Hi Ms. Willis. I have to abide on the advice of Mr. Rosen, not to get caught up too much in the legal jargon and to keep words simply stated in lay persons terminology. Thus I may have not spoken incorrectly or be over analyzing the events that transpired.
My spouse has moved to South Carolina without an agreement on how to divide the Marital Assets, specifically Jewelry, Animals, and Household Goods and Special Collections. Since she is the moving spouse, it was her responsibility to submit me a list and to determine fair market value on DOS and present Future Market Value. She did not do so. I have documented this and have supporting documents with photos but I don’t intend to do her work for her and will therefore hold onto this as evidence to file a complaint for ED (if I have to).
I wanted to do the honorable non-emotional thing by letting her have the essentials for living separate. About the only written short list of items was a mobile text message, as her request quickly expanded verbally and through her actions on move out day practically leading to requests to leave with the kitchen sink! Both SC and NC Courts do not divide the assets until the divorce hearing unless there is prior agreement or complaint filed. I should have simply said NO but I instead tried to be reasonable. I did inform my spouse, she was essentially shopping for furnishings and household goods that would proportionally decrease her income equity, because I wanted to make sure she understood the net impact to the his and her balance sheets.
There was a Special Collection put into the U-Haul which is being contended by me because it must be appraised first. I informed everyone involved as movers that they did not have my permission to remove the Special Collection from my possession. They managed to get it on the truck without my awareness until they changed municipal locations and so I involved the Police in a different city to create an incident number as the Police could not enforce my request to unload it from the truck primarily because they can only enforce court orders not a civil action. Also it was such an inconvenience to the other party because it was stashed all the way in the front with everything staged behind it (because it was hidden from view). My spouse’s concession was to make a recorded public commitment to return it to my possession by end of this month. In the end, the proposed distribution will be to the Wife but not until after it has been appraised by an independent bonafide third party that isn’t a referral with a potential conflict of interest as my spouse has connections as it is might be easy to have a collaborator appraise an unfair value.
Part of the misunderstanding involving jurisdiction wasn’t based on resetting the separation date in NC but to make mention my spouse would have to file from SC and be subject to different criterion from NC: “To file for divorce in South Carolina, one party has to have resided in South Carolina for at least one
year if the other spouse lives in another state. If both parties have lived in South Carolina for at least
three months, either party can file for a divorce in South Carolina. If one party has lived in South
Carolina for at least one year, that party can file for divorce in South Carolina even if the other
spouse has never set foot in this state.” I was simply trying to state based on SC criterion my spouse not only has to satisfy one year continuous separation without living together at any point during that year but she will not be able to even file in SC for a “simple divorce” primarily because we have not reached an agreement to divide the marital property and/or debt. My spouse will therefore need to have an Attorney file a complaint in SC. Neither of us have minor children, so there is no child custody or visitation agreements … need to agree on the proposed distribution as “joint” for a Animal that I am not willing to give up possession of, as my proposal will remain as “joint” ownership/custody (sounds silly, but pets are family).
By getting your input and the advice of other men that have been divorced I am getting a good perspective on strategy … One of the suggestions from a Divorcee was it is better to be the Plantiff rather than the Defendant because rather than being reactionary you can be proactive and in control over the process and procedures. Do you have any thoughts on this?
For example, you had said “you may raise as a defense that SC lacks jurisdiction over your divorce and that NC is the appropriate venue.” Would this be tactically done by me as a counter lawsuit/complaint - Specifically as the Plantiff rather than Defendant? You had made reference in your most recent reply,"you [me] will need to file a complaint for ED and let the court determine how to split the marital assets and liabilities. Are you saying that I am only limited to ED or do I still have full rights of Hearing(s), Cause(s), Custody (n/a), Discovery, Affidavit(s), Mediation, Disclosures (Support or Equitable Distribution), and Equitable Distribution Inventory? I wouldn’t like to leave it up to the courts to make the ED decision absent from following the equitable distribution steps to negotiate a mediation agreement. “Put most simply, jurisdiction is the procedural law telling litigants who can sue and be sued and what sorts of actions may be prosecuted in which courts.” (Source: North Carolina divorce court procedure, page 6/14). It also says (page 3/14) "One of you also needs to have lived in North Carolina for at least six months prior to the filing of the complaint. That is the residency requirement for the court’s obtaining jurisdiction over an absolute divorce. It is based on this that my spouse has lost her right to file for an absolute divorce in NC, but she still has the right to file a complaint in SC after satisfying SC requirements. It doesn’t exclude her from filing a complaint other than Absolute Divorce but I believe if I don’t consent to a partial distribution before the divorce hearing that there is little sense in even going through the motions in NC because I don’t intend to file for divorce.
