Man in wheelchairThis is the next post in my series discussing unique issues divorcing Las Vegas couples face when they are a part of a unique population. My last post explained the additional complications couples face if one spouse has dual citizenship or intends to live overseas following the divorce. In this post I will explain how the Court will handle matters of health insurance and spousal support when one spouse has a serious physical disability.

Clark County Family Court Judges will consider a number of factors when determining how much support a disabled spouse is entitled to

When one spouse has a physical disability which impacts their ability to support themselves then the Clark County Family Court will consider a number of factors. These factors will determine if and how much support the other spouse should be required to provide. Issues such as whether the person came into the marriage with a known disability, or if they acquired the disability during the marriage, will be considered. The Court will also look at how long the couple was married, if the disabled spouse’s condition can be fully or partially rehabilitated, and if the disabled spouse has the ability to work in any capacity. As with any other issue of spousal support, the Court will be more likely to award a higher amount of support for a longer period of time to a spouse who has been out of the workforce, has fewer marketable skills, and if the couple enjoyed a lengthy marriage. Significant support is less likely if the marriage was brief, if the physically disabled spouse is capable of working, has supported themselves in the past, or if the disabled person’s injury can be rehabilitated.

The Court will also take into account any benefits or other money that the disabled spouse is entitled to. This will include whether the disabled spouse receives or is eligible for disability benefits, if any money has been awarded from a personal injury settlement, pension money, or any other income the disabled spouse receives. Finally, the Court will consider any recurring expenses that the couple pay for the spouse’s care including specialized transportation, medical bills, caretakers, medical equipment, etc. All of this will be taken into account, along with the other spouse’s income, and the couple’s standard of living.

Determining health insurance obligations may be a significant part of Las Vegas divorces which involve a physical disability

Health insurance may or may not be a significant part of a couple’s divorce when a physical disability is involved. The significance will depend on who has been the disabled spouse’s insurance carrier previously. If the spouse receives Medicare, or another type of government insurance, then it is unlikely that health insurance will be a significant part of the divorce settlement. However, if the disabled spouse has been carried by the other spouse’s insurance plan, and losing such insurance would result in changed care or medical providers, then health insurance may become part of the divorce settlement. Options may include having one spouse agree to pay the other spouse’s insurance out of pocket so that the disabled spouse does not have to change carriers. This may be exchanged for reduced spousal support or such an arrangement may even take the place of spousal support in some cases. All insurance policies are different and it is important for both spouses’ to read their insurance policies carefully prior to agreeing to a settlement. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with health insurance policies in such a situation is important so that a drop in medical coverage does not occur.

It is important to consult with a Las Vegas family law attorney if you are going through a divorce and either you or your spouse have a serious medical condition. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.