Articles Posted in Health

Spousal Refusal
In the context of healthcare and elder law, “spousal refusal” occurs when a healthy spouse (in this case referred to as the “community spouse”) refuses to pay for the healthcare expenses incurred by their unwell spouse. Generally, married spouses are obliged to financially contribute to the healthcare costs of their spouses, including nursing home costs.A spouse facing spousal refusal may fill out a form with Medicaid stating their spouse is refusing to contribute. Medicaid will then seek contribution or reimbursement from the “community spouse.”

In response to the often tight finances of the elderly, the federal government passed the Spousal Refusal law, which protects the community spouse from extraordinarily burdensome expenses, which may severely endanger the community spouse’s finances. In such cases, this law allows the ill spouse Medicaid access, and permits Medicaid to later seek reimbursement from the community spouse’s estate after his or her death. This methodology has generally been quite effective for couples facing significant healthcare costs in that it protects the couple’s assets, provides for the ill spouse, and gives reimbursement to Medicaid.

Dangerous Legislation
Currently pending in Florida’s House and Senate are two bills (HB 1323 and SB 1748) which would force the ill spouse to “cooperate” with Medicaid in seeking reimbursement from the refusing spouse. If the ill spouse is incapable of cooperating due to the nature of their illness, the ill spouse’s agent would be required to cooperate against the community spouse. Cooperation, although not yet defined, may include filing documents or testifying alongside Medicaid against the community spouse.

Certain amendments are being proposed by elder advocate associations such as the AARP and the Florida Department of Children and Families, which are attempting to move the focus off of mandated cooperation by striking sections and shifting the focus to targeting higher income individuals who are abusing the concept of Spousal Refusal. The purpose of the legislation should not be to make certain elders indigent, but rather to ensure that ineligible individuals cannot hide assets.

Without such amendments, the proposed legislation could have serious implications for elderly married couples. People who have been married for decades could begin considering divorce to separate property so that the ill spouse can continue to receive their much needed Medicaid, and the community spouse can pay family bills. Further, oftentimes when an elderly individual becomes too ill to oversee their affairs they appoint a child. If agents of ill individuals are legally forced to cooperate in seeking contribution from the community spouse, you will see houses divided and individuals compelled to speak against their parent or grandparent’s financial interest.
Continue reading ›

A recent study from the University of Toronto found the children of divorced parents had twice the odds of having a stroke than people of the same age whose parents remained married. The link does not appear to have a correlation with adult health behaviors, adult socioeconomic status, mental health problems or diabetes. Researchers did not investigate diet, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, family history of a stroke or childhood socioeconomic status. While the research team at the University of Toronto believe that a couple’s divorce will cause their child to have a stroke, they do want to analyze a larger representative community.

After your Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer has finished your case, you will settle into a new home, organize the time-sharing, parenting plan and child custody aspects of your Florida divorce case and restructure your finances. This can be a trying time for your health and well-being. Researchers have found that 20% of divorced people have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, than those who are married. While the transition to marriage brings an immediate health benefit, if that marriage fails your health can be damaged if you do not take care of yourself.

A divorce in Broward can be very tough on you and your children. It can be very easy to neglect your health and allow it to slide when you and your spouse are fighting about child support and alimony. However, there are many ways to fortify your health during this difficult period of time so that you come out of your divorce feeling stronger and healthier.

It is important to reduce conflict during your Florida divorce. The greater the conflict in your divorce, the greater the chance of physical or mental health problems. Even if your Ft. Lauderdale divorce lawyer does not win all of the aspects of your case for you, it is important to try to enter into a marital settlement agreement as soon as possible so that your children will not be exposed to conflict. Research has shown that children exposed to conflict experience more behavioral and emotional problems.

When you hire a Broward divorce attorney, you will be told that a divorce can be an extremely painful process both financially and emotionally. You and your spouse will have to resolve child custody matters such as time-sharing and a parenting plan, alimony, child support and equitable distribution of your marital assets. At times throughout this process, you will have to navigate through the emotional pain of a divorce.

You and your spouse will eventually have to come to terms with the fact that the entry of your divorce decree by the Fort Lauderdale marital and family law judge will be the death of a deep personal relationship. During your divorce, surround yourself with family and friends. Do not be afraid or scared to ask them for help. You should talk with them about your feelings.

Do not forget to take good care of yourself. You should eat healthy, exercise and consider getting a massage. Remind yourself of your positive attributes. Block away negative thoughts about your divorce. Finally, after your divorce in Ft. Lauderdale has concluded, explore ways to redefine yourself.

Posted in:
Published on:

When you meet with your divorce attorney in Fort Lauderdale, you are at a time period in your life that is unpleasant and stressful at home with your spouse. Your Broward County divorce lawyer will explain to you Florida marital and family law related to custody, time-sharing, a parenting plan and alimony. However, it is important that you remember that the stress of your divorce can effect your emotional and mental health. You should always remember how important it is to feel good before, during and after your Florida divorce.

Getting a divorce has long-term negative consequences for your health. While evidence suggests that a recent divorce is associated with an increase in poor health and depression in the short term, it also can effect your health years and decades later.

Individuals who are divorced are 20% more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, cancer or another chronic condition and 23% more likely to have mobility problems such as difficulty climbing stairs or walking short distances. In addition, those individuals who were divorced but then remarried still had 12% more chronic health conditions and 19% more mobility problems than married people who never experienced a divorce

If you are a middle aged person who resides in Broward County, get divorced and live alone, you triple your chances of developing Alzheimer’s. If you have traditionally always lived by yourself, you have double the Alzheimer’s risk as somebody who is married in Florida.

There is a very strong correlation between this social factor and developing dementia. Staying physically, intellectually and socially active reduces Alzheimer’s risk. However, recent studies show that living with a spouse or partner lowers the likelihood that you will contract dementia.

Widows and widowers are at the greatest risk of Alzheimer’s. When you loose your spouse or partner before middle age and the live alone, your chances of getting Alzheimer’s is six times greater, compared to people who are married.