Separation Agreement Anxiety


#1

My advice is that he should not commit to an agreement he does not feel he can afford to follow through on. His next step should be to consult with an attorney to find out what a reasonable amount of alimony is. If her request for alimony is reasonable then it might be reasonable to see if he can make the proposal work, if it is not reasonable, the attorney can give him some idea of what he should do.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com/live for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#2

The attorney says that the alimony he can afford after bankruptcy is about 1/2 of what she wants and about a 1/3 less time than she is requesting. Unfortunately, he cannot afford to pay the retainer to his attorney to settle this in court and still afford child support.

STBX will not agree to mediation because her attorney says that they can get the full alimony out of him, plus attorney/court costs. She has said that she will accuse him of marital misconduct and child abuse. (False, of course, but stuff he would have to defend, which complicates things more.)

Not sure where they are getting his financials from. He sent them his bills and pay stubs upon request, so not sure how they’ve worked out that they can get that out of him unless they are counting the fact that he’s attempted to pay her alimony up to this point on good faith by taking out loans from the bank and on his credit cards, which are now all closed off because of his bankruptcy. I’ve had to buy him and his kids food for the last couple of months because he cannot afford to make these payments.

He cannot afford to fight and he cannot afford to sign. Her family is footing the bill to her attorney and his family can’t afford to help him because his dad has a terminal illness and large medical bills. I cannot financially help him anymore either.

Is there anything that can be done or is he just screwed any way he turns?


#3

GOSH! I can only give you advice from personal experience.

DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING YOU CAN’T LIVE WITH. I can not stress that enough. Fortunately, I had money for a lawyer. I have a hard time believing that a court would put someone into the red in order to pay alimony. I think if the husband could make it to court and had all his bills and what not in evidence then the judge would see what is and what’s not possible. Many men get desperate to end things by signing whatever they can. THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. He will be bound by the agreement…period. He MUST go see a lawyer for consultation. It will be 300-500 dollars he can’t afford NOT to spend.

When I was in court, I saw several men being represented by a court appointed lawyer. Is there a service like that available in your system. I don’t know any details on if they were free or at a lower rate, but he really has to look into it. Don’t let him get bullied by some hotshot lawyer. If they know he’s not represented, they could take advantage of his legal ignorance.


#4

Thanks. He has already consulted with his attorney several times, but can no longer afford to pay her and cannot afford her retainer at all. I would like to know that if she brings him to court to get alimony and such, would he be able to get an attorney appointed to him by the courts or at least a reduced-rate attorney?

It’s really stupid that she’s wanting to spend $10-30k to fight over several hundred dollars per month that he can’t pay, just so that she doesn’t have to work more than 15 hours a week and can have a very active social life. In the end, she might…might come out about 5-10k ahead if she won, but good luck in getting what he doesn’t have and won’t have…and then she’ll just have to spend more money to try to get it enforced. Meanwhile it takes resources out of their kids’ mouths just so she can have the satisfaction of ‘winning’.


#5

He will not get a court appointed attorney, unfortunately they are only available when a person may face jail time. If he is going to represent himself I would suggest he spend some time in court watching other trials to get an idea of how other people do it.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com/live for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#6

Husband can’t afford to go to court, and he also can’t afford to pay the alimony the STBX is asking for. As is, he is about to file bankruptcy and is already working two jobs just to afford child support and his living expenses which are well below the average for the area. The alimony she is demanding for the next 8-12 years will put him in the hole $300 every month, even with the 2nd job.

The STBX has bought the children outlandish gifts for Xmas, gotten plastic surgery, bought a blackberry and cell phones for all the kids since the separation, and refuses to work more than 15 hours a week.

Husband feels trapped and being forced into signing the separation agreement with alimony payments he can’t afford simply because he can’t afford to fight the STBX in court either and her attorney is one of the more litigious in the area. (He shows up quite frequently in case law.) I’ve told him not to sign, to go ahead and file and work it out in court, but he thinks that if he just signs the papers, then the court costs will be far less in the long run. Does anyone have any advice?