What Role Does Chronic Illness Play in Divorce Rates?

When people say their wedding vows, "until death do us part" is one of the most significant lines. It means that the partnership should last for a lifetime. However, there are also important lines about preserving the relationship in times of poverty as well as financial stability, and in times of health as well as illness.

Sadly, not everybody follows through with that particular vow to their spouse. While infidelity or falling out of love often play roles in the end of a marriage, chronic illness can also contribute to the demise of a relationship.

Some spouses simply can't tolerate the idea of spending their future with an individual who has compromised health or mobility. Others feel like an illness means their spouse no longer contributes enough to the family. This can lead to bitterness, resentment and eventually divorce.

Some people resent the expectation to serve as caretaker

When people become ill enough to rely on others for the daily necessities of life, such as self-care, they often turn to their spouse as a source of that support. Not everyone has the emotional tenacity and patience to serve as a caregiver for someone who is chronically ill.

They may become angry about the demands on their time or may simply not have the skill set necessary to provide a decent standard of living for someone with compromised health. In fact, some spouses strongly believe that if they married someone healthy, that is the relationship they agreed to.

If an illness becomes an issue later in life, the spouse without health issues may feel that it is not something they signed up for when they got married. This can lead them to look for a solution, which is often divorce.

Health issues are a leading cause of divorce

When one spouse becomes chronically ill, it inevitably impacts the health of the relationship as well. Chronic health problems, ranging from degenerative diseases to cancer, can place a lot of strain on a marital relationship. The spouse in better health may be angry about the lack of contributions made by the spouse suffering from the illness.

They may also feel like they no longer have a partner, but rather another obligation or responsibility. For the individual who is sick, they may be so consumed by their own daily experiences of the illness that they no longer have the energy to focus on maintaining a healthy and happy marriage.

Whether you worry that your spouse may divorce you because of a chronic illness or think it may be time to end your marriage, the first step should always be discussing the issue with an experienced family law attorney. Knowing your rights and obligations in Colorado, as well as the likely financial consequences of a divorce, can help you make an informed decision about the future of your marriage.