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Former Register of Deeds claims estranged wife abandoned him in his hour of need


Former Alamance County Register of Deeds Hugh Webster contends that his estranged wife of 54 years, Patricia (“Pat”) Webster, berated him for years after an on-the-job injury in 2015 and subsequent back surgery left him permanently disabled, confined to a wheelchair, and unable to care for his own daily needs.

Webster, 78, served as the county’s registrar from 2011 until 2020, when he opted not to seek reelection. A Republican, Webster also represented Alamance and Caswell counties in the state senate from 1995 until 2006.

Then-register of deeds Hugh Webster, shown here in 2019.

A lawsuit that Pat Webster filed earlier this fall alleges that her now-estranged husband verbally abused her for years – at times, in front of her friends – before finally telling her he was going to find “a woman from Russia or somewhere else to move in with him” and take care of him, due to what she describes as his declining physical and mental health.

The latest filing in the legal back-and-forth between the retired politician and his estranged wife aims to set the record straight, based on the response that Hugh Webster has filed to his wife’s lawsuit.

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Hugh Webster admits he sought companionship and “possible assistance” online because his estranged wife had effectively abandoned the marriage years ago and “quit caretaking duties for” her severely-disabled husband.

In his response to his estranged wife’s lawsuit, Hugh Webster claims that, as his condition deteriorated, his now-estranged had grown increasingly critical of his health and his healthcare decisions, even “refusing to assist in his care if she did not approve of it.” Pat Webster’s consistent criticism represent indignities that “rendered his condition intolerable and life burdensome,” based on a state law cited in his response to the suit his estranged wife has filed.

Pat Webster left the couple’s home in Burlington and moved into a beach house they own in Myrtle Beach in September, according to the lawsuit she filed in Alamance County civil court earlier this fall.

The estranged wife contends she’s financially unable to maintain the standard of living she had become accustomed to during the marriage, which included owning two homes and vacationing in South Africa, Maui, Germany, and Columbia. Pat Webster is requesting an award for alimony, post-separation support, half of her estranged husband’s retirement and other assets, as well as an uneven distribution of the marital property.

In the response to the lawsuit, Hugh Webster acknowledges the standard of living Pat Webster had enjoyed during the marriage – but counters that she had traveled to South Africa, Maui, and Germany alone.

Hugh Webster is asking an Alamance County judge to deny Pat Webster’s request for post-separation support, alimony, and an unequal distribution of the marital assets. He is also seeking a division of ownership of property and/or liability for debts acquired prior to the couple’s marriage in 1967 and after they separated on September 14, 2021; an equitable distribution of marital assets; an award for his attorney’s fees; and a divorce from bed and board, consistent with several state laws cited in his response.

Court files give no indication that Pat Webster has filed a divorce complaint.

Pat Webster is being represented by Burlington attorney Wade Harrison; Hugh Webster is being represented by Graham attorney Bryan Ray.

See earlier story on Pat Webster’s original lawsuit:

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