Where/How do I begin

I forgot to ask, is it a good idea to go to marriage counceling, even if you really don’t think it will change your mind? Does it ‘look good’ to the courts?

I suggest that you begin by using a little money and consulting an attorney. Consultations usually are minimal. A separation agreement could be considerable help in this situation since he will likely want to protect his business. You could have an agreement drawn up stating that you will not go after the business providing he pays you $x amount in alimony for a specified period of time. If you want to suggest a time frame for the alimony to end and you to begin to work again, that would be ideal for an agreement.

It may be a good idea to start gathering documentation now instead of waiting. Bank statements, personal and business (if you have access), children’s medical records or since you mentioned abuse, police reports.

You must understand that 1/2 of everything, bank accounts, home(s), 1/2 of his share of the business, furniture, all marital assets, is yours. Regardless of whether or not the bank accounts or mortgage have your name on them, the money in the accounts and the equity in the home up to the date of separation is to be divided equally.

You are the dependent spouse which means that if you file for post separation support/alimony you will likely get it unless he could show the courts that you have been unfaithful.

The marriage counseling is entirely up to you. If you want to attempt to salvage your marriage, then counseling is a good start. If you go into counseling with the mind set that you do not want the marriage to work, then counseling will not help. It possibly would look good to the courts that you attempted this but it will be a waste of time if you do not want this marriage to work.

The first step is the hardest. It’s scary to leave a situation that you are comfortable in though you may be miserable and go into something that is different.
Some things to keep in mind if you leave: Custody, until decided by court or agreement, is joint. Meaning that you both have equal rights to custody with the children. This is something else that you could have put into the agreement, the primary physical custody and visitation schedule. Most attorney’s will not include this voluntarily since this is a separate issue with the courts but if you can work it out between you and get it added to an agreement, the less likely you will be to end up in court over it.
Do not force the children to choose. They love you both and will not understand why they can’t be with both of you. They will be scared and sad and angry.
You are the only one that can make this decision. You, your children and your spouse are the only ones that will be living with the repercussions of this decision.

If the abuse is more than a one time occurance and is a factor then there are shelters that you can go to if you leave and it should not have much affect on your claim to the marital assets.

The first step is generally with an initial consultation with an attorney, even if you do not have the funds to retain an attorney an initial consultation is generally only a few hundred dollars and can give you advice specific to your situation. It is hard for me to answer such a general question about what you should do moving forward without knowing your specifics.

If you are suffering from domestic violence you should seek a protective order to provide for your safety and the safety of your children. If you need a protective order you can hire an attorney or seek assistance through Interact.

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

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.

I have been contemplating divorce for quite some time now.
We have been married for 3 1/2 years, living together for 7 years.
I have not worked for 6 years. We have 2 children, one is my biological child but his through a step-parent adoption.
I have endured some abuse, I have no access to any of the ‘funds’. Everything is in his name. He is a partner in all of his businesses owning 20% in most of the different venues. Him and his partners are going to be investing in one more in the mext few months.
I do receive a small paycheck through one of his businesses, but this is only in order to be included in the group health insurance.
I will begin looking for a job as soon as my son starts school this new school year.
We do own a second home nearby, but I do not know if it would be wise to take the children and leave.
I do not know where to start, or how. I do not have any money since everything is in his accounts in his name.
Where do I start? Will I get any post-separation support?
I am a little scared making this step.