Nationally Renowned Divorce Attorney Jeffrey Fisher Discusses The "Dementia" Defense In "Grey" Divorces

Jul 23, 2015, 14:45 ET from Fisher & Bendeck, P.L.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., July 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Jeffrey D. Fisher of Fisher & Bendeck, P.L.,, was prominently featured in a three-part series by Jane Musgrave of the Palm Beach Post regarding whether an elderly man with age-related dementia could obtain a divorce from his wife and thereby escape a multi-million dollar obligation under a prenuptial agreement.   The series culminated with a July 6, 2015 article entitled: "Judge rules Palm Beach man not competent to seek divorce." The series can be found here: (i); (ii); and (iii)

Fisher successfully defeated the divorce action on behalf of the wife, Lois Zelman.  He argued that, while the divorce case was technically filed "in the name" of the 87-year-old husband, the husband's affairs were actually being directed by his children from a previous marriage who had themselves appointed in an earlier proceeding as the husband's "guardians."  Fisher informed the court that, if the husband were allowed to get divorced in his diminished state, it would be contrary to what the husband "truly" wanted because it would mean the children would inherit millions of dollars that the husband, when he was competent, promised to his wife in the prenuptial agreement and an associated trust.  Circuit Court Judge Charles Burton sided with the wife in his final ruling, citing large portions of Fisher's cross examination of the husband. 

Following the conclusion of trial, Fisher stated: "The battle for family wealth is starting earlier and it is moving from probate court to divorce court.  In the old days, the claim of 'undue influence' would arise after death when documents signed by a person with diminished capacity were challenged in court.  The new strategy is to get a court—a divorce court—to disinherit the 'second wife' before the question ever arises in a probate proceeding.  With the rising prevalence of late-in-life "grey divorces," family attorneys now need to learn a new skill, which is to show during cross examination that the person asking for the divorce does not mean what he or she says and, instead, is being manipulated due to age and vulnerability."

Mr. Fisher holds a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.  Worth Magazine identified him as one of the "Top 10 Divorce Lawyers in the Country"--characterizing him as a "Pit Bull Former Prosecutor." Zachary Potter, Mr. Fisher's co-counsel on the case, is a graduate of Princeton University and the Yale Law School. He was also a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

For more information, contact April Edelman at (561) 832-1005.

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