In need of advice


#1

My wife and I have been separated for over 11 months.

We had only been living in Charlotte for 5 1/2 months when we separated. I moved out of state when she and I separated because we were living in her relative’s house and she told me that if I didn’t move, she would take legal action against me to get me to move. Naively, I thought it was only a temporary arrangement, so I only took some of my clothes with me to our old friends’ home in the neighboring state we just moved from in order to take a couple of days or weeks while things “cooled off.”

Two weeks later, after she had been a resident in NC for 6 months, she filed for Temporary Child Custody, Child Support, and Equitable Distribution with a court date set for the TPA very shortly thereafter. I rushed to hire an attorney who I feel has not looked out for my best interest since.

I have proof of an extra-marital affair before separation that I gathered during separation, and a lack of concern on her behalf to spend time with the children, but the judge still gave her temporary custody because as the judge stated, “I left the kids in her care” when I was only concerned with not making a scene or dragging them around with me as I was now practically homeless, now staying with our old neighbors while unemployed.

My estranged wife left me with the ENTIRETY of our marital debt that I have been struggling to pay and have been unable to do recently. She and I agreed on a temporary child support amount that I would pay prior to a child support hearing (didn’t have it in writing), and on the day that I would start my job, our child support hearing took place, and I was unable to attend. At the hearing, she changed her mind and asked for an even greater amount than previously discussed, and was awarded what she asked for. I have since been paying a monthly amount that does not allow me to pay our marital debt, my attorney, or sustain myself reasonably, and have been forced to find another job.

As far as equitable distribution is concerned, I have not heard a word about it since separating. She maintains ALL of our marital possessions that we moved with us to NC, and she has left me to pay ALL of the marital debt. Is there a way I can contact the court and see what the status of it is, to speed it along?

Over the course of our separation, my attorney consistenly recommended that I go along with whatever my wife’s attorney proposed. Not feeling comfortable with that, he and I disagreed a lot. My attorney’s office has only composed a rebuttal to her request for Child Custody, Support, and Equitable Distribution, showed up in court twice, but has charged me well over the original retainer. I have already paid 50% over what the initial retainer was, and now my attorney is seeking an additional 50%, for a total of well over 100% of the original cost of what the initial retainer was. Not being able to afford to pay him (or willing to continue to throw my money at what I feel is incompetent representation), he has requested to withdraw as counsel for me. I would like to sign it, but there is a balance I still supposedly owe him, and I’m concerned as to what the consequences of me releasing him as my attorney are if I am to sign the form. Please advise if I should release him as my attorney before we agree to any financial resolution.

Now I can’t afford to retain another attorney, and I’m looking at defending myself. I have all of the supporting documentation for all the claims I stated above that I plan on presenting to the court, and I plan on using the “DIY” kit you have on your website. I know that this will be a difficult process to go through without an attorney, but after my experience with my current one, I don’t feel that anyone else will represent me as well or be as concerned about my situation as I am, nor can I really afford another attorney at this time. Thanks in advance, and I appreciate your time.


#2

You may contact the court and set a hearing for Equitable Distribution, and may also file a motion for interim distribution of the debts to ask the court to assign a portion of the debt to her.
Signing the withdraw will release your attorney as attorney of record, but will have no affect on whether or not he pursues the fee.


#3

Should I also try to schedule a hearing for alimony?


#4

Yes, if you are so entitled.