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Lawyer appt scheduled-what do I need to make sure I ask?

Unreallife2020 posted 2/22/2021 12:53 PM

I have an hour long consultation with an attorney scheduled, which took a lot for me to get up the nerve to finally do. I had been just sitting on everything and freaking out.

I'm just wanting to see if anyone has any thoughts for what to make sure I touch on in this appt. So far I have a list made with:
incomes for past 5 years, our debts, our assets, our life insurance, 401Ks, savings/checking accts, mortgage, and insurances.

Our kids are over 18 so no worry about custody or CS thankfully.

I have been out of work over a year, and last job was part time, but did recently obtain my bachelor's degree and his income covered my schooling. I am not interested in returning to work right away for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I have so much anxiety and probably some depression that I can barely get basic things done around the house, barely manage most days to dress and feed myself. There have been more bad days than good lately.

I guess what I am most interested in finding out is how does separation work in our state, do I get alimony/support of some kind and for how long, and what do I need to do to put things in place if that is the route I decide to take? We live in a fault state. There is infidelity on both sides. Him 20 yrs ago, me 10 yrs ago.

Who pays for what when?

We are currently still living together and he has mostly been sleeping out of the marital bed since I found out in Sept (of his EA with physical intimacy but not touching 20 yrs ago with my sister who was in HS at the time). I am not interested in anyone here addressing that particular bit of detail, unless it's relevant to the separation/divorce settlement info. In other words, does that matter and if so how it would affect how things are split.

He and I Have both looked at rentals, condos, rooms to rent, hotel stays, etc and due to the market right now everything is so $$ and we cant afford to pay two living situations. The in house separation idea is something I have heard of, but ughhh, I have been living with him for 5 months with this info and some days are just brutal because I start asking questions and several times it has devolved into arguing. No I can't go live with family as my parents have added insult to injury here.

I'm feeling lost and confused. We are currently both in IC and MC. Not sure about R at this point. This appt is for informational purposes in case I need to move forward because I decide I cant stay in this marriage because he chose someone in my family, who I'm very close to, to do this with 20 yrs ago.

The1stWife posted 2/22/2021 13:02 PM

The laws vary from state to state and it may not matter why you are divorcing.

Ask about mediation and how it works.

Ask for alimony and child support - if you feel kids will need financial assistance from their parents.

Ask how long it takes if uncontested.

Try to agree to terms on your own w/out lawyers if possible so you can reduce your attorneyís fees.

barcher144 posted 2/22/2021 13:11 PM

I would ask what fraction of this attorney's cases go to trial or not. I am learning that there are attorneys that like to get to trial and there are attorneys that really encourage settling. You then need to reconcile their answer with what you want to do (do you want a quick divorce? Do you want to set his entire world on fire?)

I am not interested in returning to work right away for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I have so much anxiety and probably some depression that I can barely get basic things done around the house, barely manage most days to dress and feed myself. There have been more bad days than good lately.

Do you have this medically documented? If not, then you need to get to a doctor immediately. This will have a major impact on your divorce as you have been out of work and you have a legitimate medical condition that would keep you from working. These are almost certainly factors that would favor you receiving alimony (as is the length of your marriage).

Unreallife2020 posted 2/22/2021 13:28 PM

Thank you! I am copying and pasting these suggestions into my document for the appt. Keep 'em coming.

I do not have documented depression before the A stuff. I had been to my doctor the week of dday, but was not started on anything. I have been telling my therapists what I am feeling and that I have had suicidal thoughts off and on. Would a therapist's office notes regarding depression/anxiety hold up in divorce proceedings or do they need an actual psychiatrist or MD/DO to diagnose?

I am not on any medication. I am trying to handle it myself, although admittedly not doing very well. It's frustrating because I would not be so far deep in the pit of despair if I didn't find out this information. I am naturally an anxious person but have never been on medication, and haven't really ever dealt with depression or depression-like symptoms that weren't situational in nature.

We have been married 21+ years.

Ratpicker posted 2/22/2021 19:55 PM

You may not have grounds for a fault based divorce if it is based on adultery that long ago. In most states to claim adultery, a "true" marital relationship can't resume after the last instance of adultery. So ask the attorney if you have grounds to file for fault or if it is cheaper/faster to file for no fault.

You could also ask about filing for temporary support until the divorce in final.

If you have to have IHS - you will do yourself a favor if you can stop asking questions. Consider it pain shopping and stay away from it as much as possible.

