A friend is seeking a divorce but it’s gotten very complicated and he realizes he’ll need a lawyer, but he’s not sure if he can even afford it. Ironically, his soon to be ex-wife has filed a complaint against him alleging he withdrew affection. Untrue, she kicked him out of their bedroom and they moved to entirely separate floors of their three story house. She alleges he emotionally abused her. Untrue, he was always supportive of what she wanted to do, even when she wanted to sing in lounges. She has had several mental breaks, once even going after him with a machete. Eventually he felt, for his own peace of mind, he had to sleep with his bedroom door locked at night. She states, too that he had extra marital affairs, something he does not deny, but they did not occur until after she’d no longer wished to share their marital bed and room together for nearly three years.
They both moved back to Durham in 2005 and physically separated, but he did not file for divorce in order to keep her on his medical insurance because she was not eligible due to a job dismissal. This was how things remained for five years. Meantime, once he’d moved back to his childhood home, he lost his sight without any help from his ex wife or daughter, nearly lost his house, lost his car, and was close to bankruptcy because of problems with the accountant handling his taxes. The IRS garnished his wages for several years until they’d been reimbursed for back taxes, leaving him nearly penniless. His credit rating is ruined.
The house he live in has a jointly held home equity loan he received in order to make the home habitable again. The renters who stayed there nearly ruined it. One bathroom is unable to even be accessed because its floor has holes in it. The wood was rotted out from the renters flooding the flooring. studs will need to be replaced, which requires a contractor and reconstruction crew, which he cannot afford.
They signed a separation agreement last fall wherein they mutually agreed on everything, in particular she stated she would not request alimony or a settlement. She will, however, receive 50% each of his retirement and pension. This is a substantial figure and she was agreeable to this sum, but now, upon filing this complaint has requested more money from him due to his income level. He does not get the full amount, however. There are several things taken out that he must pay off, such as the equity loan, a just-finished loan for his daughter’s private education, the 401, his pension, taxes. etc. So after it’s all done, he takes home about 40% less than his actual earned income. This is not enough for him to be able to live on and still be able to pay off the loan, the replacement windows that had to go in after the break in last fall in which the tv and computer were stolen, groceries, phone, internet, transportation (he takes the bus to work in Cary which means he gets up at 3:45 each morning), the gas bill, electricity, water, property tax, income taxes due at year’s end if there isn’t any type of credit to decrease the amount due, and other incidentals. He lives paycheck to paycheck, so there is nothing left over to pay alimony or a lawyer, so he’s very worried about this situation she’s brought to his door.
I’m concerned for his welfare and his health. He’s diabetic, not sleeping well, and under a great deal of stress over this situation. What are his options?