Question #334:Hello. Sadly I learned too late that I married a liar and manipulator who after the reveal this past August of egregious financial abuse, a three year affair in a five year marriage and a personal physical assault against me making it unsafe for me to remain in our home, is now using the Michigan family court system to continue his manipulations with repeated subpoenas and motions that my lawyer is calling harassment and the judge will hear in the settlement conference soon (failed mediation because my husband and his lawyer refused to negotiate). With no one to stop my husband who is using a game of blame, moving goal posts every few weeks to keep the motions coming, I am preparing for a very long drawn out battle knowing that our case will go to trial- adding 1-2 years to this nightmare. Because he tied my hands financially in the marriage, withholding cash from me, I have NO savings, NO hidden cash. My only option is to leave with nothing because he has clearly stated in his answer that he prays the court will make me leave with only what I came into our marriage with… personal items only. He was a high wage earner in our marriage, worth 2m in assets. I am asking only for equitable distribution of our marital assets and a reasonable spousal support to bridge the changes I am forced to make in my life. At age 58 and because my current employer cannot offer FT work (working only 24 hrs/wk for four of our five year marriage) I would like to continue my education seeking a masters in nutrition of science- I can bump up my annual income with an additional $15-20,000 a year. I would like to begin soon and will need to take out student loan debt and potentially use credit cards to fund out of pocket expenses. At my age and in the dyer financial position I am in my QUESTION is: Can my husband in any way hinder me from pursuing this goal? Do I have to ask him for permission to apply for student loans in my name and to place out of pocket costs my new degree on my credit cards? Can he deny me? I am prepared to assume responsibility for my own loans. In fact, I carried the current student loan debt when I entered the marriage. I paid the monthly payments from my income. Can he use ANY LAW to deny me from adding to my student loan debt and adding books and other out of pocket fees to MY credit cards for what I consider an essential masters degree, providing a solution to my new financial challenges, caused entirely by him and his lies and manipulations? What are my rights in creating a healthy, financially sound life beyond him while waiting for the court to settle our divorce? I truly appreciate any guidance you can offer.

You do not indicate in which State jurisdiction you are presently under. In NY, the judge can decide whether the concept of “Marital Property” of the parties begins on the date the Summons and Complaint is filed or upon the date of the Court Order of divorce is filed. After such date all of the newly acquired property of each party would be considered “Separate Property”
And you could spend it as you wish. In any case, I do not believe the Court would penalize you in any way for trying to advance your education to provide for yourself in the future.

Leonard Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #330:This is a question for my partner, who I have a son (5) from and who I have been with for 6 years. He was married for 21 years and has been legally separated for about 7 years. He did not complete the Divorce because his EX wife walked away and refused to sign the papers. They had a house in Westchester that went to Foreclosure. Today, he is retired and has his IRA, pension and 401.. My question is, if he is not divorced and just legally separated, is she entitled to any money? And if he takes money out of his IRA, or pension, does he need her signature. We are trying to start the process of just the paperwork for the Divorce, but we don’t know where to turn to, we need guidance on so many levels. Thanks

You indicate that your partner is “legally separated”. Was that separation done by an attorney and was it filed with the county clerk in Westchester ?
If it was properly drawn , executed and filed, the cutoff date for his spouse’s interest in his retirement account and pension is most likely the date the separation was
Filed with the county clerk. The spouse is entitled to approximately half of whatever was contributed to the retirement and pension accounts during the time they weremarried until the filing date of the separation.
Please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss the other matters and the filing of the divorce.

Leonard Weiner, Esq/ Divorce Solutions

Question #329:My wife and I married in 1993, I took my present job in 2000 and we separated in 2005 but did not do a separation agreement. We have child custody papers dating back to 2006. I am know 5 1/2 years from retirement and she refuses to sign divorce papers. Does she have right to half my pension when I retire even though our custody papers show we have been separated for over 10 years?

Until you formally file a Separation Agreement or your /divorce papers are filed with the County clerk, you are legally still married and any assets acquired during the course of such marriage is Marital Property. If you are located in the NYC metro area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss the matter in greater detail.

