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 #177:
I am desperate to have an answer to my question. I am a stay at home mom with 3 young children, wanting a divorce from my husband. He just got arrested (and is released at this time) for assault in the 3rd degree (to me). I have an order of protection at this time. My question is, I know he has seen a lawyer for this incident (which just happened a week ago) and has kept the same lawyer on now beginning divorce proceedings. I think my husband may possibly be filing for legal separation (as N.Y. state only has those 3 reasons for 'fault' and there would be nothing HE could claim as true).....I on the other hand, DO want to file for divorce (under cruel and inhuman treatment) and I want to be the one filing for those reasons. I do not want just some 'separation' and then have to wait for a year to get this over with. I would like to know what would be best in my case. If his lawyer is going to send over the summons (to notify me of this) and I do not want to see that person (to get 'the letter')- but find my own attorney and file for divorce, am I able to do that (at the same time he is trying to notify me of a separation??). What would you suggest so I can bypass this notice and have him be notified of a divorce instead? Is it worth it (or beneficial to me in some way to be 'the one' filing for the divorce vs. him filing for the separation)?

Also, I have no funds at all (as he has been in total control of all the money) and cannot even pay for an attorney. I have no money or savings. Who can I go to - it seems no attorney's want to work without a large retainer and huge hourly fees - who can help me and represent me equally as well (as him) ? I know he has said before that I wouldn't 'need a lawyer' that we could use just the one, but I know he is just looking out for his best interests. I am VERY DESPERATE for any assistance you could provide. Thank you very much.
Answer:
Do not rely on his attorney! You can file for divorce as well based on your grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. I strongly suggest, however, that you consider mediation with an experienced matrimonial attorney-mediator that will save you money, time and aggravation.
If you are unable to pay for an attorney, the court will make your husband pay for yours also.

Leonard Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions
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