Separation papers


#1

Dear Messedup:

First, let me say that this would be emotionally traumatic for me, so I can only imagine how you are dealing with this today. Let’s deal with the most important issue first. She cannot force you to leave the marital home unless there is domestic violence. In the event that you come home one night and the locks are changed, you can illicit the assistance of the local Sheriff’s office to help you back into the home.

Second, if you do not sign the papers, which you should not until you have an attorney review them, her only recourse would be to take you to court to divide your assets, deal with custody and child support, or request alimony.

You will want to stay in the home, do not pack your stuff yet. Go for a consultation with an attorney and get the agreement reviewed. Remember that once this agreement is signed, it can dictate financial decisions (and other decisions - like the amount of time you will see your daughter) for the rest of your life. Don’t sign anything until you have been advised and you are ready to. Best of luck with this and let us know how it works out!

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
NCDivorce.com
919-787-6668

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.


#2

Me again.

I am a wreck of unimaginable proportions. I love both my wife and my daughter immensely, and I’m cried out for now (I hope). Last night I didn’t sleep, but I did alot (!!) of reading online. All stuff about how traumatic divorce is for kids, etc. Scary stuff. And it frankly pisses me off that she’d even consider something like this without discussing it first. And yes, this was Out. Of. The. Blue.

I told her this a.m. that I wouldn’t willingly let her “damage” our daughter. She comes from an emotionally “distant” family of three children. My wife is the only sane one of the bunch. Her brother & sister are both emotionally immature, and the father (mother died) has no relationship whatsoever with the eldest sister (not my wife). He “browbeats” his son for not being more business-minded. Sad, because the son is a wonderful person. All heart. And he no self-esteem whatsoever. My family, on the other hand, is “touchy feely”. In fact, my wife and my mother are best of friends! Interesting dynamic, no?! My mother, also, cried all night. I talked with her this a.m., and she reminded me that my wife had never - NOT ONCE!! - been told “I love you” by her mother. I taught her father to hug, and now he’s a big “expresser”. You’d think he had received a Father Of The Year plaque. Not fond of that man, I tell you!! Expression was alien to them all, and now, ironically, it’s me who has difficulty expressing his emotions. I’ve been so depressed for several years (business related), and I believe my biggest problem is that I don’t currently love myself. Oh, I’m still an arrogant sob, of sorts, but something’s happened upstairs over the last several years which I cannot CONTROL. So, as you might imagine, I lash out at those closest to me, and my wife has caught the brunt of my frustrations. Again - feels silly reiterating this, there’s no abuse here. She would argue the existence of emotional abuse, but . . . Hell, I wouldn’t consider conceding her that one.

Question: Awhile back, we transferred our home into a family trust controlled by, you guessed it, her father. Will this affect your reply? Will she still be unable to “evict” me?

I was holding my daughter this a.m. and broke down crying, which, of course, she didn’t understand. And here I go again, dammit. I told her I was crying because she made me happy. And she does. We BOTH got a good laugh at my daughter this a.m. She’s ten, and she’s very nervous and concerned about her upcoming cotillion. She will have to dance with - gross!! - boys! At that point, my mind raced forward a few years, wondering whether or not I’ll be able to shepherd her through the dating process.

I’m not an extremely religious person - far too much cynicism and skepticism in me for that, but if there is a God, I could certainly use a favor or two!!

Thanks so much for your time.


#3

Dear Messedup:

You are not the only one who has been “blindsided” by the divorce process, although I am sure it feels that way now. I would suggest that you take the initiative to go and speak with a mental health professional - someone neutral to the situation to listen to your anguish. Most insurance plans cover the costs of counseling.

The trust would have to be looked at by an attorney, to see how it works and if you have dissolved of marital property. My suggestion is to make an appointment with an attorney and a mental health professional. Goint to a counselor can also be a positive thing for you in a custody case (showing the judge that you properly handled the emotional backlash from the sudden decision of your spouse to separate from you). Best of luck and keep your head up.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
NCDivorce.com
919-787-6668

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.


#4

One more and I’ll leave you alone with this:

Tonight when she came home, I told her that I wasn’t leaving.

As our home is owned outright by the trust, she said her father would just ask us both to leave. She told me that she’d get an apartment on her own (with our daughter) if I didn’t. (There is no lease - nothing.)

If this happens, what can I do? If she gets an apartment, could I force her to consider that MY home too!? Alternatively, could her father ask me to leave this home (and not her).

Our current home can no longer be considered marital property as it is owned by her father’s trust.

Thank you, and I’ve made an appointment with a counselor on Monday morning.


#5

Dear MessedUp:

Unfortunately, no you cannot make her think of her apartment as your home too. Congratulations on setting the counseling appointment. Next, make an appointment with an attorney. It sounds to me like this trust is going to take your home away (potentially) and I seriously doubt that was the reason or goal of the trust in the first place. See a board certified family law specialist as soon as possible and best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
NCDivorce.com
919-787-6668

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.


#6

I have been married for 2 years this past April and I have been separated 2 times in the past 2 years. I can honestly say I married for the wrong reason, of which I was preganant. But before I we got married, I did not pay any attention to the sign, but after I married, I found out that my husband was on drugs. And after he told me, because of the random money being missing and his mood swings, my life began to be the worst that I could have imagined: jealous, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse. During the first time of separation, he committed adultrey, we worked it out, becuase my whole person of the separation was for him to realize what he was doing to his family. It was good a little after that and then his drug problem continued to increase, he even lost his job for the harassment he was given me at work. He made promises after promises, through the separation and we got back together again. Well it is still going on and things are not going to change, I am trying to stay a strong wife and be there for my husband, as our vows stated through thick and thin times. Well I can’t continue doing this and living this life. We don’t have any real property together other than our son. I want to do this the right way, but I can’t afford a legal separation. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fighter, that is why the phsyical abuse only last a short period of time. I don’t have anyone that I am close with to talk to or to get guidence, that is why I married like I did. I need help, I was thinking of just getting a legal separation, having the papers served, as well as getting a hotel room for him for a week, that way he can say I did not kick him out, becuase the apt. is in my name and my name only, my car is in my name and my name only, but on the other hand his card still has my name on it, my bank account has my name and my name only it. Please helpwrongfulthoughts.


