Because We Live In A Sad, Bleak World
Without the right connections or a lucky break, it’s hard to get ahead in life. Sometimes working full-time, or even multiple jobs, and maintaining health insurance isn’t enough to financially prepare for a medical emergency. With some medical conditions, finding a way to pay for treatment could become a matter of life and death. Some couples may find themselves in a situation where it is easier to afford medical treatment if they divorce rather than stay married. In fact, filing for divorce may allow an afflicted spouse to qualify for Medicaid/Medicare. Arizona couples considering family law intervention to afford medical treatment should consult with experienced family lawyers. If you’d like to start your search that is staffed by experienced, reputable attorneys and offers our initial consultations free of charge, call AZ Family Law Lawyers to get started at 480-448-9800.
Qualifying For Medicaid
Sometimes medical expenses are unaffordable because the patient doesn’t have health insurance. Other times, the patient will have health insurance, but it won’t be sufficient to cover the costs of a more serious medical event. And in what might be the most frustrating situation of all, sometimes a patient has medical insurance but the insurance company will refuse to provide a treatment that could greatly increase the patient’s quality of life, or even save it. In any of these situations, qualifying for Medicaid could make paying for medical treatment more achievable for a family in dire financial straits. But qualifying for this can be much easier as an unmarried individual (and possibly a single parent) rather than a married couple. That’s why some spouses consider filing for divorce when one of them is diagnosed with a serious medical condition. It reduces the household size and possibly the household income, which can make the afflicted spouse eligible for health care assistance.
In Arizona, someone must meet a number of requirements to qualify for Medicaid. They must be an Arizona resident with the proper legal documentation to be here. They must need health care assistance and be categorized as low-income or very low-income. The applicant must also be pregnant, have a household member 17 or younger, or have a disability or a household member with a disability. Disabilities can be temporary- for example, someone with cancer may have a temporary disability for health care assistance purposes.
The annual income limits for Medicaid in Arizona are as follows:
- Household of 1: $18,075
- Household of 2: $24,353
- Household of 3: $30,630
- Household of 4: $36,908
- Household of 5: $43,186
- Household of 6: $49,463
- Household of 7: $55,741
- Household of 8: $62,018
Community Spouse Resource Allowance
The Community Spouse Resource Allowance, or CSRA, is meant to prevent non-applicant spouses of Medicaid recipients from falling into poverty. Each state has its own standards regarding non-applicant income and asset limits for Medicaid purposes. The CSRA allowances for each state range from $27,480 to $137,400. The non-applicant spouse can also protect assets using the Minimum Monthly Needs Maintenance Allowance. The non-applicant spouse can transfer assets to the applicant spouse without repercussions based on the results of these calculations. Depending on the spouse’s finances, this may be a workaround to filing for divorce to qualify for Medicaid.
Community Property Medical Debt
Another concern for a family facing a medical emergency is the potential debt. Arizona codifies community property in A.R.S. § 25-211. All assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered community property, which means the spouses have equal rights and responsibilities to them. Anything acquired before the marriage is that spouse’s separate property. Anything acquired after a divorce, legal separation, or annulment is also separate property. Additionally, property acquired during the marriage by devise or descent (inheritance) is considered separate property in Arizona.
When one spouse develops a chronic or long-lasting medical condition, the whole family can assume that treatment will probably be expensive. That means that if one spouse accrues significant medical debt for their treatment, the other spouse will be held equally liable for it. For serious conditions, this could be several thousands of dollars. For some families, this could be another unfortunate but serious consideration about legal decisions during a medical condition. To learn more about medical debt and community property in Arizona, call our firm for your free consultation at 480-448-9800.
Default Divorce For Amicable Situations
If two spouses are divorcing due to medical issues, and especially if they have minor children, they probably want to keep the situation as civil as possible. Sometimes the simplest way to get divorced is by not responding to a divorce petition at all. When this happens, the petitioner can ask the court to finalize the divorce through the default process. This generally means that the petitioner will be granted everything requested in the divorce petition. When the spouses are divorcing amicably and the respondent agrees with all of the terms in the petition, purposely proceeding by default can be an option. But regardless of the petitioner’s intentions, the respondent should always carefully review a divorce petition before knowingly failing to respond to its contents. For your free consultation with an experienced Arizona divorce lawyer, call 480-448-9800 to get scheduled today.
What If We Are In The Opposite Situation – We Want To Split But Need To Maintain Health Insurance Coverage For At Least One Spouse
It’s an unfortunate situation, but we’ve seen it before- two spouses are already on the verge of divorce when one of them gets a bad call from the doctor. Some see it as a sign to jump ship, while others hold fast to the “in sickness” portion of their wedding vows. And sometimes, a breakup would be mentally healthier for everyone, but it’s crucial to keep health insurance coverage for the sick spouse. Here, the spouses may want to consider a legal separation. In a legal separation, issues like property division, child custody, and child support are decided. The couple is legally separate but still married, so they can still file taxes jointly. Most crucially here, they can remain on each other’s health insurance policy. The drawback is that neither spouse can remarry until they proceed with a legal dissolution of marriage. Another issue is that the sick spouse could still accrue significant medical debts that could still be considered community property in Arizona. Discuss your options with an Arizona family law attorney by calling 480-448-9800.
Compassionate Arizona Family Lawyers for Difficult Situations
Divorce isn’t always a relief or a situation that everyone else saw a mile coming. Sometimes it isn’t wanted and is being filed due to financial reasons rather than interpersonal reasons. Under these circumstances, careful consideration of all the available options can allow the family to proceed with confidence knowing that they are making the right choice. That type of information can’t always be conveyed in an article over the internet. It often takes real-world input from an experienced attorney to know how a divorce will play out based on the relevant facts and the family’s goals. If you’re looking to explore family law options in the midst of a medical battle, AZ Family Law Lawyers is available for free phone consultations- call 480-448-9800 to schedule your free consultation today.
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (602) 509-0955
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 441-1450
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Office: (623) 399-4222
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