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Vandervort v. Vandervort

134 P.3d 892 (Okla. App. 2005)

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Vandervort v. Vandervort

Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma

134 P.3d 892 (Okla. App. 2005)

Facts

Patricia Vandervort (defendant) suffered from multiple sclerosis. Patricia and her husband Roger Vandervort (plaintiff) faced a difficult decision regarding how to protect their marital assets in light of Patricia’s declining health. Roger and Patricia agreed to file for divorce based on incompatibility. Roger and Patricia believed that if Patricia had no assets, she could begin receiving Social Security disability income, and Medicaid would cover her future nursing-home care. Roger assured Patricia that he would continue to be her caregiver until her health necessitated nursing-home care. Roger presented an uncontested divorce petition to the court, complete with a waiver signed by Patricia. The court granted Roger and Patricia a divorce on the basis of incompatibility. Shortly afterward, Patricia sued to vacate the judgment of divorce. In her complaint, Patricia alleged that Roger stopped serving as her caregiver soon after the divorce was granted, forcing her to move in with her parents. Roger contended that Patricia voluntarily left. The trial judge vacated the judgment of divorce, finding that the divorce was a sham because Roger and Patricia colluded to obtain a divorce on the basis of incompatibility. Roger appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Reif, J.)

Dissent (Gabbard, J.)

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