A prisoner in my marriage


#1

Shelly, I’m by no means an attorney or an expert of any kind but I just wanted to reply to you because you feel so trapped and I can feel your pain. You are never trapped if you are willing to settle for what’s really important to you. It seems to me that your priorities are right, you want your girls and your freedom. My guess is that you’ll get much more. Probably no alimony because your husband has no ligitimate income, but you should get at least half of the marital property. While we would all like to get out of our “prison” with the least amount of fighting as possible, you may need to fight your husband on the property issue if he won’t be realistic and fair with you. But, that depends on what you’re willing to fight for. If you’d rather walk and just give him his way on the property issue that’s your choice. Just think ahead a little though. Don’t leave yourself open to future financial problems. Remember that the mortgage company and the bank don’t care what your separation agreement says about who’s supposed to pay what. They expect their money from the person who signed the paper - that sounds like you. I’m almost sure you can make him leave the house - if you can make it on your own. Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you and let you know that you aren’t trapped - you have a lot of options. Take care.


#2

sounds like a job for the FBI to handle


#3

You say that you have money for a lawyer? My advice is to retain legal counsel to assist you in separating from your husband and seeking equitable distribution of property, child custody, child support and, if applicable, alimony. I am unclear from your post whether you are residing in Virginia or North Carolina (or elsewhere); I can only respond to what might happen if you are a resident of North Carolina.

Meg Miller
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

ROSENDIVORCE.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#4

Thank you all and thank you Meg for the response. I have been living in Moyock, NC since January 2003. I used to live in Virginia.

Yes, I do have money for a lawyer. After your advice I called one that specializes in family law and my appointment is on the 9th of February. I have to be discreet because I really have no idea what he will do to me. I think I will need to file a PFA (I had to do that once before).

A couple more questions: can my previous affair (from May 2002 - August 2002 still be a factor? It occurred while we were living in VA. Is the person I had an affair with liable to be sued for “alienation of affection”? I have been reading up on that and I learned that the statute of limitations is 3 years… however, we were not NC residents at the time of the affair. Does that matter? There is NO infidelity occurring on my part - nor has there been since August of 2002. During the time that we are separated do I need to be celibate the entire year and 1 day until my divorce is final? I am not planning on being in a relationship, but can I date or anything? I just don’t want to do something and then be guilty of some hidden law or worse yet, meet a nice man and then all of a sudden he is sued for millions of dollars because of “alienation of affection”.

Also, do I need to leave the home? I would not feel safe having us (me and the kids) live in the same house once I file, but I do not want to be guilty of abandonement either. I don’t have a problem with moving out to an apartment, but it is going to be really tough trying to make the mortgage payments & bills (I am sure he will quit paying on everything to make it hard on me - its what he did last time) and a new rent payment and legal fees. Is there a place or an agency that helps out with this type of thing?

Thank you


#5

Dear shelly513:

Greetings. First, you don’t have to turn him in for a resolution. I would advise that you immediately separate from him though so that you are no longer an accessory to his crimes.

Also, if you are not planning on going to court, which I advise that you do not, we can also help you.

Now, as to your questions:

  1. No, the previous affair was condonned and therefore not an issue at this time.

  2. Criminal conversation is a charge that your spouse can level against anyone that has sexual relations with you prior to the date of divorce. Also, sexual relations with anyone prior to your divorce, other than your spouse, is a crime (adultery).

  3. No, I would not leave the home if you have the chance to stay. Your children will do better in the home, generally. No, I doubt that you will be able to find an agency to help you with your bills, but your spouse will likely pay you some support, since he would not want his “business” to come to light in court.

While the negotiations in your case will be difficult, positive negotiations are possible where you can come out with alimony, child support, and a good parenting plan - despite your spouse’s current level of animosity. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

ROSENDIVORCE.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#6

Thank you Janet.

Okay, your replies are a little confusing. You mention in answer #1 that my affair was “condonned and therefore not an issue at this time”. But then in #2 you state that “Criminal conversation is a charge that your spouse can level against anyone that has sexual relations with you prior to the date of divorce.” So are you speaking about any NEW relations or can my husband still go after my ex-lover in suit? I have not had any relations with anyone other than my husband since Aug 2002. Also, I had asked if it were possible for me to “date” during my separation. I know you mentioned about extramarital sex (adultery) being illegal and, although I feel that having to be celibate for a year and a day in NC is ridiculous, I will adhere to the law. But your response indicates that I CAN date as long as there is NO sex - and my soon to be ex-husband can not sue a would be “date”. Is this corect?

