Blogging bellydancer loses alimony settlement over online postings

A Staten Island woman has been stripped of her lifetime alimony payments of $850 a month after photos from her blog of the woman allegedly belly dancing at a swanky Manhattan venue were used in court by her ex-husband to contest a prior alimony judgement.

42-year-old Dorothy McGurk was awarded the marital home and the monthly payment after the court found originally that injuries from a 1997 car accident rendered the woman too physically fragile to work. But McGurk extensively blogged her belly-dancing activities, even presciently addressing the issue of her online activities coming back to haunt her. When a friend of Facebook asked after photos of an event, McGurk replied: “Gotta be careful what goes on line pookies. The ex would love to fry me with that…”

McGurk, who was ordered to pay more than $5,000 to her ex for lawyers fees in addition to the loss of the alimony, was chastised in court documents about her daily activities:

McGurk was also told to move out of the couple’s house, and her ex-husband was awarded 60% of its value because she “worked only two years of this 11-year marriage,” the judge wrote in her decision.

“The court credits husband’s testimony that wife slept all day or otherwise spent her day on the computer participating in Internet blogs,” the judge wrote.

McGurk claimed in court that the belly-dancing activities were recommended by a doctor, but on the stand, the doctor contradicted her testimony. Still, she denies ever engaging in the activities for which she was accused:

“I wish I could be a professional belly dancer, but it’s just not possible…The only thing I do are gentle exercises. One of them is undulating. What you do is suck in and flex the muscles of your belly,” she explained. She added that the photos on her blog show another woman dancing, though she refused to provide them to the News: “My girlfriend in front of me was belly-dancing with a sword, I was just standing behind her waving a veil.”

McGurk says she is appealing the decision pertaining to her ex-husband’s lawyer fees.

[NYP, Gothamist]