Question #211

First – My husband and I have been married (in NY)almost 21 yrs.- both NY residents and I have for the most part been a stay at home mom during our marriage (we have a 19 yr old college student living at home which her college funds are paid for out of our account. – Husband is a Lt. in the FDNY – (he is 54 yrs. old), and WE own our home-mortgage free -worth approx. $250,000-$300,000. He earns anywhere from $78,000-$95,000 a yr. -Over the years – my husband has been mentally abusive to me more each year- but I have been too scared to voice it to anyone as it is he who is the one that “puts the bread and butter on the table.” The mental abuse has mounted to the point- that I am at wit’s end. A few years ago- I had three heart attacks in one yr -leading to a triple bypass. the finality of it all- I am disabled – with oxygen and have cardiac heart failure, COPD(emphysema), and Hypertension-which he is the major contributing factor. -He has always handled all the finances, and I have no idea of what stocks, bonds, etc. are being deducted out of his paycheck. I have no income and qualify for absolutely nothing – i.e., Disability. I am unable to work, as well. -Even though this has been going on for years- for the past year – I live/sleep in a separate room in our home. I have talked to him about getting a divorce – and he offered me pocket change if it is uncontested. I did some reading on my own – and gave no reply. -He said he talked to some friends at the firehouse – and they told him that I HAVE NO GROUNDS … -Since I have no income- I can’t afford an attorney and don’t know what to do. I’m at the point that if I can’t get a divorce from his that will comfortably support me for the few years, I have left — I hope the next heart will be my last, so I don’t have to deal with him. Please guide me. By the way- many years back when I was in better health and went to various FDNY functions with him – I used to overhear all kinds of stories of tricks some of these guys use to hold onto as much as they can during a divorce….. Many thanks

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Question #213

We have been married for eight years and are filing for divorce and live in Rochester, NY. Am I entitled to alimony? Someone told me I would have to be married at least ten years.

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Question #215

I was hoping you could help me out with a serious problem I’m having. I live in NY State, and I am engaged to a man WHO IS separated from his ex for about five years. When he decided it was time to start divorce proceedings, he hired a lawyer. His lawyer went to the courthouse to get a copy of the separation agreement only to find out that it had never actually been filed with the Court, although both my fiancé and his ex had lawyers at the time. So, our lawyer decided he would base the divorce on abandonment, which was acceptable for both parties. So, here’s the kicker. My fiancé (Jim) and his ex have two children together. Jim pays $126.32/wk in child support out of a $300/wk income as so ordered by the family court judge, so obviously money is tight in our home. Anyway, when Jim’s lawyer contacted his ex about the divorce, she wrote him an e-mail stating that she would only sign the papers if he agreed to the following terms.. 1) He must take out at least a $100,000 per kid life insurance policy on himself making his kids sole beneficiaries. 2) He must pay for half of the medical care, dental care, etc. until they are 21 or have completed college. 3) He must pay for half of all the kids’ extracurricular activities. Including books, sports equipment, tennis lessons, piano lessons, swimming lessons, summer camp, dance lessons, etc. 4) He must pay for half of the kids’ college tuition and any bills they may incur for college. Right now, the kids are covered by CDPHP for their doctors’ bills and such and will be covered by Jim’s employment’s insurance should he have that available in the future. Jim pays for the kids to play little league and soccer and the things kids do around here. We live in a small town in upstate NY and make modest incomes, but Jim’s ex is living a dream. She complains about money problems but puts the kids in piano and karate lessons, which they don’t even like, just to keep up with the Jones’. We could only imagine, if Jim is forced to pay half of these things, she would be enrolling the kids in everything she could find. As far as paying the college goes. There is no doubt that Jim will help his kids in any way he can to put them through college if he has the resources to do it, but it sounds unreasonable to ask him to pay half the expenses. With all the legal aid and such out there, he doesn’t feel he should be written into something like that. And there is no way that on Jim’s salary he can afford two life insurance policies. Jim is an only child who takes care of his father, who uses a wheelchair for $300 a week and $126.32 comes out of that every week. He just can’t afford any of this. So, it seems that neither Jim nor his ex is willing to budge on this matter. She is a very spiteful woman, and there is no way she will change her mind about this. We are about ready to cut our losses and see if we can get back any of our money from the lawyer. But what I want to know is how long this can go on. Can she just hold out on these demands and never sign the divorce papers? Will Jim have to give in and let her have what she just wants to get this divorce finalized? Is there ever going to be a point where a judge says “enough is enough” and grants my fiance a reasonable divorce? I’m sorry this letter turned out to be so long, but I just don’t know where else to turn. Jim’s lawyer doesn’t specialize in divorce, and he isn’t much help on this matter. I would appreciate it if you could please give me some advice. Thank you so much.

