets or income over the limits to qualify for Medicaid, but are facing financial burdens like long-term nursing home care for a spouse with dementia or long-term medical costs for a special needs child, medical divorce may be a couple’s only option to access benefits without financially crippling the family.

Sobering statistics from The American Journal of Medicine reported that “nearly 2/3 of bankruptcies are the result of medical bills… [and] in more than 3/4 of these medical bankruptcies the family had health insurance.” 

Sometimes, couples in such situations can avoid a divorce by using individual insurance policies – itself a costly option – or having an attorney review their insurance policies to see if legal separation rather than divorce is an acceptable alternative. Once couples hit age 65, qualifying for Medicare may help. Of course, long term disability insurance purchased prior to the onset of illness can be an answer for some. 

Contact the Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Today

If you are considering getting divorced in Pennsylvania, have been served with divorce papers, or have other questions regarding medical divorce or any other family law matter, the Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

From our office in Reading, Pennsylvania, we’ve been representing the legal needs of the people of Reading and the surrounding counties for over 25 years.