My basic rights

My spouse has been threatening divorce, that there has been contact with an attorney for the last few months, and threatening to remove financial support. Due to medical difficulties my doctors have deemed me unable to work full time but I do work part time, with some accommodations. My spouse is the primary breadwinner and makes around 3 times or so more than I do. There has been no misconduct on my part, meaning no adultery, no abuse, no drugs, etc. I suspect there may have been adultery, or at least the opportunity for it, on my spouse’s side but I have no proof. We have separate bank accounts but the majority of the income goes into “my” account which is essentially the household account. All bills, groceries, everything comes out of this account. My spouse has been threatening to remove that money and put all their income into their own account and leave me with nothing but my part time income. They are also threatening to leave the home. My spouse wants an amicable divorce which it will not be, I would be left with so little income I couldn’t even afford a place to live, and I ha e no family or friends to help me.

Is this legal, can my spouse do this? Would I have recourse to prevent this? Would I be likely to get alimony? I need to know my rights in a nutshell, as this could happen at any moment.

I know it’s best to actually get with an attorney and go over details but if my spouse found out it would be a bad situation. They are already somewhat verbally abusive and has pushed me into a wall before. Nothing more serious than that physically, but i am frequently called derogatory names, and despite my illnesses (autoimmune) has called me lazy and expects me to do everything at home because I only work part time. The house is not worth what was paid for it and my spouse thinks there will be money left from selling it, which I don’t think there will be. There is also a lot t of pushing and interference by my mother in law for my spouse to do these things.

I am frightened I will be left homeless and broke.

It would not be appropriate for your spouse to remove the money from your bank account, leave the marital residence, and not provide you with any spousal support. In fact, this could be considered marital misconduct on his or her part.

However, there is not much you can do to prevent him or her from doing this. Some spouses are able to negotiate and execute a separation agreement prior to a separation so that each spouse’s rights and obligations are clear when the separation occurs. This is not always possible. If your spouse were to do this, you would need to immediately file a court action for at least postseparation support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Based on the information you’ve provided, it sounds like you would be likely to receive postseparation support and alimony. You are eligible to receive spousal support if you are the spouse that has depended on the other for your maintenance and support, and if your spouse is the one that has provided for your maintenance and support throughout the marriage.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

Our home was purchased during our marriage. I am not on the loans but I AM on the deed. What does this mean in terms of a divorce? Can I be forced out of the house, and is it true that I may not be entitled to anything regarding the house, simply because I am only on the deed?

Sorry to double post, but another question I have is about alienation of affection. My mother in law is a meddler and constantly pushes her agenda and tells my spouse what to do. She has been hateful and spiteful since day one, she is a rude and mean woman to me. She has been so awful, and two years ago she abandoned her sick cat with us to go on vacation. I wound up being the one shouldering all of the home care and vet visits, eventually leading to having her cat euthanized. She abandoned this little guy just to vacation, hadn’t taken him to the vet for her illness in six months, leading to irreversible kidney failure. After the euthanasia, I told the woman flat out what a hateful, irresponsible person she is and that she is dead to me.

She recently purchased a vehicle outright for my spouse and specifically stated that I am not allowed to drive it. The insurance, property tax and all maintenance is paid for by my spouse and I, but the title is in her name. My insurance company told me that the vehicle is under my policy, she is not a driver on it, and my spouse could be covered under my policy or hers but not both. They also told me that because she is not a driver on my policy, but the vehicle is covered under my policy, that legally there is no reason I can’t drive it.

Her horrid behavior toward me is disrespectful, and my spouse allows it to continue, which is disrespectful. This is a huge part of why there is minimal affection between my spouse and I. No sex in at least five years. I resent her, and I resent my spouse, I will never come before her.

I don’t understand alienation of affection and if this even falls under that.

You are still entitled to one-half of the value of the marital residence, regardless of whose name is on the mortgage vs. the deed. Since it was purchased during the marriage, it is marital property. You cannot be forced out of the house for these reasons.

You could sue your mother-in-law for alienation of affection if you could prove that her acts were wrongful and malicious and that they were the cause of the loss of love and affection between you and your spouse.

Check out our article Infidelity and Alienation of Affection for more detailed information about the alienation of affection claim.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

Thank you so much for your help! :blush:

He has now gone around the house and taken photos of messy areas or places that need cosmetic repair. For example, we had some knicks in the painted walls from moving in, and my cat has gotten hold of loose drywall paper and peeled it. A place in the rug at my bedroom door (they aren’t allowed in there) where he scratched a bare spot. We have two rooms that are cluttered, one being my sewing room, another being the “catch all” room for stuff that needs a home. My health has been such that the clutter has gotten away from me. I don’t know what he intends to do with these photos. Can he use these photos against me? I would think things like this are both our responsibility, but he has a “you’re the wife it’s your job” mentality about housework.

He could be trying to show that you’ve not contributed your share in keeping the house clean and out of a state of disrepair. The ground of marital misconduct could be indignities rendering his condition to be intolerable and life burdensome. However, to prove this, he must be able to show that actions on your part have been persistent and repeated over a period of time.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.