Thank you for your advice. If nothing else, it gives me a little peace of mind.
About my (possible) eligibility for alimony, it was my understanding during my consultation with my attorney that I was eligible for alimony AND child support.
I am the dependant spouse. I have been a homemaker for the majority of our marriage and the mother of 3 children (one of which fought and survived Leukemia and STILL has to go once a year for check-ups to make sure it hasn’t come back). There were a few times where I did get work however, my husband was never supportive of my working (even though when I WASN’T working, he would complain about that), saying that we really couldn’t afford the child care costs as well as the fuel and maintenance on the vehicle I used to get back and forth. The ONLY time he supported me (or should I say insisted) on getting a job was when he wanted to purchase a riding lawn mower and wanted to use some of what I earned to help pay for it (even though we had a push mower). I also attempted to go to night school once but had to quit after one semester because my husband refused to support that, saying that he couldn’t watch the kids, AND that we couldn’t afford the gas for me to drive back & forth to school (my mother offered to pay my tuition and book fees).
During the entire duration of our marriage, he has worked for the same company. For years, he has been working a lot of overtime with the exception of the months during hunting season, when he takes some extra time off so he can hunt (By the way, he is using the hours he’s been working during hunting season as his proof of “income”, even though the rest of the year, he makes FAR more). This “hobby” seems to come first to him (before me or our sons). For example, when I became pregnant with our second son, I (and my husband) had been told that my pregnancy was to be considered “high risk”. When I went into labor, my husband was out hunting (as usual) and had left me alone with our 4 year old son even though he KNEW I was due any moment and that both I and our unborn child were at risk. I started hemorrhaging and I had trouble getting to the phone (we did not have a “cordless” phone. Naturally, my son was terrified that “mommy was going to die”. Once my husband came home and saw all of the blood, he at first thought someone had come into our home and literally killed us both, until he realized what had really happened and came to the hospital. However, once he got there, he did not ask if I (or our son) was okay, he instead complained because I had left the front door ajar!
For the duration of our son’s bout with Leukemia, AGAIN, hunting came first. Every time our son was scheduled for his chemo treatments, I was forced to take BOTH of our children because he refused to watch them (it interfered with his hunting). It’s hard enough watching a 17 month old baby being stuck with needles while he looks at his mother with eyes that say “why are you letting these people hurt me?”, but even worse when I also have a 5 year old (with LOTS of energy) to worry about.
In answer to your advice about how to determine whether or not I’d be eligible for alimony - pertaining to “marital misconduct” especially:
I NEVER had any affairs but quite the contrary - HE’S the one who had the affair. In fact, he is now living with the woman.
HE has been emotionally abusive for YEARS, in that no matter what I do, it is never “right”. If I start working, then I am “neglecting my wifely and motherly duties” - If I am NOT working, then I am “sitting on my fat behind refusing to work”. He has also always been constantly critical of our sons, making them feel “worthless” as well.
I have NEVER abused (or even DONE) drugs. As for alcohol, I couldn’t have ONE glass of wine without hearing him complain about “drinking in his house”, even though NOW, he drinks like a fish with his new girlfriend!
I do not believe I abandoned our marriage. I have spent all of these years taking care of him, our three sons AND our home and NEVER asked for anything in return (perhaps I should have?). I also did NOT put my husband out of the house. HE left on his own and I did not see it coming. In fact, it now looks as if he had been planning this for several months before he actually left.
I NEVER have spent money “recklessly” but in fact, have done everything I could to SAVE our family money by doing things like going to yard sales, flea markets and thrift shops to buy clothes for our kids and myself. He on the other hand has been the exact opposite - when it comes to HIM. He’s ALWAYS been a “tightwad” where we were concerned however, He never gave a second thought about purchasing everything he needed for hunting (and a hunting gun certainly isn’t cheap - AND he has purchased SEVERAL over the years). He also purchased a new motorcycle and even had a “custom paint job” done and didn’t ask my opinion as to whether or not we could afford it. He also used MY credit card to purchase leather chaps and a leather jacket (so he can ride his motorcycle during cold weather).