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Question #218

My husband had an affair in 2005 a month after my dad passed away. He lived with me but continued to be with this girl he works with, until Sept 4, 2005, and then left me and moved in with “the girlfriend.” We are not legally separated, and he only pays me 502.00 every paycheck (per his lawyer) for child support. He has not paid anything for the mortgage or a loan that is in both of our names. I am falling farther and farther behind in these payments. Is he responsible to pay for them since he abandoned our 2 sons and me? If so, how do I go about it? I feel my lawyer is not working for me and am in pursuit of another. My husband is a big control freak, and for doing what he did, I feel everything is going his way. HELP!

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Question #219

I live in upstate New York. We have been married for 8 yrs. We have a prenuptial, I think, is invalid. I had no attorney and was presented the papers ten days before our marriage and never even saw an attorney. There has been documented domestic violence. My husband bought the land with an old house on it before we married. We knocked down the old house after we were married and built a new house for which we have no mortgage. I have paid all the household maintenance bills and contributed to the raw material of the new house. I have recently been put out of work on social security Disability never to go back to work, he made 138,000 last years but said I am entitled to nothing. We have no children together. Please advise.

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Question #221

I live in upstate New York. We have been married for 8 yrs. We have a prenuptial, I think, is invalid. I had no attorney and was presented the papers ten days before our marriage and never even saw an attorney. There has been documented domestic violence. My husband bought the land with an old house on it before we married. We knocked down the old house after we were married and built a new house for which we have no mortgage. I have paid all the household maintenance bills and contributed to the raw material of the new house. I have recently been put out of work on social security Disability never to go back to work, he made 138,000 last years but said I am entitled to nothing. We have no children together. Please advise.

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Question #223

We both got married in New York, and now he has moved to Florida. We have been married for 11years and separated for 8yrs (not legally) I would like to file for a divorce, but the only thing he has suggested is an uncontested divorce. Still, at this time, I know he is hiding a lot and does not want me to know anything, as he keeps on pressuring me to sign papers, but don’t want me to read anything which I have refused. He is a lawyer, but at this time, I don’t know if he is practicing in Florida. My question Is, I would also like to file for alimony support, but how do I go about doing that as at this time. I need some financial help to support myself and be able to go back to school to help me better. I don’t have any money, only bills, and can barely keep my head afloat. Is this something I can do myself, but how does he get served since he lives in Florida? How do I find out about what he is doing as the man is very secretive and has mentioned that he will not give me anything? Please Advise.

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Question #228

I live in Long Island and have been married for 20 years. My marriage hasn’t been easy through the whole marriage. I have two children who live with us, one is underage, and the other one is 19. I have questions about how to start this process. I can say that I’m nervous about it because I might be left with nothing. He has kicked me out of the house every time we argue, but many of my friends tell me he can’t do that. He makes good money, the house is under his name, and he pays the mortgage. He has mentioned that the house is under the kids, including my stepson. I am on Social Security Disability for about five months. Can he throw me out of the house? Will my younger child receive any money? He said I would not see a penny, meaning any alimony. I just want to leave this house and find an apartment for my kids and me, but I don’t have the money for it. If he sells the house, will I get anything? I have no money saved because he has told me I have to pay the gas, light, car insurance, and the phone bill, which hardly leaves me with anything. What are my rights? How can I start finding out the divorce process? I am afraid because he has told me I would not receive a penny from him. Please tell me what I can do?

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Question #229

I am a disabled woman. My husband abandoned me over two years ago. He is living with another woman. He does not give me any financial support in two years. What are my legal rights?

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Question #241

My husband I live in New York State, Rochester area, we got married in 2003. He left me and moved in with someone else in 2007. We had talked about reconciliation for about two months after he left. Our sexual relationship has never stopped, and I’m not sure if that changes anything? We have not been legally separated and claimed joint taxes for 2007 and separate for 2008. We have not decided how to file for this year yet. I love him and don’t want to divorce, but he says now that reconciliation is not possible, and I want him to be happy, so I have no choice for the divorce. Do I? He recently told me that he filed for divorce, citing cruel treatment (or something like that). My question is, how do I have the reason for divorce changed? He was having an affair and abandoned me, and then he files that I was cruel!!! He said that was the best choice out of what they gave him.

I am currently unemployed and have no money to file my papers. I have tried to find the free forms my husband says that he used, but he says he doesn’t know where he got them. The girl he left me for is a paralegal, and I think she is the one helping him, though he says they hardly talk anymore. He got a separate apartment last year and is working full time. He helps me when I need it, and I help him with what I can. He says that he will always be there for me if I need anything, but how do I protect myself? We have no children and no property.

We do have life insurance for him in which I am the beneficiary, and I pay the monthly bill for it. He has told me to keep it. He does help me pay bills on occasion if I tell him I haven’t been able to pay something. I’m not sure what to do and what the filing terms he used means for me in the future. Should I ask for alimony in the event he’s not planning to continue to help me as he says? How do I do this so that we can continue to be friends like we want? We both say that we love each other and will always be there, but if he gets back together with the girl I know that she’ll make him stop helping me and talking to me, that’s why the broke up because of his continued contact with me, at least that’s what he says. I am not sure what to believe anymore and don’t want to end up worse than I am now. Any help would be much appreciated!

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