A retired South Florida politician who filed for divorce this past March from his wife of four years found himself faced with an unexpected situation. The following day, his wife took steps to get herself named as his guardian, claiming that her husband might have early-onset dementia. She asked to take over control of his care and his assets, including a monthly government pension of $12,000 and Social Security benefits.

The 71-year-old man used to be the Broward Clerk of Court. When he retired from the position last year, he helped his wife in her successful run to take over the job.

The 59-year-old woman had previously worked in his office, but had no political experience. She said at her swearing-in ceremony a year ago that her husband’s name “helped carry me to where I need to be today.” She is now making eight times the amount she made when she was a clerical worker at the time the two met.

The man’s lawyers claim that his wife filed the petition for guardianship in order to postpone the divorce. A committee of examiners looked at her petition and voted unanimously to dismiss it. That was a relief to the former Clerk of Court, who said, “I always felt all along that I was competent. I’m glad my examination proved it.”

The couple’s divorce is still pending.

While most divorces don’t take this kind of ugly turn, you can never know what to expect. A good prenuptial agreement and careful estate planning can help reduce the chances of the unexpected, particularly if you’re marrying later in life and/or are bringing significant assets into the marriage. Whether you’ve taken these preemptive measures or not, an experienced Florida family law attorney can help you navigate your divorce and seek the best possible outcome.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Politician loses fight to get guardianship over her husband and his money,” Megan O’Matz, Dec. 19, 2017