Posted on 3.1.19
Nicola McInnes has spoken to Femail, Daily Mail, about the rise of dementia divorces and the dilemmas this disease brings.
Family lawyer Nicola spoke to married individuals who’ve struggled with their spouse’s degenerative brain disorder and discusses the challenging reality of living with a spouse who has been diagnosed with dementia who are now torn over ending their marriage due to their spouse’s health.
Recent figures show that the number of people in the UK suffering from the disease will double over the next 40 years: currently, the degenerative brain disorder affects about 700,000 Britons. As the population ages, the figure will rise to a catastrophic 1.5 million.
But aside from negotiating the practicalities of living with a partner whose once crystal- clear mind has brutally unravelled, there’s an often unspoken heartache to this terrible disease. It’s one which, Nicola says, I am seeing with increasing regularity. And that is the number of spousal carers desperate to escape their marriage and file for divorce.
Nicola said ‘Even after working as a family lawyer for more than 30 years, I find it utterly heart-breaking. In cases of spousal Alzheimer’s, plans for the future are supplanted by wistful memories of past intimacy, friendship and companionship. The physical presence is there but the loneliness is crushing.’
With the number of over-60s divorces increasing by over a third in the past ten years, it’s quite likely that spousal ill health is partly responsible.
Of course, divorce is a huge step — sweeping with it feelings of enormous guilt and loss. Then there are the children. Nicola has seen clients whose children, already suffering their own emotional turmoil, have been horrified that the parent carer would even consider abandoning their mother or father.
Perhaps they have spoken to friends or family. Or perhaps they couldn’t silence their conscience. What happened, they tell themselves, to that vow: ‘In sickness and in health?’
‘As a divorce lawyer, it is not for me to make a judgment call — I’m there to explain the options. But never to encourage a course of action’ Nicola said.
You can read the full article here.