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Elder Law

Exploitation or Love? Son Seeks Divorce for Dad, 87

Posted Nov 17, 2008 2:18 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Although Claude Thomas and Susana Martinez Ramirez married in 2001, it wasn't until several years afterward that his children realized their father had a wife.

Even when Keith Thomas built two homes—one for his dad and one for himself—next to the shop where they worked together, selling hydraulics components, he saw nothing to make him suspect his widowed dad had remarried. That is, until he heard from his father's banker that an account was overdrawn, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Now he is seeking an Ellis County divorce on his father's behalf, along with a guardianship, contending that Ramirez, 45, is financially exploiting Claude Thomas. Such cases are on the rise, says Terry Hammond of the National Guardianship Association, as the number of elderly people with assets increases.

However, a lawyer for Ramirez says she has a right to take care of her own relatives, as she has done, along with Claude Thomas. And the evidence shows that Ramirez is taking good care of her husband, says her attorney, Kevin McDonnell.

"He feels she will take care of him," says Keith Thomas of his father. "But once the money's gone, she'll be gone."

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