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Question about legal separations

Old 01-14-2013, 11:48 AM
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Question about legal separations

I know that laws vary in every state but I have a question. I am considering filing for a legal separation because my AH keeps drinking and driving rental cars when he travels and he sees no wrong with it. Now, he has a rental car in OUR HOMETOWN because he was in a car accident and his car is at the auto body shop. Insurance is paying for the rental, they don't know about the DUI yet but my fear is that they will if they check our DMV records due to his new claim.

Anyway, I am feeling more and more like I need to protect myself financially. He just left to drive 5 hours to a neighboring state for work, in the rental car, and he has no interlock on the car of course, so I worry about another DUI. There are so many 'what ifs' that could happen here and I hate to live in fear, but the day he got the DUI I pretty much predicted it. I wrote it in my journal actually and sure enough he called me from the back of a police car.

My question is: Has anyone here filed for separation yet continued to live under the same roof? We get along well at home, just keeping things on a surface level, and I am not ready for him to move out yet. I don't have enough cash put away nor do I have any job prospects. I am working on them, though, and hope to be employed part time in the next few months. So, any experience to throw my way would be great.

On the emotional side of things, I'm a mess, though. I'm struggling with anger and wanting to retaliate even though I know it's wrong. I want to call him mother and tell her the truth(he tells her lies and she thinks our lives are just hunky dory here), I want to call the rental car company and turn him in, etc. I know it's craziness on my part but I just feel like he gets away with all this crap and then I'll be the one to pay the price, literally. Hence the reason for looking into a separation.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:59 AM
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You really need to talk to a lawyer about your situation. He or she can tell you what will, or will not, protect you.

As you noted, the law in every jurisdiction is different, so one person's experience is not likely to match yours. You really need individualized advice. Moreover, it isn't "better" when he is driving rental cars out of State. Depending on the property laws in your State, you could still be on the hook if he is in an accident that injures someone.

I suggest you check out any women's legal clinics if you can't afford a consult with a private attorney. You might try a law school in your area to see if they have a clinical program that might be able to assist you.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
You really need to talk to a lawyer about your situation. He or she can tell you what will, or will not, protect you.

As you noted, the law in every jurisdiction is different, so one person's experience is not likely to match yours. You really need individualized advice. Moreover, it isn't "better" when he is driving rental cars out of State. Depending on the property laws in your State, you could still be on the hook if he is in an accident that injures someone.

I suggest you check out any women's legal clinics if you can't afford a consult with a private attorney. You might try a law school in your area to see if they have a clinical program that might be able to assist you.
Oh, I know it's not 'better'. I called lawyers in both states(CA and NM) to check on their laws if he gets even so much as a citation for not wearing a seatbelt(he usually just clicks in the passenger seat belt to the driver's side when he rents a car, as he will not wear a seatbelt. He doesn't believe in them and feels the government is trying to control him). Honestly, it could be worse for him depending on the 'what if' scenario. Again, I hate living in what if land, but I have to look at reality too, and listen to how he presents himself and his current perceptions about life. His words don't jive with his actions, therefore I feel I need to do this.

I just wanted to know if there were others out there who lived with the A, but were legally separated on paper.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:22 PM
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I'm going through legal separation in CA, although I'm physically separated from my AH. You really need to consult an attorney in your state. Here it's basically the same as divorce, assets divided, spousal support, parenting plans, etc. and of course you become legally separate entities.

You are wise to consider your liability. Talk to a lawyer and find out how to protect yourself and your assets, even if you continue to live with him.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:21 PM
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I think it is imperative to discuss this with an attorney ASAP. Before you make any decisions. Including whether to stay living together, whether to get a part-time job--anything. What I did was make a list of all my questions and take them to the consultation. That way I could remember what I wanted to ask and not get sidetracked by the emotional part of it. As it turned out, in my case, divorce was a better alternative than legal separation. I never would have known that without the initial consult. Each circumstance is different. You really need to get legal advice before taking any action whatsoever.

Plus, you will feel so much better with the power of knowledge on your side. Living in the what-ifs produces a lot of anxiety.

L
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:11 PM
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((Liz))

I truly hate that things seem to be escalting down this rocky path for you ~ I can imagine it is very heartbreaking and overwhelming ~

From what I understand since divorce can be obtain quickly in some cases, many States have basically done away with "Legal Separation" or the status "Legal Separation" really doesn't mean anything ~
But as you stated each State has different ~ so as others have suggested a Legal consultation would probably be your most informative route

