Sue Ellingham
Posted on 16 Oct 2020

Divorce or separation after a serious accident

The breakdown of a relationship is invariably difficult, often for both parties. There are many issues to be resolved which involve looking back over the past life and planning for the future. One of the most difficult situations is where the separation occurs after one of the parties (and occasionally both) has suffered serious, often life changing, injuries in an accident or other incident. Such cases require a particularly sensitive approach from family lawyers.

Alteration in the dynamics of a relationship

A mutually successful relationship enjoyed by both parties can, in some circumstances, change in an instant. One party might, for example, be seriously injured in a road accident or an injury in the workplace. One of the parties might receive life changing injuries in an incident in or outside a nightclub or a random street attack, such as the terrorist attacks on Westminster Bridge. There might be an incident whilst undertaking a leisure activity, such as climbing or playing sport.

Whatever the cause, whether it results in physical or emotional harm, there can be a change in the nature of the relationship between a previously happy couple which can result in a separation. Research shows that up to 50% of relationships breakdown where one of the parties suffers a severe head injury. If the separation is permanent then it is likely that there will have to be an adjustment to the previously existing domestic arrangements, such as financial, arrangements relating to any children and in many other respects.

Issues that often need resolution in such cases

Divorce and separation can be a complicated and emotionally draining experience. This is particularly so if one of the parties has a disability resulting in long term consequences, either physical or emotional and sometimes both. But if you have a substantial personal injury award to pay for your specific future care needs, then it can be especially difficult.

As one of the leading family law firms, we have experience in dealing with situations such as this. We will always proceed looking for fair solutions rather than adopting from the outset an aggressive and contentious approach.

  • If one of the parties has received compensation as a result of the incident causing the injuries, the question of how those funds will be dealt with following the separation will have to be considered
  • If one of the parties was acting as a carer for the injured, how future care is to be provided and afforded will be an issue
  • The arrangements for the children will need to be resolved. This can be a difficult area if one of the parties has a serious disability
  • The occupation of the former family home is often a delicate matter, particularly if one party has a serious disability
  • If the injured party is not able to work, the future support of that party will be a consideration.

If you or anyone you know, are affected by the issues raised above and would like more information or some preliminary, confidential advice, please contact one of our experienced experts in our family team by e-mail or telephone Exeter +44 (0)1392 688688 Sidmouth +44 (0)1395 512515.