As for leaving the home, it is obvious to me that I am going to have to leave the home. My estranged husband is not going to leave - nor is he willing to give me a divorce. I woke up a few days ago to him staring at me from across the bedroom while I slept. It was creepy! He told me that he knew something was up and that he has no intention of letting me go. We got into a huge fight and I thought I was going to get the hell beat out of me! He didn’t hit me but he screamed and slammed our furniture in the house to the point that our neighbors came and took our kids over to their house. It was ugly. He is now constantly spatting little things to try to get to my nerves. Things like: he spends more time with the kids than I do because I am at work 40 hours a week, so therefor he is the primary custodian. This is BS because my husband sleeps in every morning until noon or 1pm and my baby girl (18 months) goes to her babysitter when I am at work. My oldest daughter is almost 13 and is in school during the week. He has always used verbal control to try to kep me emotionally trapped so playing these mind games and trying to make me question my abilities is nothing new. He always calls me a stupid c#nt and that no one will want me… I know what he is trying to do and sadly, sometimes it works.

I guess I have to leave all this in the hands of the courts and hope for the best. I do not want to lose my babies. I know that I can not stay in that house. I am not safe there if I try to divorce him - period! He is not stupid. I have told you the type of “business” he runs. Even to stay in that house, I am not safe. He can get in whenever and there is no one around all the time to protect us. The house is alarmed but it was done by one of his “friends” so he can get in and out at will. Bottome line: I am his property and he is not losing me. If I file… I have to leave. Of course by leaving, I risk being liable for abondonement. Is that true?

Thank you,

Shelly


#7

Dear shelly513:

Greetings. First, there is a statute of limitations on any “old” sexual relationships you had. Condonation is a term that relates to forgiving prior fault in a marriage with regard to alimony, but condonation has nothing to do with criminal conversation. Do not mix the two - dealing with alimony is vastly different than dealing with criminal conversation.

I think that you can “date” with no sex and that your spouse could not sue the date for criminal conversation or alienation of affection if you did not meet that person and start a non-sexual relationship until substantially after the date of separation.

Yes, leaving will mean abandonment. Of course, your situation does not have to go to court. Even with him acting so irratically, you may be able to settle. My advice is that you talk to an attorney now and work on settlement negotiations. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

ROSENDIVORCE.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#8

Janet,

Thanks for the responses. Did you mean to say “Adultery” instead of “Alimony” in your last response? It is confusing.

Also, I am probably not going to date much or anything until significantly later in life. However, I do still occassionally talk to my friend from the past. Yes, we did have an affair from 3 years ago, but nothing - and I mean NOTHING - has happened since August of 2002. I speak to him occassionally and he is a good friend to me. Can we hang out legally after I have filed for divorce? There will be NO sex but our friendship would not be “new”.

I had an appointment with an attorney a few weeks back and it did not sound promising. I was told that the best way would be to get him “busted”. Even though that sounds like the quickest and easiest solution - it is not. I explained to the attorney that if he is busted, I know everything - and there are people that work with him and through him that will feel uncomfortable with me knowing what I know. If he goes down the money lost and the unsettling of the other folks could be an issue for me and anyone else involved. If I can divorce him, that is one thing, but if he goes to jail - alot of people are going to be very nervous. That is never good.

That didn’t sit well with the attorney so I think it had an affect on every other question I asked her. For example, she told me that with his lack of “taxable income” it appears that I am the bread winner and if he got custody, I would have to pay up to 65% of my income in child support and alimony to him. That kills me! He makes about 120k - 140k a year and I am seen as the bread winner on a measly $40,000 year job. As for him getting custody, if I do not prove that he has “outside income” it appears that he is the care taker and the primary care provider for the children so he has a good shot of getting primary custody if he seeks it (which he will only because if he gets custody he believes that I will stay with him rather than lose my children - he is right). She also informed me that since I have the health care through my work, I would have to keep that on him for up to a year. She also told me that I can not leave the state with the children at any time.

So my plan now is to file for divorce and ask the court to remove him from the home. This is going to be tough because there has not been any documented crisis in almost two years. But I am filing for divorce and maybe I can upset him enough where he hits me or does something stupid that provides evidence to what he is capable of.

I just wish he would leave. All I want is my freedom, primary custody of the children and the house (only so I can sell it and buy something else that I can afford). This house has about $180,000 of equity in it that I am willing to give up half to him. I bought this house about 3 years ago. I sold the house that my mother gave me and I bought this one. I am the only one on the loan but we are both on the title. I will give him half.

He can have the corvette, the suburban, the jaguar, the jeep, the two jet skis, property in Florida ($90,000 value), other property in North Carolina (worth somewhere around $150,000), all his jewelry (12K rolex, rings, chains…), plasma TV, about $110k of cash in our safe and about 34 guns. He can have it all… I just want out!

Better yet, I will allow any lawyer that can get me out of this bind to chose what he/she wants just to get me out. They can go after anything they want from him, just please give me my freedom!

Thanks for listening.

Shelly


#9

Dear shelly513:

Greetings. No, I meant what I posted.

I think that you have a tough situation on your hands, but keep your head up, and hire a great attorney to help you. If you are in one of the areas we provide service for, let us help you out with your divorce from bed and board action.

