My wife an I are separating. She is the primary breadwinner and I the carer. She works long hours, and wants me to leave the home so that she can at least see the kids am and pm. When I rejected this she threatened to quit her job and allow foreclosure on the home (in her name). I have agreed because a) I sympathize with her and b) because she does have the economic muscle and does own the home, and I earn very little. She has since moved her mother in as caregiver pending my departure. A viable parent is being replaced by a grandparent. This is surely not healthy for the kids. The interests of the children are key here? Can she be forced to continue paying for the house and supporting the kids if I opt not to leave, and remain in full time care of the kids? Can she legally sink the ship?
Family Law Attorney
You have a legal means to prevent her from doing this. When a divorce case is filed in Oregon, a 'statutory restraining order' automatically goes into effect. This is not a restraining order that prohibits people from talking to or being near each other (see this page for more information about restraining orders used to prevent domestic violence). Rather, this order prohibits either spouse from hiding or disposing of marital assets, including real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, or other property. The law is intended to prevent one party to a divorce from hiding or keeping assets from the other, or from bullying with threats to dispose of things - exactly what she's doing.
It also bears mention that one of the main factors in child custody decision is which parent is more likely to foster and encourage a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent. A parent who tries to cut the other parent out is making a serious mistake. But if you wait too long, then what she's doing may come to be regarded as the status quo. Courts highly value stability and continuity for children. So you should take action promptly. You should consult with a domestic relations lawyer in your area as soon as you can. You can call the Oregon State Bar for a free referral at 503-684-3763.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
You should discuss your situation in detail with a local attorney immediately. It is almost always a bad idea to allow a house to go into foreclosure.
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Child Custody Lawyer
Once the divorce petition is filed you can also file a motion asking that she be required to continue paying the bills that she paid before while the case is pending. You can also ask for temporary spousal support and use of the residence with the children. The procedure depends on your county so you should seek the advice of an attorney in private
My response(s) to the question(s) on this website do not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is not created until a Fee Agreement has been signed. In addition, my suggestions are based on very limited information provided by the Asker and are given based on my experiences and general circumstances. My suggestions may not ultimately be applicable to the Asker's situation because of the limited amount of information provided. No suggestion is guaranteed to be sucessful. Case specifics should not be shared online. You should seek specific legal advice in a private setting. Shannon L. Hall, Attorney at Law (Licensed in Oregon) 245 East 4th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401 Phone: 541-434-2411, Email: Shannon@GoodOregonLawyers.com
I agree with what other attorneys have posted regarding the financial aspects of your situation. You should also consider that if you move out of the family home, you are potentially allowing your wife to establish a new status quo of her being the "primary caretaker" of the children (even though she would be at work, she would be the parent in the home each day). This could damage your chances of getting custody (decision-making authority regarding education/health/residence/religion of children) or the greater proportion of the parenting time with your children.
You should consult with an attorney immediately about your rights and options, and the implications of the different choices you have available to you.
The information contained in this response is for informational purposes only and should not be acted upon without first consulting legal counsel. This information is not intended to constitute legal advice. Further, the materials and information in this response are general in nature and may not apply to your particular circumstances. Every case is different. Viewing this response does not establish an attorney-client relationship.