Family Law

Ex-Legal Secretary Loses Claim for Support Due to Belly Dancing Blog Posts

A former legal secretary who claimed she needed marital support because she was disabled contradicted herself in blog posts about her penchant for belly dancing.

The evidence helped doom Dorothy McGurk’s claim for maintenance, report the New York Daily News and the Daily Business Review in a reprint of an article by the New York Law Journal.

A New York judge denied McGurk’s request for $850 per month in marital support from her ex, a postal carrier, in an April 7 opinion (reg. req.). The judge also ordered McGurk to pay $5,000 in her ex’s attorney fees for “dilatory acts” that included failure to turn over discovery materials.

McGurk worked as a legal secretary for three law firms during her first two years of marriage, but she hadn’t worked in more 15 years, the opinion says. Before the divorce trial, she was temporarily awarded $850 per month in maintenance. She had claimed she was unable to work because of a car accident on her second wedding anniversary that led to two back surgeries and the need for pain medication.

But in blog posts, McGurk wrote that she dances every day. In one excerpt, she wrote that she “swirled around” and “danced myself silly.” In another, she wrote, “My belly dancing is the reason why I adore myself so much.”

McGurk said she had been prescribed belly dancing as a form of physical therapy, but her doctor testified he was unaware of his patient’s dancing.

The New York Daily News summarized the ruling against McGurk this way: “A Staten Island belly dancer jiggled her way out of a sweet deal with her ex-husband after he found pictures of her shaking it on the Internet.”

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