If my spouse is disabled and can no longer care for herself, are there any laws that would require me to stay married to her?

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If my spouse is disabled and can no longer care for herself, are there any laws that would require me to stay married to her?

I cannot afford to hire someone to take care of her. She is on Medicare but my income is just enough over the poverty level that we can get very little outside assistance from the state.

Asked on November 26, 2012 under Family Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no law that requires you to stay married to your spouse.  However, if you are considering divorce as a way to qualify for assistance, you may want to give it a bit more thought.  Many agencies will consider all of the resources available to the applicant.  This means that if your resources (income, housing, and support) are still available to her, then that is still a resource that could still disqualify her from assistance.  Before you talk to a family law attorney to file for divorce, consider visiting with an attorney that handles Medicare and other disability claims.  There may be some specialized provisions that you can invoke to get assistance that you just aren't aware of.  Medicare actually has some specialized provisions for spouses of disabled persons that require a stay at an assisted living type facility.  Someones it's just a matter of filling out the right paperwork and using the magic language with certain agencies.  It seems like you love your wife, but are frustrated by the system.  Get help with the system before you end your marriage.  If you can't afford an attorney, research non-profit groups that help disabled persons in your area.


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