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Divorcing with a disability poses unique questions

As with many things in life, Florida residents with disabilities may need to adapt the divorce process to suit their needs. The presence of a disability may or may not be part of the reason for divorcing a spouse, but it certainly impacts the outcome.

Divorce is never one-size-fits-all. Ability level will likely be one of many factors that changes how you and your spouse approach this process. In this post, we will discuss the key issues that pertain to disabled divorcees.

What happens to disability benefits?

In Florida, courts add the amount of disability benefits you or your spouse receives to the overall household income. Because courts do not consider this an individual asset, it will affect how much money each spouse receives as well as their share of child support obligations. Social Security Disability benefits follow their own special rules.

Who gets to keep special equipment?

When it’s time to divide household items, courts evaluate what will be the fairest award to each spouse. As a result, it wouldn’t be equitable for a non-disabled spouse to receive special equipment that they don’t need, such as lifts, hearing aids, braille books, wheelchairs or adapted household tools and furniture. However, that spouse may receive a higher value of other marital assets.

Could my spouse claim my service animal?

In many divorces, courts treat pets like another piece of furniture. However, the laws are in flux from state to state; some courts are starting to allow custody options for pets. When the pet is a service animal, a court might consider them in the same category as special equipment. The spouse in need of the animal could be more likely to keep it.

Without the details of your unique case, it’s impossible to determine the exact outcome of the divorce. A one-on-one attorney consultation may provide more clarity on this crucial matter.

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