Divorce: While the source of post-injury disharmony is most often financial, there are more insidious problems that arise after injury. And they are less easily resolved.
1. Marriage is a partnership; injury, however, may lead the spouse to seek a new partner. Infidelity is not an uncommon outcome to prolonged co-existence with someone who begins to feel like a sloth. Working all day and coming home to find the home and your mate both unclean is far from enticing.
2. In sickness and in health is an ideal, and that ideal, in some marriages, means that no one has health problems. Managing the physical and emotional needs of an injured worker is akin to having an adult child who spends days nonproductively but demands continual attention, sympathy and indulgences.
3. In-law conflicts, child rearing complexities , and problematic friendships become amplified. Where it took both partners to cope with these challenges, they now fall upon only one.
4. Much of the human condition hinges on dreams of the future; resolution of the past. Neither is readily accomplished while suffering from injury or managing the suffering of one’s mate.
5. A unique problem arises when the complaints of the injured worker are disproportionate to diagnostic findings, and the mate begins to distrust the validity of the complaints.
What was once advocacy turns to suspicion, doubt and impatience. When the spouse leaves, when the divorce occurs, where is the injured worker to go? Without spousal support, how does the injured worker maintain access to health care? If surgery is needed, into whose care is the patient discharged?
The treatment of the marriage and family cannot be assumed under the injury, and yet both quite often determine a patient’s capacity to return to productivity.