My daughter has given her husband the proposed separation agreement. If he refuses to sign, what should her next steps be? I have heard of divorce from bed and board. Would that be appropriate in this case? and could that court order force her husband to share in common home expenses?
Typically the response to a proposed separation agreement is not “no”, but a counterproposal. If your daughter’s husband’s response is unreasonable and they are still living together they will have to separate before she can file an action with the court for the division of property and for support.
A divorce from bed and board is an action that allows the court to remove one spouse from the home based on misconduct (abuse, adultery and alcohol abuse are the most common). If there has been no misconduct on his part your daughter will have to move out before she can proceed with an action for the distribution of property and support.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by an “action for the distribution of property and support”?
Once a couple separates physically, then legally, either spouse can proceed with the actions of support and property distribution through the courts. She can ask for spousal support (if she is eligible), child support (if applicable) and a distribution of property. You can’t go through these processes if you’re still living together.
For example, if the husband moves out, then the wife can ask that she keep possession of the house and ask that the husband continue to pay the mortgage. OR He can ask the court to have the house put up for sale as soon as possible. Distribution of bank accounts, other property and so forth can be asked for also. This is the preliminary part of Equitable Distribution. Anything can be asked for…it’s up to the courts to grant it if it can’t be agreed upon between the wife and husband.