Separated


#1

My husband and I are separated and I each have our own lawyers. My lawyer has confused me by talking court and alimony one time and then talking about how he and I will talk out the division of our stuff by ourselves. We have only been married a few years so I know that alimony and support wouldn’t be much or for long, but I could really use the chance to get back on my feet. He wants me to pay all the bills and walk away even though he made more money and I am under financial duress due to major health bills coming in. I am limited somewhat financially I guess (but could absolutely ask my brother for a loan), and maybe this is why my lawyer talked to me like this? Would going to court open a giant can of worms? Also, he took all the files in the filing cabinet when I was in the hospital and I have no idea about any of our bills, mortgage, equity, taxes, NOTHING. How can I request copies of all this data? What should I be asking my lawyer to be doing…


#2

Not an Attorney

You should be asking your lawyer to file for a motion of discovery (not sure if that’s the correct legal language) to compel your ex to hand over copies of all financial documents. That’s step 1. Until that happens, you cannot in good faith negotiate a settlement in or out of the courts if you don’t know what you have. Once you have the documents (statements, tax returns, W2’s, etc.) you’ll have a better idea of what a good property division would consist of, and then you can decide if your ex is being reasonable with any distribution offer, or if you’ll need the courts to intervene and settle the property dispute. Hopefully, once educated with the financial picture, you’ll be able to negotiate outside of court and resolve your issues amicably.


#3

wcom’s advice was good. Your attorney needs to conduct discovery to assist you with getting a better idea of the financial assets and the ability to pay support before you can reasonably enter settlement negotiations. Having a hearing may be necessary, but I think that it is too premature to know if that is required.