5 Steps to Successfully Navigate Divorce While Chronically Ill
The ending of a marriage is always a challenging time. But when you are also struggling with a chronic illness, it’s even more complicated. How can you successfully navigate your divorce while maintaining your health as much as possible? Here are five key ways.
1. Communicate Openly
Your divorce attorney is going to be a key part of your divorce team, so start out by being honest with them about your health and emotional issues. Let the legal team know what your symptoms are, what treatment you are currently going through, how your energy or daily activities are affected, and how it may impact your ability to meet certain obligations (like meetings about your case).
By being open with your lawyer, he or she can also help you identify ways that your health should impact your divorce claim and ways that you can make the actual legal process easier on your body.
2. Research Your Future Needs
Those with a chronic condition often have ongoing financial, physical, and emotional needs. You must assess these when planning for your divorce settlement.
Learn about the specifics of your condition through medical advisers as well as others who live with the same diagnosis. How will your illness affect your ability to find and maintain steady work? How might it impact your salary potential? Is the illness degenerative, likely leaving you with fewer earning opportunities as you age? Do you need to make physical adjustments in your living situation?
Try to turn this information into actionable financial and physical requests. If you will eventually not be able to work full-time, you might compare part-time work in your field with your current full-time salary. If you will need to make your home accessible, have a licensed contractor price out the renovation work.
3. Focus on What’s Important
Many divorcing couples get caught up in a great deal of minutiae regarding shared assets, debt obligations, items of sentimental value, and co-parenting schedules. But if your energy, time, and assets are already limited by dealing with your health, you don’t want to waste any of it on things that don’t matter.
Identify the most important aspects of your settlement — such as time with the kids — and focus on the best negotiation around those elements. Be prepared to compromise on other things, especially if that will help you gain what is most valuable to you personally.
4. Have Hard Conversations
Many chronic ailments cause lifelong issues but aren’t likely to lead to passing away early. However, some diseases can rob you of time to enjoy life. If your health issues are likely to be degenerative or to result in a shorter life expectancy, don’t be afraid to make this part of your divorce negotiations.
If you would, for example, benefit more from receiving the deed to the marital home in which you are comfortable and which is accessible, this might be more important than splitting a future retirement account.
5. Don’t Assume the Worst
A chronic condition in either spouse doesn’t automatically negate their ability to co-parent or to care for the needs of themselves or the family. Don’t let your diagnosis cause you to forfeit time with your children, custody of your pet, or the enjoyment of marital assets. These things are often even more important when one faces an ongoing health challenge that affects their joy.
A successful divorce process will help you move on to the next chapter of your life. And by working with your legal representation and focusing on what really matters to you, you can have a positive outcome not matter what your face. Start today by scheduling a consultation with the Law Offices of Lynda Latta LLC today.