Primarily servicing the greater New York City metropolitan area



LEONARD M.WEINER, ESQ, Ph.D.
DIVORCE SOLUTIONS
206 East 38th Street
New York, N.Y. 10016
(212) 370-1660

FINANCIAL ISSUES - MARITAL PROPERTY V. SEPARATE PROPERTY

Question #42:
My husband wants a divorce after being together 21 years, married 18 years. He wants to remain friends and has asked me to file for divorce. I'm in California and he has recently moved to Ohio. We have one son in his senior year of high school and wants to go to college. I do not work and have stayed home to raise my family during most of our marriage. I have started college, which I have paid for by working on the college campus. My husband closed our joint accounts a few years back and put it in an account in Prague. I have a letter from his mother stating the amount deposited but it is written in Czech and I can't read it. I have property I bought before our marriage which he has paid for improvements. What he wants to do is this, I keep the property, which has an old mobile home on it, and he keeps the money in Europe,(according to the letter is, $112.459,47, vezmi) his ESIP which was $78,928.27 on Dec. 96,profit sharing about $113,000. on Dec. 96, his IRA about $28,000. and various stocks. My husband thinks this is fair, this is what he has worked for. He has made the remark in the past that he could always leave the Country and I won't have anything. I know I haven't worked much during the 21 years we've been together, but this just doesn't seem fair. How do I determine alimony? Can I ask for child support until our son finishes college? How can I determine what is fare? I haven't any money saved and can't pay for an attorney. My husband also said that if we have to use attorneys, the one who can afford the best will come out the best. He is anxious to get things moving NOW! I have the "EZ Legal Software for Divorce" now what should I do?
Answer:
The first thing you should do is throw away the "E Z Divorce" software. You need a matrimonial lawyer who is experienced in these matters. I am assuming from your letter that you presently live with your son in the State of California and during the course of your marriage you were living in California. California is any "Community Property" state which means that all property earned during the course of the marriage, regardless of in whose name the property exists, will be divided upon divorce, equally between the spouses. Such property does not include assets which were acquired by inheritance, gift or devise which were kept in the individual's name and not co-mingled with common assets. The money which you indicate your husband has sent abroad appears to be Community Property and as such the courts would require your husband to provide you with fifty percent of it. Since you are not working and your son is still at home with you, the court would most likely grant you spousal maintenance at least for a year or two to allow you to complete school and find employment. The court would also require your husband to pay child support until your son completes his schooling. If you are unable to pay for an attorney, the court would force your husband to pay for your attorney as well. The bottom line is that you should not be coerced by your husband's threats to do as he suggests, but should rather seek experienced legal counsel in your area who can properly advise you on how to proceed. I suggest you call a divorce attorney-mediator in your area. You may locate such person from the local bar association. He/she will be able to provide you with the proper advice and will work out how to cover your legal expenses.GOOD LUCK

LEONARD M. WEINER, ESQ./DIVORCE SOLUTIONS

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