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I filed for divorce 3 years ago, it is not finished because I put things on hold to focus on my husband who started showing signs of dementia that has affected his ability to care for himself. Three years ago he as diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD). I need input as to whether I should go through with the divorce, but am concerned that his daughter from another marriage will contest the division of assets, and that I would still retain Power of Attorney to make sure he is taken care of. I do not want us to get a divorce and have his daughter contest things, this would be emotionally devastating for me. I have so much going on as I have a 91 mother who is being financially and mentally abused by my sister. Elder Abuse will not do anything because my mother is competent. When I tried to do something about it my sister physically attached me. I am 67 years old. She is 2 years younger.


Please share your wisdom with me I really need help in deciding whether to go through with a divorce. And yes I am worried too because if our assets are divided he will get more than half my retirement (this is why too now I hesitate to get divorced. However, he does not have long term insurance, and so I understand that much of our retirement will go to paying for his care. That will leave me in a bad situation should I need care as I do not have long term insurance either. My husband chose not to work many times during our 35+ year marriage and does not have much of retirement. I hold resentment about this. I've been taking care of him but it is very hard going on like this and I can see it starting to effect my physical and emotional health.


Please someone provide me some guidance, wisdom in making the right decision for me. I say "me" not to be a selfish person, but I've taken care of so many people and I have no one but myself to look after me.

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I SO agree with the OldSailor. You need to see an elder law attorney at once. You may be best to cut your losses and run, as your assets may go to the care of someone you don't love for a long time now. Get all of both your financial things together and get to an attorney at once. This is about protecting the rest of your life at this time. The daughter who would like to get all her Dad's assets certainly can take care of him for the rest of his life as well. Sounds she will do well with "power" of anything. Get thee to a lawyer. Forthwith.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Hurry...go through with the divorce. Go while the going is good. I have a similiar situation, did not go through with the divorce and now am stuck....going through my savings (he never had savings and only occured lots of debt) I have many friends who are in similiar situations. The smart ones leave.
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Reply to marydl
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You are in California, this makes a tremendous difference as it is a community property state. Rather than a elder attorney, I would go back to your divorce attorney for guidance. While I stayed with my husband in Hospice, his wonderful children broke into our house, stole our safe, art off the walls, furniture and his car. He died, and I spent 4 years in court getting this resolved, long story shortened,, I prevailed, cost me 10K in legal fees tho, having done much of the work myself.
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Reply to DollyMe
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AlvaDeer Jul 29, 2019
Listen to DollyMe. She deals with estate planning issues, as well, and is REALLY smart. I think this whole point about the cost in legal fees is so important. I know a man who fought for years, grueling work including getting social media records (you can't imagine) doing a defamation of character suit. He won. But the 100,000 granted him in settlement by the bad actor's insurance company was cut by 50,000 in his own fees to his lawyers, and the amount of work was grueling.
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There are pros and cons to each side, on various fronts. Very complicated. I agree with getting some professional assistance on this. It's going to be a challenge either way and once you have good info, you will have a tough choice to make.

Weigh your options, make the best choice you can and then don't look back. There will be people who tell you you made the wrong decision, no matter what you do. Don't let that keep you from doing what is right for this situation and for you.

Good luck.
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Reply to againx100
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I would contact a certified elder care attorney. Explain everything to him. My wife had FTD and a few things associated with it. I cared for her t home for three years. We had no financial difficulties.
I will add that my sister had ALS for several years and remained married until the death of her husband. She and he agreed to put her into a home that cared for people with similar conditions.
Their lawyer suggested what was called a financial separation and to apply for financial assistance to pay for her care.
Fortunately, for them at least, ALS is one of the terminal diseases listed by social security. And she was able to get the care she needed and BIL lost almost nothing. He was restricted on vehicle ownership and had to sell the sons car as BIL was co-signer on the loan.
I will mention that this was in the state of Illinois. so it is important to contact a Certified Eldercare Lawyer. Be wary of lawyers that say they practice elder law without the certification.
I wish you the best of luck in this journey.
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Reply to OldSailor
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If I were your stepdaughter I would already have hired a lawyer for your husband. Has she done so?

I'm sorry, having typed that I now realise how hostile it must sound to you, but honestly that isn't what I meant.

What I am getting at is that yours is a highly complex, sensitive situation where your and your husband's interests are *necessarily* going to be opposed - there is no blame, but resources are limited and have to be managed between the two of you.

Among your concerns about your stepdaughter: to put it crudely, are you worried that she will cheerfully pocket your husband's share of the assets and then neglect his care?

I do not know this for certain, but I would be surprised if you could retain Power of Attorney for your husband AND divorce him. The conflict of interest would be so manifest I can't imagine any kind of family court allowing that arrangement to stand.

If you and your husband are to avoid throwing your limited joint budget away on stressful, lengthy legal battles, you need advice from an elder attorney who can recommend how best to come to an agreement that ensures support for both of you. Again I don't know, but given your husband's dementia he is a vulnerable adult and surely MUST have his own representation, so be prepared for that.

So - get specialist legal advice, and choose your advisor carefully. You want a problem solver, not a pitbull.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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There is a thread here on AgingCare.com about dementia & a member named EllerySir discussed his wife Christy's case of FTD in detail. Here is a link to that thread: It's called "I Have A Lot Of Questions About My Wife's Conduct & If Its Related to Dementia or Is a Mental Disorder"

https://www.agingcare.com/questions/i-have-a-lot-of-questions-about-my-wifes-conduct-and-if-it-is-related-to-dementia-or-is-a-mental-dis-450602.htm

Be sure to find his post/comment specifically, which includes a link that discusses the disease. I know you're asking about assets and finances/divorce, but part of your decision making process should take into account what you are likely going to be facing with FTD in your husband. It's tough stuff, to say the least.

Wishing you all the best of luck.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Can a daughter contest her father's divorce? You hear of children contesting wills but not divorces. Even if she tried to get involved because of his dementia, there are laws that regulate marriage dissolution in your state that she can't cause to be overridden. Divorces are private business between the parties and attorneys as far as I know. You wanted the divorce years ago and his medical bills could go on for years so go ahead with it, talking to good attorneys and other relevant people first. Sorry you're going through this--hope it ends quickly and as well as possible for you.
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Reply to Davina
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I agree with Martel. Continue with divorce quickly! I live in Wisconsin, also a community property state. My husband went into a care center as a result of a driver who was texting and hit his car leaving him with a brain injury. I will lose everything I have because of this. Best to save whatever you can for you! If you decide not to divorce, at least look into a marital property agreement if California allows that. I regret not getting a divorce!
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Reply to Kittykat1
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Such a complex issue requires very careful planning. We often hear of the idealogy that one shouldn't make major decisions while under high stress.
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