Divorce from Bed and Board - received papers this morning


#1

I was served with a civil summons this morning for a “Complaint for Divorce from Bed and Board and Equitable Distribution”.

There are eleven allegations listed under “First Claim for Relief - Divorce from Bed and Board” Each of these allegations is false, and cannot be proved without false witness statements corroborating them. Also, I believe that I can file a counter-claim for Divorce from Bed and Board, but I would need to prove “malicious turning out of doors” and an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

A little over a month ago, my husband threatened me in our home, and I filed for an ex parte order. When the case was heard, the judge dropped the ex parte order, placed him on one-year probation, ordered him to enroll in Substance Abuse Assessment (not sure what that is, and how they would even know he was following the program, whatever it is), and he was ordered not to threaten me, or to damage any of our property. Since then, my adult daughter who lives with me has also filed for an ex parte order against him for communicating threats. That case was thrown out of the court on the 12th of this month, and we were ordered to be extremely cautious in filing any more papers with the magistrate’s office as they would need to be investigated for proof of the claims.

So with the exception of my husband coming into our home and threatening my daughter, he has been living elsewhere as a result of court orders. On the 13th, my daughter and I returned home from work, and my husband was in the home in our bedroom. He slept there that night without my ever addressing him in any fashion except to answer a question. We did not share the marital bed. As a matter of fact, since he was first asked to leave the home by the sheriff’s office, I have considered us to be separated, and have never had any intention of reconciliation. However, his intentions and his behavior on the 13th have led me to believe that he thought everything was just going to go back to “normal”.

Which brings me to last night and this morning…
When my daughter and I returned home last night, my husband was not to be found, and he had removed the shirts he had brought with him the day before, as well as some DVDs. He never returned, and this morning I was served with the summons I previously mentioned.

Nowhere in the papers I was given have I been asked to vacate the home at this time, but if I am reading the papers correctly, he is asking for the marital property to be awarded to him based on the allegations presented as a part of the Bed and Board section of his claim. I’ve done some research this afternoon on Equitable Distribution, and his claim for equitable distribution based on his preceived "indignities’ does not seem to be legally valid. Am I right in this, and if not, under what circumstances could ask an uneven distribution based on the allegations of indignities he presented?

Also, is he allowed to continue coming into our home and removing property at will and sleeping there whenever it is convenient for him? And if it isn’t, how do I prove that he has been taking joint property from the premises, and claiming it stolen?


#2

I also meant to ask one more question. Since his allegations are false and can only be proved by false witnesses, how can I prove it when I say that he has been trying to force me out of my home, and (I have no idea how to prove this) that he is an alcoholic and addicted to marijauna?

The only things that I have as basis of proof for the forcing me out of my home are the reports that I’ve made to the authorities about my locks being changed and someone stealing my water meter. No one, including myself, saw these activities taking place. I was only able to report them after the fact.


#3

NOT AN ATTORNEY

I can’t speak as to the rest of your post, but I think his filing an action for divorce from bed & board as well as his removal of his own property and leaving the premises would constitute a reasonable assumption that he wants a divorce and that you are separated…therefore, please change the locks on your house ASAP so that he can’t remove any more property from inside without your witness and approval. In fact, I’d say offhand that you and your daughter do not need to permit him access to the property at all given his record of making stuff that isn’t solely his disappear prior to ED.

Since you are facing an early hearing for ED, I would get photos of the inside of the home and all of the belongings, joint & otherwise just as a record, and I’d pull together any ownership records and receipts for everything you can. It’ll help sort stuff out, especially if you have receipts for stuff purchased prior to the marriage.


#4

You can change the locks now and I would immediately recommend you do so. As far as “indignities” causing an uneven distribution, I don’t see how this will succeed for him. Marital fault (unless economic) does not factor into ED. You may file an answer to his complaint which refutes his allegations, and includes a counterclaim for divorce from bed and board based on his commission of acts constituting marital fault. I would recommend you consult with an attorney about this matter.