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Health care costs force some to choose strategic divorce

While most divorcing couples have reached a point in their relationship where they can no longer see eye-to-eye and are ready to go their separate ways, that is not always the dynamic at play. There are couples in Colorado and across the nation that choose divorce as a last-ditch financial option, and who love each other dearly. While most people would agree that divorce should never be a choice made to solve financial strife, that is the case for some couples that are desperately in need of long-term residential care.

The cost of residential care is astounding, and many couples are simply unable to shoulder that financial burden on their own. Medicaid can help, but in order to qualify, couples must have relatively little in the way of assets. For those who have worked hard to purchase their home and set aside savings for retirement, the thought of losing those assets to qualify for Medicaid coverage is hard to stomach.

A solution lies in a strategic divorce, one that is sought only for financial purposes, and not to alter or end the relationship between spouses. By taking this approach, a property division settlement can be crafted that leaves one spouse with the majority of marital assets, while the other will have very few resources "on paper" once the divorce is made final. That will help the ailing spouse qualify for Medicaid coverage, which can help secure residential care.

This is never the preferred approach, especially for couples that have been happily married for many years, and who thought that divorce would never be an issue they would face. However, there are cases in which filing for a strategic divorce is the best possible financial move that a couple can make. For those in Colorado who are considering their options, meeting with a family law attorney can provide insight into the pros and cons of this approach.

Source:, "Medicaid expansion possibly reduced 'medical divorces,' KU economists find", George Diepenbrock, Feb. 15, 2017

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