Wishing you the best ~

Pink hugs,
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:19 PM
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In my state if one is simply caught driving (even if sober) without their required alcohol interlock device it is an automatic felony. I read a statistic that 80% of people who get their first DUI will get another one in their lifetime. I would seek out the best legal advice before another "accident" happens & someone gets hurt or killed.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Justfor1 View Post
In my state if one is simply caught driving (even if sober) without their required alcohol interlock device it is an automatic felony. I read a statistic that 80% of people who get their first DUI will get another one in their lifetime. I would seek out the best legal advice before another "accident" happens & someone gets hurt or killed.
It wouldn't be a felony here, but it could cost him his driving privileges and could wind up with more jail time. He has admitted that the DUI was NOT his bottom as he thought it would be. I'm not sure I want to stick around to see where that bottom will actually be because I would be going down with the sinking ship.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
It wouldn't be a felony here, but it could cost him his driving privileges and could wind up with more jail time. He has admitted that the DUI was NOT his bottom as he thought it would be. I'm not sure I want to stick around to see where that bottom will actually be because I would be going down with the sinking ship.
Surprisingly or perhaps not, a DUI is not usually an alcoholics bottom. Hopefully, it was your bottom though. You are probably more interested & understand the legal consequences than he is. He doesn't care because he is drinking. Getting a second DUI & causing serious injuries to motorists is a felony though in any state. Would that be his bottom then? I remember he was also pulling large amount of money out of the bank account. What will be your bottom is the most important question.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:21 PM
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I'm willing to bet that CA is a more favorable environment for you than nm but do talk to a pro. CA state law is very clear - having testicles while Caucasian is a serious matter....

Seriously though, very favorable environment for you.

Once ANY action is filed and the respondent notified you are almost certainly going to be subject to "Standing orders" - basically mutually preventing you from incurring debt, secreting assets, screwing with policies, harassing each other or the kids... Google your county, divorce, standing orders to see what's what.

If you are separated and he incurs liability for say, driving through a china shop, I don't know that you'd be protected unless a divorce was finalized, it's still community property. If your joint assets are substantial this is a great time to setup an educational trust for the kids, fund two IRA accounts etcetera.

Know where everything is - insurance policies with residual value etcetera.

If you are there you are there and my sincere condolences. Try to focus on making the kids feel secure... Watching a movie under a blanket with a pile of kids and pets doesn't make your troubles go away, it just makes right now a good moment and helps you keep straight what matters.

Hang in there. I hope he stays safe.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:00 PM
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Pohsfriend, you know I was thinking of making a decent contribution to MY IRA this year, since I've neglected it for so long. AH has plenty in his 401K along with a pension so I don't have to manage those accounts too much since his company only offers so many mutual funds and then company stock, etc.

I have an account set up for our son, both in a brokerage account and a savings account at our bank. I am the custodian on both those accounts, too. We do not have substantial assets, but we have a decent amount that isn't bad considering we've been living on one income for 14 years now.

And, please understand, I'm only 'there' because he's making bad choices and those choices affect his family whether he sees it or not. I truly wish I wasn't 'there' because it's a lot of stress for me right now and a lot of unknowns.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:27 PM
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No need to explain. Been 'there'. Done 'that'. Cried in the tee shirt.

A while back you posted that some folks had judged you harshly, can't see how anyone can say you haven't been frantically trying to row your boat out if this mess the past months. If he doesn't row too on his side you go in circles huh?

Hang in there.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:50 AM
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I disagree that California is a better state to live in in this type situation. Being a community property state you are equally liable for debts incurred during the course of the marriage, including SOME judgments, and I am doubtful that a legal separation would give you the protection you are looking for.

Typically in personal injury suits plaintiffs sue anyone and everyone that might possibly lend a hand. I am currently involved in this situation as I was hit by a DD in July last year. I was driving husband's car, DD was driving her daughter's car. Order of liability goes......

1) Daughter
2) Mother
3 ) My husband and his policy as owner of his car
4) My own policy

My state (Georgia) requires all insurance to be exhausted before pursuing a civil suit. Mother doesn't have one, my husband's only covers PIP in FL. Therefore its the daughter's and my policies which will cover the accident. Her policy limits are only 25k. Mine is 100k I am thankful we are covered I have no interest in fighting a 3 year battle and its sufficient to cover damages. The daughter is married and is on the mortgage jointly with her husband. We could not name him in the suit as he is not titled on her car, but If we obtained a judgment we could go after 1/2 of this asset. However, since GA is not community property if her husband's name was the only name on the title to the house it would be a no go. Not so in CA.

Community property states' laws differ from others in that the assets a couple accrue during a marriage belong to both parties equally in a divorce, regardless of who actually earned the money or purchased the asset. Community property laws governing each spouse's liability for debts differ, but in some community property states, such as California, a woman is liable for any debt her husband incurred over the course of their marriage.Debts incurred prior to the marriage belong solely to the debtor rather than the spouse. I can't tell you what would be applicable to you in this situation as the laws from state to state vary greatly and I am sure their are exclusions.

My advice to you would be to up your insurance policy limits to the maximum in the interim. You might also look at an umbrella policy. These are expensive - but since your husband is insistent on continuing to drive drunk it would be worth it to protect your son and yourself. Additionally I would be more concerned about your name being on the title of any car he drives than the rental issue.

California is a 3 strike State - your husband has 2 DUI's? He is looking at some SERIOUS trouble if he gets another which could really affect you. This might also be consider a felony rather than a misdmeanor. What might be beneficial to you are the statutory limitations set in California regarding recovery - most states have these.

