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How Does a Divorce Work When Your Spouse Is Disabled?

Divorce is a complicated and emotional process, but when you add a disability into the mix, it can become even more challenging. If your spouse is disabled and you are considering divorce, there are several unique legal considerations that you need to understand. Smith Legal Group assists clients who are divorcing a disabled spouse in Henderson, Nevada, and the surrounding areas. Here, we will explore some of the most important factors to keep in mind as you navigate this complex situation.

A man in a wheelchair next to a handicap sign on the pavement in Henderson, NV

Legal Consideration When Divorcing a Disabled Spouse

Divorcing a disabled spouse raises a number of unique legal considerations that you will need to address as you move through the divorce process. For example, you may need to consider how your spouse’s disability will affect child custody and support arrangements. Additionally, you may need to work with an experienced attorney to understand how your spouse’s disability impacts asset division and financial planning. At Smith Legal Group, we have years of experience helping clients navigate these complex legal situations, and we can provide invaluable guidance as you work through your divorce.

Understanding Disability Rights and Protections

Another key consideration when divorcing a disabled spouse is understanding their rights and protections under the law. Is a divorced spouse entitled to VA disability benefits? Will my disability increase if I get divorced? These are important questions that we can help you answer. Depending on the nature and severity of their disability, your spouse may be entitled to government benefits like VA disability benefits or Social Security disability income. The exact details and circumstances dictate whether or not they will receive those benefits. So, it’s important to work with an attorney who can help you understand how these benefits may impact your divorce settlement or spousal support arrangements.

Determining Child Custody and Support

Child custody decisions during a divorce are driven by the paramount consideration of the child’s best interests. These interests include the emotional, social, moral, material, and educational welfare of the child. The court carefully assesses each parent’s capacity to meet these needs, irrespective of disability status. A parent’s disability is not an automatic disqualification for obtaining custody. However, if the disability impedes the ability to provide safe and suitable care for the child, it may influence the court’s decision. It is highly recommended to engage legal counsel to effectively navigate this intricate process.

Assessing Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, can also be complicated when a disability is involved. Depending on the nature and severity of your spouse’s disability, you may be required to pay spousal support for a longer period of time than you would in a typical divorce. Additionally, you may need to work with an experienced attorney to understand how your spouse’s disability will impact their ability to earn income and their overall financial situation.

Asset Division and Financial Planning

In Nevada, a community property state, all income and assets acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses. However, when divorcing a disabled spouse, certain nuances apply. For instance, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) might be considered for support obligations, but Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not. Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits cannot be divided as marital property but may be garnished for spousal or child support. Assets held under Medicaid are also subject to specific rules. Legal advice should be sought to accurately understand and manage asset division in such cases.


In addition to these legal and financial considerations, it’s important to carefully consider the emotional impact of divorcing a disabled spouse. You may need to seek emotional support from a therapist or support group as you navigate this challenging process. You may also need to work on developing effective communication and co-parenting strategies, especially if you have children together.

Financial Considerations and Spousal Support

Finally, it’s important to understand that if you are divorcing a disabled spouse, you may be required to pay spousal support for a longer period of time than you would in a typical divorce. This is because your spouse may have ongoing support needs related to their disability that will require ongoing financial support. At Smith Legal Group, we can help you understand your financial obligations and develop a plan that ensures both you and your spouse are able to maintain a comfortable standard of living.

Schedule a Free Divorce Consultation Today

Divorcing a disabled spouse is a complex and emotional process, but with the right support and guidance, you can navigate this challenging situation with confidence. Whether you need help understanding the legal implications of your divorce or developing effective communication and co-parenting strategies, the attorneys at Smith Legal Group are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about divorcing a disabled spouse.

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