I don’t agree with all the advice that you have stated herein, but I may be reading some of it out of context. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

ROSENDIVORCE.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#10

Thank you Janet for the response.

I am going to call your office this Thursday to see if I can get represented. I live in Moyock, North Carolina which is about 10 miles south of the NC/VA state line just south of Chesapeake VA.

I am ready to get the ball rolling and just get on with my life. If your company (or another attorney) can handle my case and be successful in getting me my freedom and my children (the house would be great too) then I am willing to go through the whole ordeal and be done with it once and for all.

Thanks again Janet and I will be calling soon.

Shelly


#11

Dear shelly513:

Greetings. Yes, of course we can help you if you are going to use the non-litigation process. We look forward to your call. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

ROSENDIVORCE.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#12

In reference to N.C. divorce law: I want to divorce my husband of 7 years (married 7 yrs together 15). I net $1098.00 every two weeks from my employment. He sells marijuana and has for 10 years. He earns about 70K/ year doing this. This is approximate b/c I really don’t know how much he earns??? However, we live a really good lifestyle and I pay nothing (bills) except my own credit cards. The house IS in my name and it is valued at apprx. 320K. He has no “legit” income so I am on the loan we are both on the title. I knew this (that he sold pot) when we married but I loved him. Our marriage has been dead now for about 5 years. I tried to leave 3 years ago and even had an affair. He won’t let me leave without making my life hell. I eventually went back to him 3 years ago. We have 2 children (14 & 18 months). He has never been arrested for selling pot. He has a few criminal charges (assault, battery, and some other minor offenses). However this is my problem: on taxes for the past 10 years, it appears that I have supported him and he has never paid taxes on anything. I really don’t want him busted because I realize that I am to blame for his illegal selling of a contolled substance - because I have allowed it to occur. Also, i absolutely do not want to be busted either. I just want out. He has told me many times if I set him up to be busted, he will see to it that I am framed for it. I haven’t smoked marijuana in almost 7 years. I work in an environment where I can be tested at any time and I have been clean. The selling of the drugs is a major reason that I want out of this marriage (that and because I have no emotional connection to this man anymore). I feel I am stuck. All I want is my freedom and my children. I would like half of the equity in the house & child support but I would allow all of that to be gien up just so I can be out of this mess. However, can I file for divorce in N.C. and leave the area with my children (say to D.C.?) I have been offered a better job in D.C. and it is 4 hours away from him. I feel like I am stuck because the house is in my name and if I leave, I can not afford to pay for rent in D.C. and the house payment. I know he would not sell the house just so I would have to make payments. Can I force the home to sell if we are both on the title? How can I get my freedom? I have thought about filing right now and staying in my home and making him leave, but can I do that? I don’t believe I can file for divorce and stay in the same house until our case is decided? According to financial documents, it appears that he has been the home maker and that he has no income and that I have supported him for the past seven years. This is obvious impossible on my income - the house, a corvette, a jeep, jet skis, suburban, a jaguar, all of or “toys” in the home… He has about 8 guns (illegal), jewelery, T.V’s, stereos, land in Florida, another parcel of land in N.C… there is no way I could afford all this on my income. He can have everything, I just want my kids and I want out. He can have visitation all he wants (if he’ll take it) and if he doesn’t pay support, my daughters and I will survive. I just want out! Any advice?

For the record: My affair lasted 3 months from May 2002 - August 2002. I wanted to leave him. He recorded my phone conversations and used a bug program to monitor my emails. I really didn’t care. He also video taped me and my lover together. I told him that I didn’t care and that I wanted out. He refused to let me leave! He tried to take my lover to court (we lived in VA at the time) so when the case of adultery came to light, the case was dropped because my husbands lawyer failed to show up in court. My husband then threatened my lover and drove his truck through his yard and contacted his command (the lover was military) and eventually he pushed (my very best friend and my lover) away. He was taken to court by my lover for harrassment and stalking but the judge let my husband off with a warning. The only proof was messages left on my lovers cell phone and the judge said that the voice was difficult to prove that it was my husband.

I went back to my husband b/c I was emotionally drained. He had my tires cut, my employment was upset at him always calling… he made my life hell. I went back. I think according to VA law that once we were living together again as man and wife that the affair is considered nullified b/c it shows my husband forgave me… is that correct? Can he still use that old affair to get custody of my daughters? I have not been with anyone else since August of 2002. I am 36 years old and I want to live the rest of my life without fear of being arrested and possibly try to creat a new relationship with someone that I can love - not loathe. I am not a bad person (I don’t think) but I am in a bad situation.

I have money for a lawyer… I will do anything (legally) to get freedom. I want my freedom, I want primary custody of my daughters, and I would like to have half the equity in the home, but the first two are absolutely required. I will not leave if I can not be free and have primary custody of my girls. Any advice?