My husband wants me to sign a non contested divorce decree but what about my financial rights? For example, we bought our anniversary rings on my credit and still owe 1,600.00. I now have bad credit due to this. Shouldn’t he be made to pay his 1/2 even though we used my credit. Also, I have incurred numerous medical bills while married. Is he responcible to help me or is all this dumped on me. I worked a whole year so my husband could remain unemployed and get disability…doesn’t he owe me something for doing this for him when we first got married four years ago? He is the one commiting adultry not me…Iv’e been faithful to my vows. If I sign on the line like he’s demanding now we’ve been separated 1 year, what about all these marital bills that are in my name because he had bad credit?? I am too broke to afford an attorney because he dumped every bill on me. The disability checks I helped him get by working my head off is now what he used to pay for his lawyer! What can I do??? Is there any justice?
NOT AN ATTORNEY
You need to consult with an attorney, whether or not you actually end up hiring one in the end. (You can get an initial consultation for several hundred dollars…Rosen may be able to do cheaper. It is worth it to get general guidelines and an action plan.) Do not sign what your husband is proposing, it is unfair. Equitable distribution is the term meaning that at the end of the marriage both the assets and debts that occurred during the marriage are divided between the two parties. (Anniversary rings would be marital property as would joint bills. I’m not sure about the medical.) In NC, it isn’t necessarily an equal division, but they try to make it “equitable”.
If you have any proof of the adultery (email of written admission, recorded phone call, verbal admission in front of witnesses favorable to you, etc) get it and keep it safe. You may need it to torpedo any claim on his part to obtain alimony from you. (Since you supported him during the last part of the marriage, he has a good claim for it unless you can show the court why he doesn’t merit it.)
FWIW, this site is an excellent resource to learn about the entire divorce process. Read as much as you can. Educate yourself as much as you can. Even if you can’t afford a lawyer, self education is the next best thing.
I don’t know what your situation is, but if you don’t own your own home, you may want to consider bankruptcy for a couple of reasons. You could put the bills you are trying to swing on hold while working all of this out, plus it can set a definitive budget as to what your monthly expenses are and what you can pay which can help in negotiations. It will severely damage your credit for about 8-10 years, but it could enable you to get a little bit of money free in the short term to get legal consultation.
You need to file a claim for Equitable Distribution as soon as possible. Once the divorce is finalized, you cannot ever file for ED. You need to split up your marital debts. I agree with athos: please try to get the money together to at least consult with an attorney. He doesn’t need your consent to file for divorce since you’ve been separated for one year, so you need to try to get ED filed before your court date for divorce is heard. Otherwise, yes, you will be left alone with all of the marital debts which are in your name.