Divorcing a Spouse Who Has Dementia in Virginia
If you're facing a divorce case that involves dementia, you should speak with a Virginia Beach divorce attorney. There are many legal and ethical issues to consider, and you should have enough information to make an informed decision. Divorcing someone who suffers from a degenerative cognitive illness like dementia can be fraught with many difficult emotions, as well as social judgment.
Overview of Dementia
Dementia is a progressive loss of cognitive function. This means that the sufferer loses important mental abilities, like memory, speech and the ability to show appropriate emotions. Dementia is a non-specific condition, meaning that it's not a disease in and of itself but rather a condition that can be caused by certain diseases. Dementia can be caused by health problems like Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease and several others.
Dementia is progressive. This means that it gets worse over time. It can begin with minor forgetfulness or mood swings and end with the person not being able to recognize loved ones. The time it takes for dementia to get to that point varies.
The serious illness of a spouse is a devastating experience that can change both people in the marriage and transform the marriage in many ways. This is especially true of an illness that affects the sufferer's mental capacity or cognition. In essence, the individual is no longer who he or she was before the condition; this makes the maintenance of a relationship very difficult.
Dementia and Divorce
Patients with dementia may view their spouses as intruders or strangers, and they may even begin new romantic relationships because they can't remember they are married. The relationship goes from a marriage to a caregiver/patient bond. This often leaves healthy spouses feeling that the marriage is irreparably broken, so they contact a Virginia Beach divorce attorney.
The decision to divorce someone with dementia is often a very painful one, but as with any divorce case, only the parties involved know the condition of their relationship and why they are making the choice to end their relationship. If one partner cannot be mentally present in the relationship, the other partner usually feels extremely lonely and may want to be able to move on.
When divorcing a spouse with dementia, the ill spouse needs to have a legal representative on his or her side to make sure their rights are protected. Just because the marriage is over doesn't mean that the spouse of the patient abandons the patient and ceases to care about his or her needs.
Contacting a Virginia Beach Divorce Attorney
The Virginia divorce attorneys at Hofheimer Family Law Firm are committed to fighting for your rights, assisting in child custody disputes, and advocating that you receive everything you are entitled to and need in order to start your new life. Call 1-757-425-5200 for more information.