I pay child and spouse support, do I need to pay her bills on top of that if we are not legally separated? I can't afford a lawyer, they want over 1,000 dollars for a retainer fee. I have a separation agreement from when she left Germany. Can I use that in the court to determine our separation date even if we have intercourse after that?
Depending on the state where you file a divorce, your intercourse MAY impact how long it will be before you can complete a divorce.
So long as you are active duty you will be required to provide sufficient support for your wife and child--if she seeks guidance from the Legal Service Office and advises them that she not receiving sufficient funds, you can expect your command to move quickly to ensure you set up allotments.
You can divorce your wife, she does not need to be the one to initiate the divorce.
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You can file for divorce in the jurisdiction where she is living.
You can go to the base legal office. They can give you free assistance in preparing a separation agreement, and guidance on how to file your divorce.
But here's the practical question. You don't want to pay for the divorce now, but in the process you are going to spend time and money dealing with her. And, as Mr. Rafter notes, if she complains you may end up in a much worse situation. This is one of those situations that you shouldn't allow to fester.
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Whether or not you can use the separation or not will depend on the law of the jurisdiction in which you file. For example, in Arkansas one of the grounds for divorce is separation without cohabitation for more than 18 months. If you are separated for 17 months and then "cohabit" one evening the time starts to run again.
Check with some attorneys who practice in the state that your wife is living in. They may have payment plans or accept credit cards. Divorces are one of those things in which paying an attorney to do things right at the first can save you much more time and money in the future.
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Estate Planning Attorney
I agree with the other lawyers. If you have been living separate and apart for one year, you may unilaterally obtain a divorce. There are attorneys in Pittsburgh who do pro bono work for members of the military or will do it a reduced rate.
The advice given is general in nature and consultation with a lawyer is neccssary.