It is important to understand the divorce rights for stroke victims because you want to make sure you get a fair deal out of the divorce settlement. You will need to know what disability entitlements your spouse has and what to do if you become unable to represent yourself.
Stroke and Divorce
The divorce rights for stroke victims are much like those of anyone with a disability. When someone suffers from a stroke, a cardiovascular disease, there may be many long-lasting mental, physical, and emotional effects from it. If the person has a permanent physical impairment requiring personal care assistance, he or she may need assistance with bathing, feeding and dressing. Mentally, a stroke victim may uncontrollably yell, cry, or lash out at people. Furthermore, because of this inability to be self-sufficient, sufferers may become depressed and angry because of their inability to be independent. All of these factors put a great strain on a marriage.
In 1994, the National Health Interview Survey conducted a study on 50,000 households. Out of these households, the ones with spouses that were disabled were much more likely to be divorced or separated (20.7 percent), while only 13.1 percent of the households had been through a divorce without any disability as a factor.
Understanding the Divorce Rights for Stroke Victims
Many of the rights vary between states so you will need to check with your state to know exactly what your rights are in a divorce. However, here are some things for you to consider, so you know what to look for when you do your research.
Appointing a Guardian
According to Divorce Source, it is important that you appoint a guardian in case of an inability to communicate. If you become ill or suffer another stroke, someone will have to stand in your defense for the divorce proceedings. If no one is appointed, your spouse could be the one that makes your decisions for you. You may not want this to happen especially since you want to safeguard your personal property and finances as much as possible during this time.
Find someone you can trust to appoint as your guardian, then check with your state to find out what you need to do to make this legal. Many times, all it takes is a document stating your desires and having both of you sign it.
According to Divorce Support, in some circumstances, your spouse may be entitled to some of the disability payments you receive. Again, each state differs greatly on how they handle disability payments so check with the laws in your state. Your state will either view your disability as property or as income.
Support for Stroke Victim Spouses
Sometimes divorce is not the only answer to handling life with a stroke victim. If your spouse has recently suffered a stroke or other disability, there is help out there for you too. You don't have to feel like you are in this alone, others have gone through what you are going through and remain married to their spouse. Here are some ways you can find support and help through this difficult transitional period in your marriage.
- Support groups
Many communities have support groups available on a wide range of topics. Check your newspaper, community center, or rehabilitation centers for information on support groups in your area.
You may not feel like you need to see a therapist but it may help you get a lot of things off your chest and put your life into perspective. Being able to talk to someone that understands can help you start to heal after this traumatic event.
- Personal care worker
You may not be able to do it all on your own. You may want to take care of your spouse by yourself because you feel it's your duty, but you also need a break so you can re-energize. Hire a personal care worker to come and take some of the work off your hands. It will give you a chance to get some things done for yourself.
- Family Organized Community Understanding of Stroke
Contact this organization to find out more information about stroke. They also have information on educational, rehabilitation and social programs for stroke victims.
Just remember that this is something hard to deal with for both spouses. There will be an adjustment period and your marriage may or may not make it through. If you feel divorce is the best for the both of you, research your states divorce rights for people with a disability so you know what to expect during settlement.