When Illness or Injury Affects a Marriage

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 04, 2020 | 0 Comments

Many different factors may play into the unraveling of a marriage, not the least of which is the physical health of one or more of the partners. We don't generally like to think of illness or injury as being a deciding factor in divorce; after all, the marriage vows include the phrase, “In sickness and in health.” However, any life-altering or cataclysmic event tends either to bring two people together or to drive them apart—and sometimes both. The onset of significant injury or a serious illness (especially a prolonged one) may definitely qualify as a life-altering event. As a result, it can affect how the two partners relate to one another.

Take, for example, actor/comedian Tracy Jordan and his wife, Megan Wollover, who recently reported that they were filing for divorce after five years of marriage. They were married only 14 months after Jordan had suffered extensive injuries in a collision with a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer, and the actor claims that wedding preparations were a huge factor in his recovery process. While the couple is not discussing the details of their divorce publicly—nor would we care to speculate—Jordan's injuries and subsequent recovery were obviously present in their relationship from the beginning, and the changing dynamic of his recovery may have been a contributing factor in their subsequent split.

How Illness or Injury May Contribute to Divorce

The presence or onset of illness or injury can affect different couples in sometimes surprising ways. Let's look at some common examples of how marriages may unravel due to partner illness/injury:

  • The “Florence Nightingale” effect—the common occurrence where a nurse falls in love with the patient, and vice versa. This effect doesn't have to happen with just healthcare professionals; it can also occur when romantic partners bond around an illness/injury, and one partner assumes the role of caregiver. When the “patient” recovers and caregiving is no longer needed, the romance can wane.
  • The stress surrounding an injury/illness. If the event occurs when the couple is already married, the illness or injury can upstage the relationship and disrupt the home, causing undue stress. Sometimes the non-injured partner stays on for a time out of a sense of guilt, but the pressure is sometimes enough to weaken the marital bond.
  • Changes in personality. The presence of constant pain can alter one's personality over time. So can certain illnesses or injuries that affect parts of the brain. Marriages sometimes dissolve simply because one person feels their partner is no longer the same person they married.

Of course, injury and illness is not always a “deal-breaker” for marriages. In optimal circumstances, crises like these often bring people closer together instead of driving a wedge between them. However, if the health or well-being of you or your spouse is adversely affecting your marriage, know that you are not alone. It happens more often than you think.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are highly experienced in helping families navigate the complicated waters of divorce. If you are considering a divorce in New Jersey and need a compassionate attorney to represent your interests, call our offices at 888-535-3686 for an appointment today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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