Can I Get Divorced From a Spouse Who Has Dementia?

 Posted on February 09, 2023 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerFew people get married with the expectation that they will eventually get divorced. However, even after several decades of marriage, life can bring insurmountable challenges that completely change our expectations of what we thought the future would hold.

This is especially true for people who suffer from degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or Pick’s Disease. Even if a marriage was rock solid before signs of dementia began setting in, the way that the brain’s essential functions break down with neurodegenerative diseases can quickly make a quality relationship impossible. People who have degenerative brain disease can become very difficult to live with because they may get lost, become aggressive, or even forget how to do simple things like get out of bed and dress themselves. When a degenerative brain disease progresses to the point where a couple can no longer function as a whole, the healthy partner may consider divorce.

Brain Disease Can End a Marriage

All the things that make a marriage a marriage - teamwork, history, a shared vision for the future - can disappear into the black hole of dementia. Rather than working as partners, one spouse often ends up being the caregiver for the other spouse for as long as they are able. However, this is frequently unmanageable in the long run, and the spouse with dementia may need to be put in a residential living facility where they can get the care and help they need. Furthermore, the spouse with dementia may end up becoming seriously dangerous to their partner because of paranoia, aggression, or abuse.

Divorce may be the only feasible option in such a scenario, and you can file for divorce even if your spouse does not understand what is going on. It may be necessary to have a guardian appointed for your spouse who can represent them in your divorce case. The spouse who suffers from dementia will still have the legal right to receive their fair share of marital property, even if they are no longer capable of managing their finances themselves. By negotiating with the guardian of the spouse with dementia, the healthy spouse can ensure the property division is fair and that the spouse with dementia has the resources they need to access proper care. This may include spousal support.

Not many people with advanced brain disease have children under the age of 18, but if there are minor children involved in the divorce, arrangements will have to be made regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time. Generally, if one parent is totally incapacitated by an illness, the other parent will receive full parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Contact a Kane County, IL Divorce Attorney Today

The experienced St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys at Goostree Law Group understand the sensitive nature of divorcing a spouse with dementia or another degenerative brain disease. If you are looking to start the divorce process while respecting your family’s dignity and privacy, contact us today at 630-584-4800 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.






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