EMERGENCY! Emergency divorce possible?

Hello! My name is Janice Howard and I am writing on behalf of my father. My father is currently in the hospital, so I am his second attorney-in-fact. I was wondering if there is a such thing as an emergency divorce. My step-mother is a sever drug addict and her drug and alcohol abuse has taken their marriage hostage. My step-mother (along with our family) knows that POA (power of attorney) is given to my aunt. My father has been receiving money from the VA and the Army to help pay for his cancer treatments. Last week, my father felt ill and asked his wife to take him to the hospital, at which time she refused. It was almost 24 hours before she decided to drop him off at the hospital, and my father had was placed under medical coma due to his heart functioning to 10-15%. He was given a 10% chance of survival. I strongly believe had my step-mother taken him to the hospital when he requested, that his health wouldn’t have declined as bad as it had.
During the time my father was in the ICU, my step-mother defrauded the hospital into believing my father granted HER POA, when in fact, it was my aunt. She placed a code on his hospital room so no one could see him, but i was able to convince her to lift it. When I came home (I live in arlington VA), she wouldn’t come to the hospital. When she finally did, she showed up with her using buddy and preceded to nod out on top of my father, who was on a ventilator (he was unable to breathe on his own). The day after HE WOKE UP. He was very worried about his bank card because he knew that his wife would not pay bills with the money the VA gave him. We checked his account, and sure enough, she withdrew over $800 to use on drugs. I have text messages, voicemails, and even an arrest record that proves her malicious intent regarding the mishandling of my fathers estate.
My step-mother arrived at the hospital, and my father demanded his wallet and his car keys. When he found out about the POA, he stripped her of POA and turned it over to my aunt, and then to myself, in event my aunt cannot act as his agent. She tried to leave with his property and I was able to detain her with the help of hospital security. She claimed his wallet was at home and she was going to pick it up and return to my father at the hospital. When she did not show up, we had the police witness the whole incident, at which time she denied having his wallet. My father is in the worst emotional turmoil. He has clearly stated he wanted a divorce and has asked me to handle this matter on his behalf.
I’ve take the following measures to try to hold my step-mother responsible for the negligence and dishonesty she has exhibited
1. Filed a complaint with DSS-APS division regarding her negligence in taking care of my father.
2. Filed a complaint with Wilmington Police Department regarding the fraudulent ATM withdrawls.
3. Filed a complaint with his local bank regarding the fraudulent ATM withdrawls
these are the actions I intent to take:

  1. File a complaint with WPD regarding the criminal side of the negligence my step- mother exhibited by refusing to help my father seek medical attention
  2. Write the DA or local prosecutor and bring to their attention this matter, in hopes I can get some better guidance or hopefully, support to prosecute this case.
  3. Contact the VA to gather more information regarding if there is any written proof that my step=mother not be granted POA. I was told that if my father was indeed ruled mentally incompetent, there was NO way that my step-mother could be his legal guardian due to her criminal background for selling and possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia and prostitution.
  4. File complaint and bring attention to the local VA regarding this matter to see if they will pursue a federal criminal investigation against my step-mother.
    On my fathers behalf, I have made many attempts to have monica to honor my father’s wishes- return the wallet and its effects and cooperate with my aunt and I so we can move on from this and put this behind us. But she refused. Lastly, in addition to all the evidence I have gathered regarding this matter, I also have proof that my step-mother has been involved with another man. A man my father took in his home because he was under the impression that this man, was in true need. My father found out later, that this man he took in his home is sexually and emotionally involved with his wife.
    I am in DESPERATE fear of my father’s life. A lot of the events seems to point towards malicious intent towards my father for monetary gain. I don’t know what else to do. North Carolina law states a separation period of ONE YEAR, which my father cannot wait for. My step-mother is a very sick women, and with her drug addiction running rampant, she has abused the rights she has as my father’s legal rights, to fuel her addiction, which in turn, almost killed my father. These are the following questions that I have:
    1. is there a quicker method to getting a divorce
    2. is there any methods to keep my father and his property out of her reach?
    3. if i was to attain a lawyer, what can you guys do to help, that i would be unable to do pro se (my father pro se, actually)?
    4. since she meets most of the requirements for an at-fault divorce, will or can she be entitled any of his assets or property?

if ANYBODY can point me in the right direction, please contact me at 202-290-2311 or thelegalspecialist at gmail dot com. my phone is on all hours of the night. I need a lawyer, whether I retain one for representation or retain one to be of-counsel…they will be compensated. THANK YOU!


Hi Janice, thanks for your post. Unfortunately there is no way to obtain an absolute divorce unless you can prove that you have been separated for a full calendar year. That being said, let me provide a few tips. I would have your father draft a will, that way if he passes away she cannot take any of his assets pursuant to our state’s intestacy laws. Along the same lines, if he has appointed her as beneficiary on any accounts or insurance policies, he needs to go ahead and change those beneficiary designations.

If you retain a family law attorney, that person could help you move forward with an action for equitable distribution (division of marital assets/liabilities). You would be able to put on evidence of her wrongdoings and ask for an unequal distribution of assets. You can also seek a protective order over his assets through an interim distribution action. A family law attorney can also handle the absolute divorce once the one year separation period is over.