Run, don't walk to an attorney's office. It may be that divorce is the only option to protect your assets - I would hate for something to happen to you and your son due to his continued negligence.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:24 AM
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RedAtlanta, no he has 1 DUI but it was a super extreme DUI here in Arizona. The reason that CA came up is because it is where he works and rents cars. He also travels to NM to rent cars, as well. Currently, he is driving a rental from AZ to NM to visit the military bases near Las Cruces.

Anyway, I don't have an insurance policy as my AH doesn't believe in them and never approved of me purchasing coverage. He has a policy through work that is minimal cost to us(like $2.50 a paycheck) that would cover him up to 3 times his salary.

I recently purchased my car and did not put AH on the registration. Unfortunately, I am listed on his car because I was allowed to get it out of the impound after his DUI last spring. I have been considering removing myself from his car. According to our insurance company, I am still considered a legal 'of age' driver in the home and would be covered if I drive his car and the same would apply if he drove my car. I'm just not sure where liability starts and ends in certain cases.

I asked my sponsor about lawyer referrals and she has one that she used when her divorce was getting sticky and is emailing me the contact today.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:32 AM
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Sounds to me like your husband is still making all the major decisions in your in life and marriage (ie. home schooling, you working outside the home, etc). Is he really going to allow a legal separation while you live in the same home?
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:51 AM
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Liz,
I'm sorry things seem to be spiraling downward with your A. It sounds to me like you are thinking about all the right things to take care of - probably more ahead of the game than most when they first call a lawyer.
I remember when I first called an attorney about pursuing a divorce (before things went horrible with the death threat but when I knew we were beyond repair), I don't think I heard or understood a thing he told me. I think he knew that too. It was so hard to get up the courage just to make that call. I felt shame and fear ...failure. But, he was kind, patient and understanding. When I made the second call it wasn't as hard to hit "send."

One thing I did retain from that first call was when the attorney referred me to a website for people who may need legal aid. Although I wouldn't qualify, there were so many great resources to help me understand things. Subsequent calls to attorneys were much more productive.

Here's a similar site for AZ:
AZLawHelp > Topics > Family and Children

Hang in there.
Hugs,
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:12 AM
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Not to sound like a broken record, but you really NEED to spell all this out for a matrimonial attorney in your State who can explain your potential liability and how you can protect yourself financially. Assets that you own together might be seized to satisfy any judgment in excess of policy limits. Legal separation might not accomplish what you are trying to achieve. You need someone who knows all the facts, and the law, to advise you.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Not to sound like a broken record, but you really NEED to spell all this out for a matrimonial attorney in your State who can explain your potential liability and how you can protect yourself financially. Assets that you own together might be seized to satisfy any judgment in excess of policy limits. Legal separation might not accomplish what you are trying to achieve. You need someone who knows all the facts, and the law, to advise you.
Yup...
I missed the third state lol.

It would be really wrong to see the four best divorce attys in town for a consultation because once you did, none of them could represent him. That would be dirty....
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:09 PM
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I think, for me, one of the most unnerving and unexpected things about leaving my AH and filing for divorce is that he is handling my leaving him and the legal requirements of the divorce with as much disdain and harassment as he put into our marriage.

I don't know why I didn't expect that, I probably should have, but I didn't. After over 6 months, he hasn't turned any financial documentation over despite Court requirements that he do so a long time ago. In my work as a consultant a number of years ago, I used to have to be a tough negotiator, and my attorney and I are having to do that now. No holds barred. Tough as h*ll. This is business now, and it is bad business.

I thought he would have some decency, given that he behaved so badly that I had to leave like I did. Nope. Not going to happen. It is making me re-assess all my divorce strategy. Now I won't even consider jointly selling our house. It would be an impossible joint project, fraught with opportunities for him to harass me further.

So, from my experience, I'd say if you can step outside of yourself, outside of your marriage, outside of your feelings for your AH, do so and look at the situation with as cold and hard an eye as you can. Have someone you know who is tough do this for you and with you if you need it. And once you've scoped out the worst case, expect it and take your decisions strategically in light of that. If it turns out better, great. But, from you've said about your AH, he may turn out to behave like mine.

Talking to lawyers is essential, in my mind, as soon as possible. Getting yourself out of having financial liability when he chooses to drive drunk, without a license to drive without a machine on the car. He's taking some huge risks for you and your son without a second glance.

Take care, Lizatola, we're all here with you and for you, and we want to see you and your son safe and secure emotionally and financially. Take what you want, and leave the rest.

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Old 01-15-2013, 02:10 PM
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It would be really wrong to see the four best divorce attys in town for a consultation because once you did, none of them could represent him. That would be dirty....
Ha! I learned that watching The Sopranos.

Liz, I waffled for a long time on what to do, and ultimately it came down to a safety and liability issue where I realized if something happened to someone else due to his drinking, I would, as always, be left holding the bag. I was done being at his mercy.

(Now I'm just mourning all that's lost! Which is its own battle.)

Bravo to you.
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