What are the laws concerning PSS?

Somewhat of an involved story but I’ll try to be concise…

A year ago discovered my wife was having an affair. Tried to work on reconciliation but she kept going back. I moved out to our vacation home in July '10 at her request to give her space to work on us. Yeah, right…For the next six months she continued to see him. Discovered this in Dec '10 and we agreed to divorce. I’m still living in vacation home.

During the entire time, including the six months of our separation, I was paying ALL bills. She makes about $2500 net a month from Unemployment and Child Support from previous marriage. I make about $4000 net a month. She’s not contributed any to bills other than food/gas for the kids and her vehicle. I pay both mortgages, insurance, all utilities, etc. I’ve been increasingly going into debt doing this, but I thought it was to save our marriage.

Until we are able to hash out a SA, do I still have to pay all her bills? One reason I did up to this point was to avoid any abandonment issues. Everything is in my name. I have separated all accounts but our joint checking. She recently took money from that too leaving a zero balance but expects me to keep putting money into it to pay all the bills.

My other question, is when does accumulation of assets stop in regards to ED? If I’ve been moved out since July does ED take the worth of all accounts then? Or does it take it now from December as that’s when we agreed to divorce. I have a S-Corp sole ownership business and I don’t want continued accumulation of money from this company as I work my a$$ of to go to her in an ED…doesn’t seem fair.

Last question…Does the 1 year 1 day start from July or December? I moved out in July not with the intent to divorce, but she obviously wasn’t sincere in her reason for me moving out either.

To summarize:

  1. When can I stop paying her bills

  2. When does accumulation of wealth stop becoming shared property?

  3. When does the 1 year 1 day time start?

Thank you so much

  1. Not a lawyer - but I believe now. Because your wife had an affair she is barred from receiving alimony. Just be careful not to damage your own credit. Since your wife is at fault, I would get a divorce from bed and board… get her out of the house. If you haven’t seen a lawyer you should.

  2. On date of separation.

  3. When you are living separate and apart without intent to reconcile.

Thanks…In Erin’s absence I was hoping you’d reply…

  1. I understand barring from Alimony but everything I’ve gleaned from reading is that PSS is separate and can be awarded regardless of infidelity. Therefore, I need to be careful as I’m sure the courts would look at my paying all her bills for the last 6 months as the defacto standard of PSS. It’s putting in me in debt however, and I’d like her to start sharing the burden.

  2. Okay…I guess 2 and 3 are related so…

  3. That’s an interesting dilemma. I left last July in an effort to save the marriage (I know…biggest fool alive). However for the next 6 months she continued her affair and hid/lied about it. Therefore, can I reasonably argue that while I didn’t leave with the intent to divorce, she didn’t have intent to reconcile either as she was using the separation to continue her affair. So it comes to semantics…Is the law ‘without intent to reconcile by both parties’ or ‘with intent to divorce’. Seems to make a BIG difference in my case.

Regarding (1) - You’re correct, PSS is different than alimony and is not determined by fault. However, I believe it is still only to meet her reasonable needs and is influenced by your ability to pay. It’s possible she may say no, but you should just write/tell her that you can no longer afford all the bills, and that she needs to contribute. If not, then you will be forced to cancel any extraneous services.

When dealing with contentious divorces, it’s best to have an attorney. They’re expensive but (so long as you have a good one) are there to look out for your best interests and can help you through the process and guide your decisions.

(3) - Your guess is as good as mine on that one! Sorry I don’t know the answer.

You do not have to pay her bills, and I suggest you pay only what is necessary to ensure your credit is protected and your children (if any are biologically yours) are provided for.

The accumulation of assets which are included in the distribution ends at the date of separation. Any thing you have acquired since July is yours separately.
Your year of separation began in July, as it is apparent your Wife intended to remain separated at that point.

The judge can award PSS even if there is blatant evidence that your STBX is having an affair. This is to keep the kids from being impoverished, I believe. In my case, my Ex had an affair, PI photos and all, and still got PSS. She was a SAHM with no income, though.

I strongly suggest that if there is a PSS order make sure it has an expiration date. Otherwise, your ex can delay getting an alimony decision for a long time, and you will have to pay PSS until then. PSS is supposed to expire when there is a final alimony decision, but if you can delay the alimony decision, she keeps collecting.

Been there done that.
Good luck.