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Does a brain injury increase divorce odds?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Division of Property

Although there is some debate about the exact statistics, depending on the study you use, it has been found that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can increase the odds of divorce. It’s more likely for injury survivors to end up divorced in the future when compared to their injury-free peers in the same age bracket.

Certainly, this does not mean that a TBI guarantees divorce. Many people stay together after an injury, and some studies have even found that divorce odds do not go up for severe injuries – indicating that a spouse may be willing to act as a caretaker. But, for many people, the odds of divorce do increase after a TBI, so why does this happen?

Married to a stranger

One potential reason is that a traumatic brain injury can change someone’s personality. Someone who used to be lighthearted and fun may become angry and aggressive. Someone who used to be smart and inquisitive may have trouble making even the simplest cognitive connections.

Often, a spouse will say that they are married to a stranger or that they don’t even feel like they’re married anymore. The other person has fundamentally changed into an individual that their spouse doesn’t even recognize.

The financial burden

Additionally, brain injuries can lead to serious financial complications. Emergency medical care may be necessary. Someone may need long-term care and assistance. They may have to be on medication or go to rehab. All of this can put a lot of financial strain on the couple when, prior to the injury, they had no trouble making ends meet.

The legal process

It can be complicated to divide custody of your children, split up marital assets and much more. If you’re going through a divorce, especially if it’s complex because you’ve suffered from a TBI, it’s crucial that you know what legal steps to take.