“In Sickness and in Health?” Disability and Divorce

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Mar 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

When a couple is standing at the altar making marital declarations, they usually weigh the importance of these vows, including the phrase “in sickness and in health.” Unfortunately, life circumstances and tragedy, including accident or illness can send a couple into unknown territory. In addition to the physical challenges of an injury or disability, couples often will suffer from additional emotional and financial strains. According an article published by an economics professor from Syracuse University, individuals who suffer from disability are more likely to get divorced.


An unexpected disability leaves both the victim and the spouse in unpredictable circumstances. While some couples may depend on each other for support and stability, others may have a difficulty adjusting to new life challenges and circumstances. Even after a couple has grown apart, there may be guilt in ending a marriage after a disability. Our Birmingham divorce attorneys understand that both disability and divorce are huge personal hurdles. Whether you have decided to pursue a divorce after disability or you are considering whether it is right for you, we can help. Every situation is unique and we will take the time to understand your position, identify your goals, and help you protect your rights throughout the process.

The economics study examining disability and divorce showed that the onset of disability increases the likelihood of divorce. According to the American Community Survey, the type of disability faced by one spouse created a greater likelihood of divorce. For example, in marriages with no disability, couples had a 2.2 percent chance of divorcing in one year. For couples with a disability, those numbers went up. In marriages where one spouse had an ambulatory defect or needed care, the likelihood of divorce in the year went up to 3.3%. In marriages where one spouse suffered a cognitive disability, the likelihood of divorce went up to 4.1%

In a marriage, any number of factors could influence a decision to divorce. A disability may not be the reason for divorce, but it could give rise to other factors. The onset of disability could leave both spouses in a financial struggle—already a leading cause of divorce. A disability also means that both spouses will suffer a more challenging life. There could be stress about care and housework or economic realities that fall heavily on the non-disabled spouse. All of this could lead to resentment and emotional challenges later on. So while a disability may not be to blame for the end of a marriage, the number of hardships caused by disability could leave one or both parties ready to end the marriage.

If you are in a relationship that has been strained by disability, do not feel guilty about considering your options or a way out. Commitment is important, but divorce is a solution when you are unable to work out differences. Every marriage has its hardships, but when yours become too much, remember you have options and rights. Our Alabama divorce attorneys are dedicated to helping clients find the best solutions for their families.

If you are seeking a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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