An elderly relative has advanced dementia and the spouse (of 3 years) wants to “send him back” to the family and discontinue to care for him.

What are the legal ramifications with respect to Social Security, Pension, IRA payments in the name of the “abandoned” spouse? Is this considered divorce? State is Florida.

Asked on May 26, 2009 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Abandonment is not considered divorce; it could be a reason for divorce.  If the gentleman has advanced dementia, I am assuming the ss, the pension, etc., were named with beneficiary being the new wife before he became incompetent or too sick to care for himself? In terms of an abandoned spouse, every state is different and how these funds came to be, how long ago, how long she has been married to him (so what percentage would go to her), etc. all need to be reviewed in person with a divorce lawyer in Florida. Doe he have a power of attorney -- who is it? The wife? If so, will be difficult to get anyone else to file for divorce.  You may need to have another family member start from the bottom (making sure to get a proper POA that doesn't include the spouse, and go from there). 


Try www.attorneypages.com and then check his or her record at the Florida State Bar.


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