STBX in Denial


My fiance’ ‘started the clock’ on the official separation in early summer, 2009. Now the STBX is (once again) without a lawyer, has torn up and returned multiple versions of a separation agreement, has refused to meet for mediation since prior to the start of the separation, is playing games with access to the couple’s children, etc. If they get to the point of a year and a day - with no signed separation agreement - what happens? I understand it is possible to finalize a divorce even if the STBX continues to do everything possible to hold the process hostage. But what happens to the jointly held home STBX is living in but not currently paying mortgage on, demands for unrealistic amounts of maintainance, custody (STBX vaciliates between wanting to dump the kids and leave the state and demanding full or joint custody), etc?


If a divorce is entered prior to a settlement on property distribution both parties’ lose their right to have the court distribute the martial property and it passes by title. The parties’ will continue to own the home jointly as both names are on the title, but the process to divide the home (force a sale or buyout) must be perused through the laws of real property and the process can be much more complicated. The best route to take is to include a claim for Equitable Distribution of property in the complaint for divorce, as this preserves the right to the claim while still allowing the divorce to go through.


Wow…ok - what about the custody issues? Does a judge still decide placement for the children if no separation agreement is in place? Will it mean several more months (years?) after the year-and-a-day have passed before the divorce can be finalized if no agreement is in place? And if the STBX refuses to get another lawyer, ignores communication attempts from my fiance’s lawyer, won’t engage in productive conversation related to a settlement, etc. how is a fair amount of maintainance calculated - is there a formula for this similar to the starting-point formula for calculating child support? Does a STBX’s history of stalking, harrassment, and stalling the process by refusing to cooperate with it usually make any difference in these kinds of situations if it is left to a judge to determine custody or maintainance?


Custody can be agreed to, or decided by the court at any time regardless of the timing of divorce.

If the other side does not engage in the process a court action should be filed to ensure custody and support are established. The other party’s actions of stalking and harassment may be relevant in a determination of custody if those actions are found to affect the best interests of the child, however, a refusal to negotiate a settlement is irrelevant and inadmissible in court.

Child support is indeed based on a calculation using the gross incomes of both parties, medical insurance expenses for the child, and any day care costs for the child. There is a child support calculator on this website which you can use to estimate the amount of child support in your particular case.


Is there a formula used to determine maintainance?

And thank you for your prompt and direct, ‘no-nonsense’ responses to my questions.


The child support calculator.