I am disabled and my wife has become my only caregiver with power of attorney. She wants a divorce, but can she just walk out on me without notice since she is my only caregiver?
While the result of a divorce on your situation depends on many factors and the rules in your jurisdiction, I can give you some general guidelines about the law and what may be involved.
First, note that a divorce action can only protect you in so many ways, primarily with respect to financial support and property division. If your wife wanted to walk out on you even though she is your only caregiver, no court could order her to take care of you. You will have to address your care in other ways, including redoing your power of attorney designation.
One way the court can protect your rights is that you can receive financial support in the form of alimony or spousal support. There are no mandated guidelines for the calculation of support; such as award is within the discretion of the court.
Your state likely has a statutory list of factors to consider in awarding support, including the length of your marriage, your age and health, the standard of living you enjoyed together, if you need support to meet your reasonable needs, and whether she can afford to pay support.
The other way the court can protect your rights in divorce is through the property division. North Carolina is a state that recognizes equitable distribution of property, which is usually 50/50 but not always the case
Most judges in this state favor awarding each party fifty percent of the marital property, unless certain factors make a good case for an unequal distribution. Unequal distributions come in all percentages, from 51.2% / 48.8 % to 95% / 5%, for example. The standard court case, however, results in an even 50/50 split of the property.
Cordell & Cordell has men's divorce lawyers located nationwide.
Trisha B. Festerling is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices family law exclusively. Ms. Festerling’s practice is focused on men’s divorce, child support, child custody, paternity and modification. She is licensed in the state of Wisconsin. Ms. Festerling received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a focus on Political Science, Magna cum Laude, from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She received her Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia.