Thank you for the opportunity to ask a question. I welcome any and all input, but also hoping a lawyer will answer this.
I am inquiring on behalf of my daughter. She is married approx. 11 years, one child age 7. Husband became more controlling and abusive over past few years. There is, I suspect, a mental disorder or pathology with him; he tried to hang himself and threatened my daughter a number of times intimidating her with physical violence. Was choking her in recent event in which he said “I’m going to hurt you” and then began choking her and stoking her throat. He only released her b/c the little girl knocked on the bedroom door! This event finally made her leave with her daughter; she’s temporarily moved into apartment with her sister and she has the child with her–very crowded as her sister has a child also and it is only a 2 bedroom apartment. Police were called during the choking event that led to her leaving. She has a restraining order issued a week ago. She goes to some type of hearing this week and legal aid has assigned her an attorney.
They have only a 3bR-2 1/2 bath home and 2 vehicles between them. Aside from this, home furnishings (furniture, etc.)–no retirement fund, no 401-K … nothing along those lines. He works for NASCAR and sometimes is paid cash and no official W-2 situation in place at the moment. He was collecting unemployment for a while after a lay off from a racing team a few years back.
Two Vehicles–who gets to drive which? Can a judge make a temporary judgment about this when she goes to court this week to extend the restraining order? She ‘thinks’ the court this week is only for the extension of the restraining order but we’re not certain what the court this week will be for. She just left a week ago!
She HAD TO flee the home in fear of her safety… so he has possession of the home currently and also possession of the better (newer) vehicle which is financed with $7k still owed currently. He’s has auto mechanic experience and the car he convinced her to drive (while he drives the newer vehicle) is always breaking down and he’s always having to do repairs to it to keep it running. Somehow over the past few years he convinced her that she should drive the broken down car since she drives an hour to work and another hour back each day. He got her to believe that they should “save the new car from accumulating mileage”–so she drives the junk car that has no heat, no air-conditioning. They live in Mooresville and she works on the other side of Charlotte.
So HE has been driving the newer car (and still is), while for the past year, she drives a car that needs a quart of oil a day (and still is)! She seems to have some reservations about asking for the car b/c she’s concerned she can’t make the payments, but I keep telling her at the hearing to ask the judge (when she goes this week) if she can have the car until a settlement agreement can be arranged or a DE can be drawn up, etc.
She takes (irrational-?) comfort in the fact that the junky car is paid for and titled to her alone–and that he can’t (in her mind) take it. The newer vehicle is titled in both their names. Same with the house – that’s titled in both of their names too, they’re both on the mortgage.
She also has some reservations about asking for child support. She is still fearful and feels intimidated by him. I believe she is in a very shocked and confused–in an emotional state of mind; exhausted on so many levels! She absolutely (she says) DOES NOT want to go back to that house or to live in that house–and is fearful (even with a restraining order) to do that and simply wouldn’t live there again even if she could, she says. She would like to get her own apartment, but hasn’t had time to even figure out what she can afford or if this is possible.
[color=#8000BF][quote]BOTTOM LINE QUESTIONS:
[b]1. Will the judge at tomorrow’s court event be likely to ORDER him to pay child support–even if she is too fearful to ask for it? (If he does get ordered by the judge to pay child support, then she may be able to afford to make the car payment if she continues to live with her sister who has offered to let her stay for a year. We don’t know if she will accept this or not.)
Will the judge tomorrow order him to give her the newer, more reliable car if she wants to have it since HE has remained-in and has-current-possession-of the 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath home? As a concerned mother, I really don’t see the fairness in him staying in the home, keeping the best transportation and not having to pay child support!!!
What’s wrong with that picture!?
Is it likely she will be given custody tomorrow? I mean, does this happen in the first court thing she goes to? And does that hearing set up who gets what and those kinds of things temporarily until a separation agreement or EA is put in effect?
Her sisters and I are trying to help her and we aren’t clear about the difference between a SA and ED–even though I’ve spent hours on the Rosen website, I’m still not clear about the diff between Separation Agreement and Equity Distribution. Here’s what I think it means and tell me if I’m correct – if you will. A separation agreement distributes property and both parties discuss it, sign it and it gets notarized and is enforceable by the police. Is that right? (I think she needs legal representation with that b/c he seems to be able to convince her to give up her rights. He is older than her and this has been an undermining pattern the whole time they’ve been married. He’s 45 years old and she’s 33.)
SPECIAL NOTE: My daughter is very intelligent, and holds a very successful job for an insurance company and believe it or not she is a highly capable, organized, intelligent woman EXCEPT when it comes to him.
