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The impact of chronic illness on divorce

When encountering marital problems, not all relationships are immune to significant life changes. These changes could mean parting ways. Filing for dissolution could happen to a couple no matter the length of their marriage or their age. If they are not able to handle a situation, ending the marriage might appear to be their best option.

Florida residents may find it interesting to learn that according to a new study a substantial portion of married couples who vow to stay with their spouse through sickness and in health do not necessarily mean it when they say it.

The study looked at data from the last 20 years that covered well over 2700 couples. According to the findings of the study, a little over 30 percent of couples that have at least one partner getting diagnosed with a chronic illness will in fact end up in divorce. Moreover, the risk of getting a divorce increased for older couples when the wife was the one who gets chronically ill and not the husband.

Examples of the types of chronic illnesses that were tracked in the study included cancer and lung disease as well as chronic heart disease and strokes. Also in each case in the study at least one of the members of the couple was over 50 years of age.

According to the data, though it was the husbands who were more prone to getting diagnosed with a chronic illness of some type, divorce was the more likely outcome when the wife was the one with the chronic illness and not vice versa.

Though any number of reasons could be interpreted from the results of the study, researchers don't have a clear cut answer as to why this happens. One theory is that men do not feel as qualified to adequately take care of someone chronically ill. However the study notes that it is the wives who start the discussion on the possibility of separation. It could be that they do not feel as cared for as they would like or need to be and feel that it would better for all parties involved if the couple separated. Furthermore, the wives tended to rely on their family and friends for support.

Based on the findings of the study, clearly, divorce does not discriminate based on age, and a couple contemplating divorce at any stage of their lives may want to consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney who can evaluate one's case, and legal options to address issues pertaining to the separation such asset division, retirement accounts, and the like.

Source: Time, "Divorce More Like When Wife Falls Ill," Alexandra Sifferlin, May 1, 2014

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