If a spouse gets a divorce, can they still retain a power of attorney and guardianship over the other spouse?

UPDATED: Jul 23, 2010

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If a spouse gets a divorce, can they still retain a power of attorney and guardianship over the other spouse?

My friend’s wife is confined to a nursing home due to a brain injury from a car accident a few years ago. He has POA and guardianship of her. He wants a divorce from her. No one in her family will take the responsibility of POA and guardianship. They have been living apart for about 5 years. How can he get the divorce? Is it possible for him to retain POA and guardianship of his now wife after the divorce; he still only wants the best of everything for her.

Asked on July 23, 2010 under Family Law, Arkansas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your friend's circumstances. He would be best served to seek help from an attorney in his area for help with these very delicate matters.  Your friend did not automatically receive the responsibilities of POA and guardian over his wife.  He applied to the court for them and they were granted. Although the court may have considered their martial status in deciding his appointment and even if it was given great weight, it was not given for only that reason.  If no one else will take responsibility for his wife in the event that they divorce and he still wants to maintain that status, I am sure that the court will look favorably on his remaining in those positions absent making her a ward of the state. 

Although I am sure that he obtain a divorce from her I believe that the circumstances warrant special treatment and that an attorney in his area that specializes in matrimonial law would best be able to answer this question.  Good luck.

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