Wife’s Request for Spousal Support Goes Belly Up Because of Blog
It is axiomatic that the expectation of individual privacy these days is increasingly an unattainable goal. We are barraged on a daily basis by warnings that identity theft is on the rise, and that we need to exercise extreme caution before revealing personal information to anyone. Yet, people continue to voluntary disclose to the world via the internet all types of personal information. One woman, in Staten Island, learned that you can, indeed, reveal too much about yourself on the Internet, especially when going through a divorce. In the recent Richmond County case of McGurk v. McGurk, the wife claimed that an injury sustained in a car accident on her second wedding anniversary left her disabled and unable to work, requiring an award of spousal support in the amount of $850 per month from her husband of 11 years. Mr. McGurk provided evidence to the Court that while he worked during the parties’ marriage as a postal worker, doing all the cooking, cleaning and laundry, his wife spent her days sleeping or participating in Internet blogs. Of particular interest to the Court was Ms. McGurk’s own blogs on Tribe, Facebook and MySpace detailing her belly dancing which she did “every day for three years” and that she wanted to dedicate her life to her “passion” and take dance lessons twice each week. Ms. McGurk offered the testimony of her doctor who assured the Court, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that Ms. McGurk was not capable of any employment. On cross-examination, her doctor was informed of Ms. McGurk’s blogs about her belly dancing, her use of a home computer, and her frequent trips to Manhattan to dance, after which the doctor admitted he could not definitively claim she was physically incapable of holding a job. Not surprisingly, the Court was not overly impressed by the wife’s claimed disability while bragging on the Internet about her love of dancing. The Court rewarded Ms. McGurk by denying her any spousal support, awarding her only 40% of the value of the marital residence, and requiring her to pay $5,000 for her husband’s legal fees.