Divorce Solutions

Question #5

My wife abandoned me two years ago (after eight years of marriage). On 8/9/95, she calls me at work saying she wants to take off for a month in Florida to think, but she wants a divorce, and we’ll talk when she returns. After a month, I tried to get in contact with her through her family, but she wouldn’t return any of my messages. (I later found out that she was really in Puerto Rico with a male companion. I hadn’t heard from her since 10/8/97 when someone knocked on my door at 10:30 pm to give me a Summons (with Notice). Does it seem that the summons is an action for divorce on the grounds: DRL*140 (1)?? Does she seek an equitable distribution of marital property ?? What does DRL*140 (1) mean???? and do you have any advice?? I never went through anything like this. And I’m desperate. I have twenty days to reply to the summons. Please e-mail me as soon as you can.

DRL Section 140 [there is no Section 140(1)] deals with the annulment of marriages based on six specific grounds:1) former husband or wife living, 2) party under the age of consent; 3) party mentally retarded person or mentally ill; 4) physical incapacity; 5) consent by force, coercion or fraud; 6) incurable mental illness for five years. This is not the section one would reference to seek a divorce and equitable distribution.

To your questions, I need to know more specific facts about your case. Are you a resident of New York State? Were you living in New York before the separation? Do you have any minor children? Where does your spouse live presently?

New York State requires the equitable distribution of marital assets. This means that all assets acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name the assets are held in are marital property and will generally be divided equally, or at least equitably, between the two parties. Do you own any property, including real estate, securities, bank accounts, etc. which would fall into this category?

You must respond to the Complaint received within the twenty days as directed. I strongly suggest that you call my office at 212-370-1660 to arrange to prepare to the Complaint.

I also strongly urge you to contact your spouse and try to convince her to mediate rather than litigate the issues involved in the separation and divorce.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions