-I'm a Non-immigrant, Married a girl outside the US and lived together for 14 months in MN, US immediately after marriage.
-Hired an attorney and served the petition to the girl after separation
-Girl hired an attorney and contested the divorce, with monetary support from her Uncle.
-Girl is a home maker and has no earnings in the US
-Girl, was working before marriage outside the US and is equally qualified to work, as me.
-There is no Marital money remaining post separation
-Have gone through FENE but with no good outcome.
-Have been assigned a pre-trial date
-Already spent $11000 on attorney Fees
-Considering her qualification, past work experience, contribution, short term of marriage(14 months), would there be any spousal maintenance & attorney fees awarded to her?
-Can I fight Pro Se
Estate Planning Attorney
Since you have already hired an attorney, it would be best if you were to direct your questions to him/her.
Minnesota allows parties in a divorce to represent themselves Pro Se. Generally this is a poor strategy. The old saying - he who represents himself in court has a fool for a client - holds true. The Pro Se litigant is too close to the case and too emotionally involved to make optimal choices. Also, the Pro Se litigant is expected to know and follow all the court rules and the law - the court is not going to educate you if you don't know how to "play the game" or how the law actually works (has been interpreted by court rulings).
As for your question on maintenance and attorney's fees, the point of an FENE is to give the parties a neutral opinion of the most likely outcome (based on the application of the law to the set of facts presented) should they go to court. I would look to the neutral's opinion on maintenance and attorney's fees as an indication of whether or not a court would award them should your matter go to trial.
My best advice is this - talk to the attorney you have already hired - if you can't/won't work with that attorney, hire one that you can work with. Let him or her know about your concerns and questions and then take his/her advice. If the cost of litigation is a concern, work toward a mutually agreeable settlement (perhaps hire a mediator) rather than battle it out in court.
The proceeding is simply for informational purposes. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.