Please help me to under the legal concept of a “dependent spouse.” I was in court recently with my STBX for an interim ED and spousal support hearing. I make $83,000/annually. STBX makes $95,000/annually with his regular job and around $30,000 with a side business. My attorney never showed me my STBX’s finanacial affadavit, but based on some questions my attorney asked me, STBX had flagrantly lied about how much he made last year with the side business and greatly embellished the amount of his current debts. When he moved out of our home in October 2010 (without ANY notice to me, he moved at 4AM while I was asleep), he took much of our property with him. He left due to what obvious on-going provable affairs that he has been having through out our marriage. (He was on two online dating sites describing himself as “separated” or “legally separated”, to my shock. He was sued for child support by a woman a few years back with whom he had a very long affair with also during our marriage. About 4 weeks after he moved out,he also posted on his FB page the name of a 20 year old daughter of his that I knew nothing about!) When he moved out, he stopped paying ANY of our debts inclurred during our 23 year marriage. I have been struggling to pay to keep our home, my car and a car for our daughter who is away in college, as well as other household debts. During the hearing, my attorney consulted with his attorney. We sat in court about all day, and never went before the judge. My attorney said that because I was not a dependent spouse that it did not matter that he made more money than me and that he could not be required to help me pay the mortgage, which is over $1300 per month. (I live in the house. He rented a house with a monthly mortgage payment higher than our home.) or for either of the cars. (Our daughter is 19 and I understand that he had no legal responsibility for her or things like her car.) He reluctantly agreed to pay the $800 a month tuition payment for our daughter’s tuition plan (until the end of this semester) that we set up in 2009. He stopped paying it when he moved out in October. He knew, however, that once he stopped paying, I had my daughter apply for emergency loans, which she received. So the $800 will go toward her tuition for the next academic year, so I still have the same amount of marital debt. I feel that I have been absolutely screwed because I worked hard for over 30 years to get my salary to $83,000,only to seemingly be penalized for it. STBX literally (and seemingly planned in advance) abandoned us. He took a distribution of his 401k of $30,000 2 months before he left and told me and our two in-college kids (Our 21 year old son graduated college in December, and he also had a tuition payment plan, which my parents had to pay in order for him to graduate.) that he was going to pay their remaining tuition fully for the 2010 -2011 academic year and pay off some of household debts. He did not do that. Instead he paid off a credit card and an installment loan that were in his name only and took the rest of the money with him. He also hoarded alot of money paid from the side business.
Is my only option to try get alimony somewhere down the line? Our separation date has been determined to be 10/29/2010. He seems to have been able to walk away from our marital debts. My attorney attempted to explain the “dependent spouse” thing to me at the courthouse, but he was busy with several other cases that he had. I trust my attorney, but I also know that he has very many other clients. I also don’t have the money for additional calls to him. Please help me to better understand. What can I do? It just all seems so very unfair. Thanks.