Leonard Weiner, Esq./ Divorce Solutions

Question #328:Hello, Not sure if you can offer any solution. Me and my husband got married in India. it was an arranged marriage. At the time he was a resident of NY and I lived in India. Now both of us are US citizens. We have two children together one is 23 years and the other is 11 years. His parents lived with us. I underwent a lot of mental torture at the hands of my husband and his mother. It was only after the birth of my second child and some counseling that I realized I was being abused. I was a well-travelled socially active person but over time became into a person with inferiority complex. I used to be scared of going back home after work every evening dreading who would pick a fight that day the husband or the mother. Even though I worked full time and made the maximum income in the house the parents controlled both our incomes. They forced me to deposit the money in a joint account which had his father as the primary account holder. The husband never backed me up and insisted that I follow their rule. In fact any monetary gift, material gift that was given to me by any friends or family his and mine were taken away by his mother and he was ok with that. He was a heavy gambler and I have been under burden of his gambling debts. He has even been caught stealing at places of work and constantly lost his job. Due to this the parents made me feel that I would never be able to make it in this country as a single parent and constantly refused to let me leave. The family took money from me for their business but until today I have not seen a penny returned ,mother kept on saying I should not worry and she would support me and my children and was taking my salary so she could save for our future. Of course till today I have not seen any of that monetary support, even when she knew I had no job for almost a year and was struggling to put one child through college. I have been supporting my two children all their life. In fact when my children were born neither the husband nor the parents were present. during my 1st child I was alone and during the 2nd child my 1st born was with me in the hospital. My OB/GYN doc did not see the father even once when I was pregnant the 2nd time round. However my children are both very happy children after I have moved out. There is a property that was bought during the period when we lived together but his parents forced me to put their name on the property as co-owners. His name is not on the property. He and his parents still live there We both still reside in NYC. My two children live with me. There is a property that was bought during the period when we lived together but his parents forced me to put their name on the property as co-owners. His name is not on the property. He and his parents still live there and I want to ensure that me and my children get their rightful share of the property. When we were together we had nothing together. Not even a bank account. If I wanted to file for a divorce in the country of marriage can I do that and will that divorce be valid in NY state. If it would get accepted will I be able to get at least 50% of the property if I file a case against them in NY state after the divorce.

You appear to have significant property rights in the properties on which you are named as co-owner. You also must file for divorce where you are living, not where you got married.
If you are living in the NYC metro area, please contact me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to review your situation in detail.

Leonard Weiner, Esq.
Divorce Solutions

Question #327:I live in NYC. My wife of 14 and an half years served me with the divorce papers two weeks ago and I responded to the summons with a notice of appearance and affidavit of support to avoid default. I have no job, no home to live. I am staying with a friend since she asked me to move out and she took my keys. I did not argue with her about that. Now she wants equitable distribution of marital asset, which is a condo that we bought in full with her money that she gave me as gift. And of course now she denies it. Both our names are on the deed. We have no kids and she helped me pay tuition after she inherited a good amount of money from her parent. Before starting my 4 years of professional degree, I told her that I could be content just with my bachelor degree to start work and be productive but she said don’t worry about money. I can afford putting you through school. Prior to starting school I was working and contributing to the household expenses. When I met her lawyer last year he was threatening me with the O’brian vs O’brian case. This year I heard that this case was reversed. She says that she has no claim on my license. I’m licensed now to practice in Cali but I don’t have any job offer and even if I have an offer I need at least $10 thousand to relocate because I will need a car, a place to rent and shipment of my belongings. Would I ask the judge for alimony, and payment of an attorney to represent me. This has been very stressful. I told her that we don’t have to divorce but she wants out. What shall I do? Please advise. Thank you.

If you are unemployed and your spouse is working, you should be able to receive spousal support for a short duration of time to get on your feet.
You do not indicate what type of “professional license” you have and the treason why you are unemployed. The answer to these questions will be important to the judge if you end up in court. Since the Condo is titled in both names , you have a legitimate claim to half as marital property, especially if you have contributed to the mortgage, insurance and upkeep of the condo.

I strongly recommend you consider divorce mediation and I would be glad to meet with you and your wife to discuss the matter at greater length.
Please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange an appointment .

Divorce Solutions
Leonard Weiner, Esq.

Question #326:My husband and I are divorcing after almost 25 years of marriage. About 12 years ago he inherited about $45000 which we used to redo our kitchen. How will that affect the financial split ? We live in upstate NY.