I don’t want or consent to an absolute divorce. I don’t even believe in it as the end objective in being separated according to my religious beliefs in 1 Cor. 7:10-11. Furthermore, I really love me wife as my soul mate inspite of all of this. It seems if I am going to defend myself I will need to compromise on my beliefs to take an offense strategy by litigating as the Plantiff in a counter lawsuit in NC. I will have to file some form of complaint as a rebuttal to object to any of her filings (In either NC or SC). Now I don’t think this can be dragged out indefinitely but I’m certain it can be delayed and as a result she will have decreased leverage, since she hasn’t followed Mr. Rosen’s 1st tip … “don’t just leave. There are consequences in losing rights.”
Now in regards to ED, I am relying upon North Carolina Property Distribution in Divorce article entitled “Equitable Distribution: What You Need to Know”. The key highlights to match my scenario is on page 1/5:
"At any time after the separation of the parties, either may file an action for ED, either as a separate
action, or together with another action brought pursuant to Chapter 50, or as a motion in the cause. A
final ED judgment may be rendered either before or after the parties are divorced, at the discretion of a
judge. If the judgment is being entered by consent, the parties themselves can stipulate to do so prior to
Temporary orders and injunctive relief are obtainable under the terms of special statutory provisions that
allow for injunctive relief to prevent disappearance, waste or conversion of property alleged to be marital
or separate, and that also allow for entry of orders for dividing part of the marital assets. The partial
distribution may provide for a distributive award. Injunctive relief to prevent disappearance, waste or
conversion is available before or after an ED action has been initiated. An order partially distributing
marital property may not be made until after an ED action has actually been filed."
Point 1 is I don’t consent to ED prior to the divorce. If the spouse can engage in a lawsuit for ED while being a resident of SC and if I object to SC not having jurisdiction over the legal residence in NC then what happens if I never intend to file for divorce in NC? I’m OK with her ending up with marital property to meet her basic necessities to furnish a place if the separation period gets extended (indefinitely if possible).
Point 2 deals with me needing to consider a partial distribution/award or in my case having to do an injunctive relief to prevent the sale of our joint inventory or more specifically if spouse doesn’t return the Special Collection by end of this month.
I had previously downloaded your 20 page DIY Divorce Kit and it has been helpful in highlighting the procedural processes … I did not see a Sample Compliant, and that might help me visualize say an Equitable Distribution (there are samples in rosen-diy-divorce). I have also downloaded couthouseconfidential on Separation Agreements, dirty-divorce-tricks, spousal-spying and Privacy Quiz (which I guess too much info on this Forum might expose strategy and tactics as public record but I’m safe without identities listed).
Much thanks in advance for all of your feedback. I’m still on the sidelines primarily until I get some summons from the spouses lawyer or unless you can convince me I need to take action before then. I’m still waiting to hear if her lawyer is going to advise her that she shouldn’t have moved out of NC. I guess the end result would be in that case she would have to move back to NC. There is one thing I forgot to mention. I discovered while involving the Police at a different city in NC there was a male driver of the U-Haul that either has residents in NC or the SC city my wife has moved to (done some Facebook research where he is a friend of a friend). It’s not certain whether it’s strictly platonic friendship but I am not convinced where somebody of the opposite gender doesn’t have an ulterior motive as he sacrificed on entire day or two of his own time to do the journey of involving at least 6+ hours travel time … without there being some form of appreciative payback. Hopefully, nothing further happened involving an affair. The spouse recently 3 weeks ago deactivated her Facebook social media account, probably so I couldn’t keep tabs of social events. She also asked last minute for a bunch of recreational items which could be used to connect with guys involving sporting activities. Maybe I’m over analyzing but the opportunity is tempting for an affair with the 3 hour distance between us as she’s running away to start a new life. I’m still standing on the principals as married.