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Factors to Consider When Divorcing a Spouse with a Disability

Leaving a Disabled Spouse

When going through a divorce, numerous legal and emotional challenges arise. However, divorcing a spouse with a disability introduces unique circumstances that require careful consideration and expert guidance. At Infinity Law Group, we specialize in helping individuals navigate the complexities of divorce, especially when disabilities are involved. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of divorcing a spouse with a disability, addressing various legal, financial, and emotional aspects.

Legal Considerations

1. Understanding Disability Rights and Protections

Before proceeding with the divorce process, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of disability rights and protections. Familiarize yourself with the relevant federal and state laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These laws safeguard the rights of individuals with disabilities, ensuring they are not discriminated against in various areas, including employment, housing, and public services.

2. Determining Child Custody and Support

Child custody and support arrangements require careful consideration when one spouse has a disability. The court’s primary focus will always be the best interests of the child. Factors such as the disabled spouse’s ability to care for the child, the availability of support systems, and the potential impact on the child’s well-being will be assessed. Seek legal counsel to ensure a fair and appropriate child custody and support agreement is reached.

3. Assessing Spousal Support

In divorces involving a spouse with a disability, the issue of spousal support takes on added complexity. The court will consider factors such as the disabled spouse’s ability to work, their need for ongoing support, and the financial capacity of the other spouse to provide such support. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can advocate for your rights and negotiate a fair spousal support arrangement.

4. Asset Division and Financial Planning

Dividing assets in a divorce can be challenging, particularly when one spouse has a disability. It is crucial to carefully assess the financial needs of both parties, taking into account the disabled spouse’s potential medical and care expenses. Consulting with financial experts and experienced divorce attorneys will help ensure an equitable distribution of assets and create a solid financial plan for both parties post-divorce.

Emotional Considerations

1. Seeking Emotional Support

Divorce can be emotionally taxing for both parties involved, and divorcing a spouse with a disability may add additional stressors. It is essential to seek emotional support from friends, family, or professional therapists who can provide guidance and help you navigate the emotional challenges that may arise during the process.

2. Communicating Effectively

Open and honest communication is vital when divorcing a spouse with a disability. Take the time to understand your spouse’s needs and concerns, ensuring that their voice is heard throughout the process. If necessary, involve a mediator or a communication specialist to facilitate productive discussions and help find mutually agreeable solutions.

3. Co-parenting Strategies

Divorcing a spouse with a disability requires careful consideration of co-parenting strategies. Collaborate with your ex-spouse to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses the unique needs of your child and accommodates any specific challenges arising from the disability. Flexibility, empathy, and clear communication will be key to ensuring a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Financial Considerations

1. Seeking Professional Financial Advice

Financial planning is critical when divorcing a spouse with a disability. Engage the services of a financial planner or advisor experienced in divorce cases to help you navigate the financial complexities. They can assist in evaluating your financial situation, ensuring long-term financial stability, and optimizing your financial resources.

2. Evaluating Insurance and Benefits

Review the disability insurance policies and benefits available to both parties involved in the divorce. Determine how these policies will be impacted by the divorce and if any modifications or additional coverage may be necessary to safeguard the disabled spouse’s well-being and financial security.

You May be Required to Pay Spousal Support

If your spouse has a disability that makes them unable to work, or means they have a lower earning potential than you, then your spouse may have a strong argument for seeking spousal support, otherwise known as alimony.

Whether or not your spouse is entitled to alimony and for how long depends on several factors. Your spouse may be entitled to alimony for a certain percentage of the total months you were married. For marriages between five and 10 years, a spouse may ask for up to 60 percent of the months of marriage. The longer the marriage, the greater the percentage.

Alimony could last longer if you agree to it, or if your spouse can prove exceptional circumstances exist, which could include a significant disability.

Massachusetts has a standard alimony formula and caps. To learn how much alimony you may be responsible for, use Infinity Law Group’s Massachusetts’ Alimony Calculator, or download our app, available for Androids and iPhones in Google Play and the App Store. However, a spouse with a significant disability and little income may seek an amount of support above the statutory limit.


Divorcing a spouse with a disability demands careful attention to legal, emotional, and financial considerations. By understanding the unique challenges that arise in these circumstances and seeking expert advice, you can navigate the divorce process more effectively. At Infinity Law Group, we are committed to providing compassionate and knowledgeable support to individuals facing divorce, especially when disabilities are involved. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us guide you through this complex journey.

Work with Our Experienced Boston Divorce Attorneys to Plan Ahead

If you intend to end your relationship with a disabled spouse, you are going to need to plan carefully. Divorces involving a spouse with a significant disability are often more complex than other divorces. The best thing you can do for yourself is to work with a highly experienced divorce lawyer who will review you with you the potential outcomes of the divorce and how they may impact your finances.

To talk with our divorce lawyers at Infinity Law Group, contact us through our online form or call (855) 941-0909.