Mount Vernon, NY asked in Divorce for New York

Q: My sister is disabled due to MS...her husband is divorcing her after 30 plus years , calling it a Medicaid divorce. Her

Only income is her disability payment. She has no extra income for a lawyer. Her husband has a large amount of debt and their home is in both names. Probono possible?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Robert B. Pollack
Robert B. Pollack
  • Jericho, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: What is sometimes referred to as a "Medicaid divorce" from experience, this may involve certain less than ethical maneuvers that your sister may need to be concerned about and I will not advise or comment about. Your sister needs help and advice for sure. The need for an attorney is clear; she is in a long term marriage. Her income is fixed and limited. Her ability to become self supporting is unlikely and that would impact any disability payment she is receiving. Although you indicate that the marriage has significant debt, you do not indicate if her husband is employed or capable of supporting himself and her, the existence of debt notwithstanding. Also, just because someone has debt it does not necessarily mean they are totally without assets, meaning, the ability to afford to retain counsel for your sister which if not paid voluntarily could be ordered by the court upon your sister's application for counsel fees. I would advise your sister to tread carefully here and get counsel asap. It is not easy to find a pro bono divorce attorney. I would suggest that she contact the following to see if they can assist her: The Volunteers Lawyer Project (Hempstead); 516-292-8229 and the Pro Bono Project (Islandia); 631-232-2400.

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