Dancing After Divorce
As if anyone really needed another reminder that posting compromising photos and comments on the Internet can lead to big trouble in a marriage or a divorce, reports in the news now detail the account of New York’s 43-year-old Dorothy McGurk who had claimed she was disabled but has now been partially stripped of her divorce settlement award after her ex-husband spotted online pictures of her performing belly dancing.
Staten Island divorcee Dorothy McGurk, who said she was unable to work because of injuries from a 1997 car accident, was being paid $850 a month in spousal maintenance awards for life from her prior marriage to Brian McGurk. After finding images on an online blog of his 43-year-old ex-wife gyrating while belly-dancing, Brian McGurk took her back to court.
Mrs. McGurk claimed it was not possible for her to perform belly dancing and that surgery had left her with rods and screws supporting her spine after a serious car accident that she claimed left her disabled. Her original divorce settlement award was based on the claim that the car accident left her unable to work. Even though she had been found posting online about how she enjoyed dancing vigorously for several hours every day, Mrs. McGurk claimed she only performed daily gentle exercises while lying down to “alleviate pain, build muscle and lose weight.”
Brian McGurk then appealed the original spousal maintenance award payments before Judge Catherine DiDomenico who discounted the disability claim and reduced the lifetime alimony payments by over 50% to $400 per month, with an ending date in just two years. Mrs. McGurk was also ordered to move out of the couple’s joint home and pay $5,000 toward her ex-husbands attorney’s fees. The judge also awarded Mr. McGurk 60% of the value of the home when sold.
Reports now indicate Dorothy McGurk will appeal the ruling in the case. She was quoted as saying the only time she ever came close to belly dancing was during a performance where she had a speaking role, despite her prior contradictory claims in court that a doctor had once actually prescribed the belly dancing treatment for her back problems. Accusing her husband of lying, she said her husband had “turned gentle physical therapy into a full-grown lie,” and that “He just doesn’t want to pay me.” Odds are pretty good that the Mrs. McGurk will lose the appeal on this one.