Is a divorce or legal separation the better alternative for a mother with Alzheimer’s andwhose husband who has abandoned her?

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Is a divorce or legal separation the better alternative for a mother with Alzheimer’s andwhose husband who has abandoned her?

My mother is in a memory care facility with advanced Alzheimer’s. Her second husband has chosen to not be around her because of the disease. He lives in a different state. They have a prenup so estate is not a problem, and have always kept their finances separate. However, I want to relieve my mother of any financial obligation to this man. He is elderly and has several health issues that I do not want my mother to have to pay for. Is a divorce necessary, or is a legal separation adequate to protect her. I have POA and have been making her financial decisions for several years.

Asked on August 2, 2010 under Family Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation.  Arizona absolutely recognizes legal separation as long as residency requirements are met.  And in general a legal separation spells out the rights and obligations of the parties as between them because it is a contract.  However, because of your Mother's mental capacity (or lack of mental capacity) which is necessary to enter in to a legally binding contract (meeting of the minds), I would hesitate to tell you to that a POA is sufficient to bind her in this instance.  Even though it might be I would go the route of having yourself appointed as her conservator and guardian at this stage and then enter in to the separation or institute divorce proceedings.  Seek legal help with all of this in your area.  Good luck.


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