Her sisters and I both have seen how she, in the past, has “enabled” and defended him. She has been awakening to all of that but I don’t believe she is yet fully thinking clearly. In this area of her life she seems to be highly confused. She is an excellent mother and highly functioning in all areas of her life, except for the relationship.
Although she conveys to us that she absolutely does NOT want to ever be back in the marriage–that she seems to be absolutely clear about and has no illusions about going back. We totally believe her; it took her a long time to leave and she endured a lot of torment.
She hung in there as long as she could, but as these things go, it kept escallating from verbal and emotional to physical. Due to the economy and b/c of the child she tried really hard to stay in the marriage until the violence became unbearable. Personally, I wasn’t aware it was as bad as it was; but her sister’s knew. I just found out that he pointed a gun at her once and that he would wake her up at night ranting at her and all of this she told the police and they put it in the report. I’m concerned since she has no bruises or anything to “prove” aside from the police coming recently (that was the first time police called) that he may even try to even manipulate the judge by denying everything–except i think he did admit to trying to choke her and it’s all down on the police report, etc. So because he is able to emotionally manipulate her by playing the role of the victim himself (yeah, this guy is a piece of work! He throws masterful pity parties and uses some sort of idea he’s bi-polar and not on the right medicine to excuse himself), what does she do next? So the SA is something he agrees to and it gets notarized? And is enforceable?
He is trying to tell her that he should keep the house to have a place for their daughter to visit and to do that he can’t afford child support PLUS make the house payment; and he’s practically got her convinced!
What is the SA and ED and how do they differ? What is her next step>? And will the court (this week she goes to extend the restraining order with an attorney that was assigned to her from legal aid_) make any decisions about property and custody this week? I read something on your website about “MOTION FOR DISTRIBUTION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY” and what is that in comparison to an SA and ED?
To be able to consult a lawyer to have a SA or ED (or both? again, what is the diff?) drawn up in her situation… is there a way to give us an idea how much a lawyer fee would run approx in this situation?
There is probably not much (if any, but we don’t know) to be gained financially in selling the house… we just don’t know. But he will probably “squat” there and how does she go about 'FORCING THE SALE" of the house? What legal order does she need to get this done? With both of their incomes while they were together, they’ve struggled to make the payments as it was! I don’t think this guy is going to be able to pull off the mortgage payments himself. And I wouldn’t put it past this guy to have tried to convinced her to help him make the payments with some of her meager income!!! He was calling her every 10 min. while she was at work the day after she left him; that’s why she got the restraining order.[/quote][/b]
Any adivce or guidance is so appreciated. I’ve already learned quite a lot from your website and I’ve tried to get her to go through the information (we live several hours away) that I’ve sent her via email. But she’s had an exhausting week… had to call the police to go over to the house with her so she can get her clothes and the items needed for her daughter, plus be at work every day. The girl is emotionally exhausted and I’m trying to help so she doesn’t make any mistakes that put her at a disadvantage. I think she should ask for the car and her sisters and I will try to help her. Her sister said she can live there (even though it is very tight quarters!) for a while which will help her financially. She wants her own apartment but we don’t think she can afford it. [/color]
I think she also fears that if she takes possession of the newer car and he takes off on her or doesn’t pay child support she’ll be in a worse pickle… but why should she drive a piece of junk and he keep the good vehicle AND the house–??? So, how do you advise? This guy is a flight risk—he’s very emotionally unstabe and seems to have a strong connection with the daughter but her sisters and I have felt that alot of the strength of the connection was intentionally exaggerated for control purposes over his wife (my daughter). It hurts to even type that b/c one would really like to believe that he truly loves the child but again, this man hung himself in their kitchen area and was found unconscious with straps around his neck suspended from an over-the-door pice of workout equipment–while their daughter was upstairs. He has also, over the course of their marriage, slit his wrist twice, requiring stitches when he felt she was cheating on him (she wasn’t–but did have one episode of infidenilty, one occasion and it was – I think-- understandable under the circumstances she was living under that she probably was seeking comfort from the high degree of emotional stress) and has held her emotionally hostage threatening that she could not take the child if she left and also that he would kill himself. She was thankful her sister called the police–she would text them CODE YELLOW, CODE RED—red meaning, “call the police; it has escillated and I need help!” She said without the police he’d never have let her leave–those were her words, not mine. There were lots of CODE YELLOWS by the way.
Please help us—if this was your daughter, what would you advise that she do at the hearing and what are her next steps? And again, what is the difference between a Separation Agreement and a Distribution of Equity and what about that “Motion for distribution of personal property” thing? When do you use what?
Thank you very kinldy,