#7

Dear Wrongfulthoughts:

Greetings. Wow - you are in a bad situation and apparently are looking to make some positive changes in your life. I understand your situation, but I do suggest you at least contact legal services in your area to see if they can assist you.

First, there are no such things as “legal separation papers.” You are not alone in thinking that you must have some paper or legal document to say that you are separated, but you don’t. On the date that either party leaves the marital residence to reside elsewhere, and one of the parties intends the separation to be permanent, you are legally separated. You can draft up a separation agreement and both of you can sign this, determining how your property rights, alimony payments, child custody, and child support will be, but you do not need one to be separated (although I highly recommend it)

So, that brings us to how to bring the separation into existence while you are living together. It sounds to me like you have enough reason to go to court to file an action for domestic violence. Not only does he threaten and intimidate you (even if you can defend yourself, you should not have to), but he also continues to harass you. You can file this action by yourself and you may even want to contact Interact here in Raleigh (or your local domestic violence assistance shelter) who will gladly explain your options to you. With a domestic violence action, you can actually have the abusing spouse removed from the residence. Best of luck on your new life ahead, which will be filled with options, decisions, hard choices, hope, and good memories!

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
NCDivorce.com
919-787-6668

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.


#8

I have a fairly complicated situation, but at the same time, I think, it may not be. I have been married for going on 4 years. My husband and I got married really not knowing each other that well. At first, we were happy with the few marital problems that everyone has. By the way, I have a child by another man so that is not an issue. My husband then started doing drugs also, and abusing me as well. We managed to come through that ok too. Although, the mental abuse has never stopped , at least he quit hitting me. I know this still isnt right. He has been through about 30 jobs in 4 years and has always depended on me to pay the bills and to supply the money even though I never wanted to take on that roll I was forced to. Someone has to do it! For the last year though, he has been telling me he has a job and been going somewhere, until it is time for his check to come. Then he confesses telling me he never had the job and was doing it to protect me. He has done this 3 times. I am tired of it. In the same amount of time, he has racked up a lot of medical bills so he could get access to a lot of drugs and wouldnt be expected to work. So, on top of everything, I guess I am now resposible for his bills. I have paid all of mine when I needed medical attention. I am so sick and tired of all of this! In the spare time I had, I went back to school and now have a great job. Not so much money, but a lot of satisfaction. I met a man there and I have fell in love. I dont think I would have if not being constantly “slapped in the face” by my husband. I told my husband that I wanted to seperate and a divorce and he has left the house. We have bought a few things together…not much. We rent. But whatever we have bought together, he can have if he will just leave me alone! I just want my life back, not material things. What should I or could I do?


#9

Dear Angie:

Greetings. I am sorry to hear about your spouse’s abuse, drug problem, and continue shocking behavior. First, if your spouse has used the bills to obtain drugs for his habit, I would argue that the medical bills are not for a marital purpose and therefore his separate debt totally.

Now, the court also looks at both the duration of the marriage and all fault during the marriage - like your husband’s drug addiction and inability to maintain gainful employment, and can order very little to no alimony. Alimony amounts and duration are in the judge’s discretion.

Therefore, I would draft up a separation agreement with you keeping what you have and him keeping what he has, with waivers of alimony and equitable distribution and not budge on negotiating those things, as he would obviously not have the funds for litigation - nor do I think he would do well in court. Keep your head up and be thankful that you are now in a better situation alone.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
RosenDivorce.com
919-787-6668

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.


#10

So, what you are saying is that I need to talk with a lawyer about getting a seperation agreement? I dont necessarily want anything we have purchased together, I just want to be divorced and not liable for any of his bills. My dad told me that I could run an add in the paper or something like that saying I was not liable and that may would get me off the hook. Also, is it true that there is no need for seperation papers per sey, you are seperated if both have different residence? What about his bills that I am paying right now? I would much rather take the money that I am shucking out for his bills and buy GROCERIES! I havent even got the money for that. I am paying my bills, his bills, and trying to raise a child on a $8.50 an hour salary. I just dont think it is fair to have to pay for a “child” that I didnt have. Especially, if he is able to work on his on but is just lazy. He odesnt pay his bills because he is trying to punish me for not wanting to be with him anymore. I just dont think I deserve all of this.


#11

Dear Angie:

Greetings. Yes, I am saying that you need to speak with an attorney to have a separation agreement drafted. In NC, we divide both assets and debts in the equitable distribution. Your father is incorrect in saying that running an advertisement in the paper saying you are not liable would get you off “the hook” for the marital debts.

In NC, you are legally separated when you live in separate residences and at least one of you intends the separation to be permanent.

Finally, stop paying his bills if they are in his name. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
RosenDivorce.com
919-787-6668

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.


#12

Last night, I was served separation papers by my wife of nearly 19 years. We have one daughter. There has been no spousal abuse or adultery, etc., but, admittedly, our marriage hasn’t been a particularly happy one for several years - largely due to my depression.

What happens if refuse to leave or sign the papers? How long do I have to get my “stuff” together before she can force me to leave?