Custody Question (Getting a Job) - Part 2

Hey folks,

Yesterday, I posted a thread titled “Custody Question (Getting a Job)”. It’s only a few threads down - the particulars of my situation are there.

Well, some new info has since come to light, and I could use advice on it as well (if you have the time).

I found out my wife is looking at another house, and very well may be planning to move out herself. This is fine with me, as I’d have no problem staying here. I just don’t want to be around her anymore.

(NOTE - I kinda doubt she’s going to be able to move anywhere, though, as she doesn’t really have the $$, and where the house she’s supposedly looking at is, she’s have to drive a good 60 mins to work. Just doesn’t ‘sound right’, if that makes sense.)

Anyway, here are my questions:

-As I stated in the other thread, I currently don’t have a job. If she leaves (esp before I find gainful employment), am I then entitled to support? Is there any way to enforce this?

-If I leave, I could care less about the items in the house. But if I’m going to stay, then I want the stuff that’s here. There is a lot I could care less about (decorations, nick-nacks, etc.), but the big things like most of the furniture, electronics, etc, I want to keep here. How can I keep her from taking it? At what point would I be ‘Ok’ (allowed?) to change the locks on the doors?

-In my other thread, I mentioned she had two boys that I’ve helped raise for the past 10 years, and we have a daughter. I know she’s talked to the oldest boy about if she were to leave, then would he go with her, and he told her he didn’t want to (esp since he’s getting ready to go into his senior year in high school, he wants to graduate w/his friends, etc, and she would be moving into another county).

I love the boys dearly, however, I don’t want to be responsible for them. It’s not that I don’t care for them, but they shouldn’t be my legal responsibility when we separate. How can I make her take them with her (even if they don’t want to go)? I’ve not adopted the boys and don’t have any sort of legal claim except being a stepdad by marriage.

-It’s very well possible that if she’s looking to move into another place, that she’d be moving in with her boyfriend. Can I “use” (for lack of a better term) this in any way re our separation and later divorce if this does indeed end up being the case?

Thanks for your time.

If your wife leaves you likely would be awarded post-separation support for a period of time to sustain yourself until you secure employment. The court awards support based on the status of each spouse. There must be a dependant spouse who is actually and substantially dependant on the other to maintain their lifestyle and a supporting spouse who has the ability to pay. My concern about you receiving an award of support is that your wife has two other children to care for, and you have the ability to earn a living sufficient to support yourself. Given your work history, I am not sure a court would award you alimony moving forward. You will have to file a lawsuit against your wife in order to bring these issues before the court.
If your wife leaves, she is entitled to take ? of the furniture, ect. You may change the locks on the house the day she moves out.
As for the boys you are not legally responsible for them, and if she leaves them with you, you may file an action to have the court determine custody, and seek child support from her( even though they are not your children).
The adultery can bolster your case for alimony, aside from that, it is not a part of the divorce, or property issues.

Ms. Clarey,

Thank you very much - that helps a lot.

Two quick follow-ups:

I asked about this in another thread, but it seems to have been deleted.

I’m currently (and feverishly) looking for work. My work experience could allow me to get a ‘normal’ 8-to-5 job desk type of job, or something such as retail mgmt.

I’ll take either, but my concern is that I want 50/50 custody of my daughter. If I were to take a job in something such as retail mgmt. (given that it has long hours - usually 50+ hours/week, rotating shift, works weekends, etc.), would that likely affect my chances of getting 50/50 custody of my daughter?

What does “?” of the furniture, etc. mean?

And not to get too deep into semantics, but what technically is the day she moves out? I don’t want to change the locks, then her come back and say “But I wasn’t done getting the stuff I wanted yet” or something along those lines? Should we pre-agree on a date?

Thanks again for your time.

The ? is a code error. What Erin probably wrote (and what is legally true) is you are entitled 1/2 of all assets, debts.

I don’t know about the likelihood of getting 50/50 custody, but what I can tell you is that whatever pattern you establish up until the time of the divorce date, is the pattern most likely to continue afterwards unless it is woefully unbalanced and contested. So, if you want 50/50 custody, I’d set about establishing that pattern from the get-go. If the two of you can agree on custody terms via a signed separation agreement, that is probably the best for everyone, including the children.

If a court finds that having your daughter 50% of the time is in her best interests it will be awarded, custodial time is based on how many overnights you have. If you are working an 8-5 job, you could simply pick her up from afterschool care on your days.
The “?” was a code error, it should say “one half”.
As for the date of separation, it is the day your wife moves out with the intention of residing elsewhere.