Divorce/Separation for one spouse that is disabled

My brother has been diagnosed with Parkinsons that has advanced quickly. His wife of 11 years has asked me to “pick him up” she doesn’t want to be married any more. I did. He has been on short term disability and now long term disability from work waiting for permanent disability to kick in. Neither one can afford to stay in the marital home but my sister-in law is saying she is intitaled to half his pension (which was in-place before the marriage) and his disability earnings when they kick in. Is there any laws protecting a disabled person’s income so they can save for care down the road?

His wife would be entitled to half of the marital value of his pension. The marital value is any portion of the pension that was acquired during the marriage. If he acquired the pension before the date of marriage and had stopped working for that employer before the date of marriage, then the pension is his separate property to which his wife is not entitled.

His disability pay can be considered for alimony purposes. For his wife to receive alimony, she must be the dependent spouse, he must be the supporting spouse, and she must not have committed any acts of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage.

There are no laws protecting disability income to save for future care.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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