Well this is tough. Never thought I’d be in need of help on a Divorce Forum, but I guess none of us did.
My wife of 16 years has told me three times over the last two months that she is leaving me, so pehaps I should have acted sooner, but yesterday she said it would be at the end of this month. We have two children and I/we have never gone through something like this, nor have any of my close freinds, so I have not been able to confide in anyone.
Apparently her strongest reason for moving out is due to a lack of communication and the fact that she thinks I am hiding something from her. Nothing could be further from the truth. Personnally I feel that since a number of her close freinds and coworkers have recently gotten divorces, they have been flling her head with garbage, conbined with the stress of layoffs at her office that have sent her over the edge. I also believe she is completely crazy for throwing away what we have built but that life is too short and if she wants out, that is her choice. This decision will completely shock all of our families and friend as there was never anything to indicate something like this was even in the works.
My primary interest here is the well-being of the children. She has a large family and I’m guessing they could take care of her if she needs it. But honestly the children would be better off living with me - due to the stable house, established friends, schools, and the love I can provide them. SHe flippantly mentioned it would be ‘joint custody’ but at this point I am not even sure if that is good or bad.
My questions begin with - what should I do now, prior to her moving out, and then what should I do immediately after she moves out?
For instance, can I / should I change the locks the day she moves out? Would that be recommended? What should be I do with the Autopays set up on our joint account? I understand she is still responsible for the mortgage as we are both on that, but since she is moving out, if she refuses to pay, what recourse do I have? Apparnetly she is moving into an appartment and I know she cannot afford an apartment at today’s rates AND continue to pay her half of the mortgage. What about utility bills at the house? Technically we’d still be married, but do I have to pay them in full, or is she obligated to pay half?
Can she take the kids? Does she have that right?
Also, she has always displayed a lack of interets in our finances, so I have handled them from day 1. That said, I have even been managing her 401K, etc. How should I handle these when she moves out?
Any and all legitimate legal advice would be very much appreciated.
Thank you very much!