If the property is held in both your names, your husband made a gift to you of half his inheritance
And should not be able to claim the entire contribution . If the property is held in his name only which he acquired prior to the marriage or with funds he had prior to the marriage,
the $45,000 Investment and the property belong to him.

If you wish to discuss mediating your divorce, please contact me .

Leonard Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #325:Hi, I am hoping you can answer a question for me. First a brief history…. My husband and I had 4 children and then separated after being together for 19 years (married for 17). We have been separated for 18 years and are finally getting a divorce. I see in the papers (he sent over for me to sign) it mentions his retirement fund being his separate asset and that maintenance was not ordered. Before I sign these papers I am curious and would like to find out if I am entitled to anything considering how long we’ve been separated (not legally separated). By the way, I live in Washington state. I would like to know if I would be entitled to spousal maintenance, part of my husband’s retirement fund, or inheritance he just received due to his mother passing away. Any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day.

Do Not Sign the Papers! Unless you had a legal separation 18 years ago, you are still legally married and any property or asset, including your spouse’s retirement account is a marital asset, to which you would be entitled to a share. Any inheritance he received ,if kept in his name only, is separate property, not marital.

Consult an experienced matrimonial lawyer in your jurisdiction and seek his advice .,

Leonard Weiner, Esq./ Divorce Solutions

Question #324:I live in the state of Ohio and got married in June 2014. My father had died in 2013 and we just recently sold his house and October 2014. My wife and I are now getting a divorce after seven months of marriageand I am about to inherit funds from the sale of my father’s house and I was wondering if she is in titled to any of that money?

If you keep the proceeds of the sale in a SEPARATE Account only in your name, and do not commingle it with your joint funds, it should be treated as Separate property, not marital property, and she would have no claim to it.

Good Luck!

Leonard Weiner, Esq./ Divorce Solutions

Question #323:My husband and I have been married 20+ yrs and have adult children. We both work and have roughly equivalent incomes. At my request he has agreed to move out of our marital home which we own together, and he now rents an apartment. As of this writing we have no formal separation agreement or divorce action. I claim he should continue to help pay the mortgage, as he continues to have rights to the equity that is accruing and he shares equally in the debt. He claims that since he vacated our marital home at my insistence, I am now solely responsible for the mortgage. Who’s right???

If your husband is signed on the mortgage as you suggest, he is liable to the bank to make the mortgage payments just as you are.
However, since you are occupying the home and he is paying rent, you should cover a larger portion of the mortgage payment.
The exact amount should be determined by examining all of the other financial and other considerations that are being proposed as a result of theSeparation.
If you are living in the NYC metro area, please call me to arrange a meeting for the 3 of us to discuss this matter in greater detail
And to work out all of the many other issues that must be agreed upon for the separation to work.

Leonard Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #322:My husband and I are planning on divorcing within the next year. He has been the main breadwinner for our 28 year marriage. In the housing crash he lost his practice (he’s a real estate attorney) & for the past seven years has been working out of the house (not sure of the amount he claims to earn, but I know it’s very little). I recently graduated nursing school(which I put myself through) & stand to earn over 80,000 being a RN on Long Island. He also stopped paying the mortgage over 5 years ago (my name is not on the mortgage & hasn’t affected my credit) & the house is in pre-foreclosure. I have a small inheritance that I will using for a down payment on a home which will be home base for my daughters ages 22 & 17. He just told me he is planning on moving to Belize when my 17 year old goes to college. He also told me he would be handing me the tuition bill as soon as I get a RN position. Does moving out of the country remove his parental obligation to his children? Also, since my salary is obviously on the books & his is not, does that give him any right to it? Thank you in advance for answering the question.

Your husband cannot absolve himself of his parental responsibility to support his family by just moving away, and you could get a judgement against him. However, I do not know what the likelihood of being able to enforce that judgment in Belize, as long as he does not return to the US.
Begin the divorce process before he leaves.
All money earned by either party during the marriage is considered “Marital Property” and thus he would have a claim to approximately half of your money earned during the marriage, although the Court would most likely use that amount to cover his share of his child support obligation.
Be sure when you acquire the new home to keep it in your name only, using only funds from the inheritance kept in an individual account, and not funds from money you earned during the marriage.

If you are living in the NYC metro area, call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange an appointment to discuss mediating your divorce.

Leonard Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions