I got married on February 14, the year 2000, in New York City to a Singaporean citizen. I carry an Indian passport but am on an H1 visa and am working in a prestigious non-profit institution in Manhattan. My husband and I agreed for me to move to Singapore since he felt that life there would be more comfortable since he has established himself quite comfortably there. He also felt that raising a family would be more comfortable what with the presence of the extended family, domestic help, and a quiet life in Singapore. I moved to Singapore in August 2000 only to be told by him that he had changed his mind about raising a family. Since he had two children already from his first marriage, is 53 years old, he is unwilling to be a father again and pursue that kind of lifestyle. Thinking -hoping that he just had cold feet, we went for counseling, and it was revealed that he vehemently does not want to be a father again. I begged him to change his mind because I have always wanted and want so much to be a mother and raise even one child. I had given up my life, friends, and contacts in NYC to pursue family life with him. Plus, I am 41 years old with my biological clock ticking like a time bomb!!!! As if the child issue was not enough to bear, he had treated me as if I was merely his companion/date rather than his wife. Being his second marriage, he has told me that his priorities are towards his problematic 24-year-old son who lived with him, his health and that his money is his to do as he pleased. Thus, he gave me an allowance which I had to live within despite me being less affording and jobless and him having promised that he would take care of me and treat me like a queen, etc. Given the unfair conditions of this marriage, the feudalistic chauvinism that I was being subjected to, and the heartbreak, I have come back to NYC.
We have agreed to live separately to get some clarity. I would like to know what I can hope as a settlement in the event of a divorce? How will mediation help? Since I have a limited income, can I even afford to mediate, litigate? Does my immigration status affect what I can do? There are oceans between us (metaphorically, too). How can I go about securing a lifestyle that will not further humiliate me? Can broken promises be a basis for divorce? Your attention and help in this matter are much appreciated. Please forgive the panic and lack of cohesion of this message. I am distressed and depressed about all this.