I would also like to bring to your attention that I have been COMPLETELY in the dark where our financial standing is concerned. All checking & savings accounts are in HIS name only. He had been hiding his check stubs for MONTHS before he left so I had no idea how much money he was making. Upon my last meeting with my attorney, my husband DID come up with ONE bank statement - dated back in JUNE. He has failed to show us any statements that are recent, so I have NO idea how much money he has. I DO know that he has (at least) one checking account and THREE savings accounts, one of which he took out in one of our son’s name - claiming he took this out for him (the son). However, he has not offered to give me ANY of this money to help with our boys, saying that he doesn’t want me spending the money on myself (something I’ve NEVER done to begin with).
I’m not sure what “willfully failed to provide necessary subsistence to the other party so as to render that parties’ life burdensome.” means so I’m not sure whether I’m at “fault” or not on that one.
Incidentally, I truely believe that my attorney (as well as many others) judges me on my appearance. I am “obese”. I was a comfortable size 12 after our first son turned 1 yr. old however, after the birth of our second son, I have had nothing but trouble in losing weight and instead have gained and gained. I believe this hinders my ability in finding a job as easily as my attorney says. I think his exact words upon our last meeting was “your ‘homework’ assignment is to go out and find yourself a job. Just keep in mind that you CAN’T get a job as a ‘Bank President’ at the start”. I couldn’t help but sense a hint of sarcasm in his voice when he said this. I feel that HE thinks that all I do is sit around eating bon-bons all the time. It really hurt my feelings and made me question whether or not he really has MY best interests at heart and I couldn’t help but feel that if I were a BEAUTIFUL, SKINNY woman, he’d be singing a different tune.
At one point during our marriage, I had joined a weight-loss program. In approximately ONE week, my husband was insisting that I HAD to quit the program because we “couldn’t afford the cost” (though he could afford to pay hunting dues and purchase hunting equipment). I also suggested at one time that the BOTH of us seek help through a marriage counselor to which he replied: “I ain’t going to any marriage counselor. YOU have the problem, not ME”.
I would like to seek counseling for myself now and have attempted to get some sort of help through DSS, however I have been unable to get any help because we have not signed any kind of separation agreement and they say they have to factor in how much money HE makes - even though he is no longer living in our home AND I have NO idea how much money he makes and HE has NO intentions of telling me.
In his “defense”, he has been paying the basic utilities although he refuses to give me any money toward paying off my credit card (the one HE used to buy his “leathers”). About 3 weeks ago (he moved out in June), he started giving me $160.00 per week to use for groceries and whatever the boys may need - and to HECK with what I may need! I would like nothing more than to be able to find myself a decent paying job, put all utilities in MY name so as not to be “dependant” upon him any longer! I’m not making “excuses” here, but for a woman with NO job experiences (except “homemaker”), who has THREE kids and a VERY unreliable mode of transportation, who is “overweight” to boot, it is most certainly easier said than done to just go out and “find a job”…
In closing, I would like nothing more that to get a second opinion from a different attorney however, I don’t have the money for a consultation fee and my present attorney has been “reminding” me that the longer this takes, the more money it’ll cost ME. I truely believe that if this were to go to court, I would not only get child support, but also alimony however, my attorney does NOT want this to go to court. Is the “the norm” with most attorneys?? Does it sound like he has my best interests at heart by saying that I’d really come out better in the long run by “settling” without going to court (because of the cost of the attorney fees)??
Originally posted by shonnese
I am sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like you already have an attorney, and you should definitely express these concerns to that person. Without knowing more, I can’t tell you whether you would be eligble for alimony. However, in North Carolina, alimony is based on dependency. If you are a dependent spouse, which it sounds like you are, then you are eligible for alimony. However, even a dependent spouse might not get alimony if they have committed acts of marital misconduct (having an affair), have been physically or emotionally abusive, have abused drugs or alcohol, have abandoned the marriage or put the other other spouse out of the house, have spent money recklessly, or have willfully failed to provide necessary subsistence to the other party so as to render that parties’ life burdensome.
Those are also grounds, as a dependent spouse (as long as you have not committed any of those things) that you can use to show a court that your supporting spouse should have to pay you alimony.
Additionally, you should insist that he pay you child support based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. See our website at rosen.com/childsupport/ for more information.
I would also suggest that you talk to a counselor on your own. It will certainly help you and your children deal with the transition, and all of the emotions attached to it.
If you are not satisfied with your legal representation, you are certainly able to talk to another attorney for a second opinion.
Shonnese D. Stanback
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.256.1534 direct voice
919.256.1667 direct fax
919.787.6668 main voice
919.787.6361 main fax
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 but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.