Countingsheep65 posted 2/23/2021 01:29 AM

Depends from state to state on the laws. Something to think about is what is more beneficial to you?

I at first filed for divorce. After thinking things through more I changed it to legal separation due to health insurance and a business.

He has to pay alimony and keep me on all the insurance policies until the business is sold, which will be 3-4 years and then the alimony doesnít stop there, it will be cut in half until Iím 65, I then will go after his social security. I donít know if all states do alimony, but usually itís determined by how many years youíve been married.

I so wanted divorce, but wasnít so beneficial to me right now, it can be easily switched to divorce at a later time. The spouse would have to agree to this as well. Mine did it because I could of caused him a lot of problems he didnít want to face.

Unreallife2020 posted 2/23/2021 09:28 AM

Counting Sheep you make a great point. Those are exactly the things I was thinking and worried about, especially health insurance. Even if I manage to go back to work, it will likely be PT, in which case I probably couldn't get health insurance included as a benefit. I haven't worked FT since my kids were very young. I worked 15 of the 21 yrs married but most of those 15 were between 24-32 hrs/week only so I could be with the kids and manage the household/kids' lives easier. I wonder if that could somehow come into play when a judge looks at alimony etc. And as in your situation, there are pieces to this that my husband doesn't want to go public, so it's in his best interest to go along with whatever decision I make. To his credit, he has said he would do whatever I want and give me more $$ wise then he would take because his income potential is so much higher than mine.

Ratpicker, thank you for that consideration about time since infidelity. That is a question I had considered as well.

barcher144 posted 2/23/2021 10:31 AM

I haven't worked FT since my kids were very young. I worked 15 of the 21 yrs married but most of those 15 were between 24-32 hrs/week only so I could be with the kids and manage the household/kids' lives easier. I wonder if that could somehow come into play when a judge looks at alimony etc.

Yes, these are legitimate reasons for alimony. The idea of alimony is to compensate a spouse that sacrifices his/her career trajectory for the sake of the marriage.

And as in your situation, there are pieces to this that my husband doesn't want to go public, so it's in his best interest to go along with whatever decision I make. To his credit, he has said he would do whatever I want and give me more $$ wise then he would take because his income potential is so much higher than mine.

Be careful. Actions are the truth. Words are just words.

My xWW and I agreed to have quick, easy, inexpensive divorce. It ended up costing us about $60,000 in legal fees (so far) and about 30 months.

Divorces can get nasty. Be prepared for the worst.

Unreallife2020 posted 2/23/2021 12:25 PM

Barcher, I agree that people do not always follow through on what they say, which is why I am seeking my own attorney at this point despite my husband asking if we could go to one together.

I also see the value in mediation/collaborative divorce but I think I would be best served initially to know my rights etc. from someone looking out for my best interests alone.

fooled13years posted 2/23/2021 12:47 PM

Unreallife2020, it should always be recommended that a person seek the consult with a good proven divorce attorney. The process can be halted up to finalization but knowing your rights is crucial.

(From your bio) I had a double betrayal affair in mid 2000s, AP was husband from a couple we were best friends with
Ask your attorney if either your or his past actions might impact the outcome of the divorce.

I have been out of work over a year, and last job was part time, but did recently obtain my bachelor's degree and his income covered my schooling
Does your husband have a bachelor's degree or higher? This might be calculated when spousal support is calculated based on potential income.

I am not interested in returning to work right away for a lot of reasons
In the case of divorce, and in many states, this may not be an option for you. His attorney might argue, if they are any good, that your earning potential is as good or even more than his client's.
I have so much anxiety and probably some depression that I can barely get basic things done around the house
Do you have an actual depression diagnosis? If not check to see if one might help or hurt you in the divorce.

Unreallife2020 posted 2/23/2021 13:45 PM

Fooled, no he does not have a Bachelor's degree but he has a job that has consistently paid WELL above what I have made or could make. There will be no way his attorney could spin it differently. Thanks for the question suggestions. Adding them to the list!

Westway posted 2/24/2021 14:13 PM

Have your lawyer run a credit check on you to make sure your STBXH didn't add you to any secret credit cards or lines of credit you are not aware of. My exWW did that. She had me on three separate credit accounts that I knew nothing about.

Unreallife2020 posted 2/25/2021 09:59 AM

Thanks Westway, will definitely add to the list!

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