After 30 years of marriage Vivian Pitts Dowers, age 75, was having a hard time coping with the death of her husband, David Dowers, age 65, a man she had loved for years during their childless marriage. When she finally got around to going through his things she was shocked to discover divorce documents which showed that her husband had divorced her, eight years earlier!
The divorce order from the Manhattan Supreme Court was granted to Mr. Dowers based on his allegation that she had abandoned him due to financial difficulties. He also lied to the court by providing the Judge with a fake address for Ms. Dowers and swore he had served her with the divorce documents at her new residence. The truth was that they had lived together all along in their New York apartment, never having even separated.
Mr. Dowers fraud was devastating to her as it meant that she could not receive any inheritance or benefits from his death.
His survivng heirs, his children from an earlier relationship, were not at all sympathetic, as they fought to deny their step-mother her rightful entitlements and deprive her of a $44,000 life insurance payout and monthly pension income from his long tenure as a janitor at Columbia University.
Happily for Ms. Dowers a New York legal aid lawyer persuaded a judge that her husband’s tale of abandonment was false, the divorce order was nullified, and she got her money. So sorry for his kids…
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang