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16 years of separation my husband files for divorce. He says I must sign and there isn't anything to agree on. Is he right?

Brooklyn, NY |

From New York, He has full custody of my 19 year old daughter, I owe him approx 6 years ( 30k )in child support. He's a truck driver for a Local Union and lives in Westchester NY, I live in Brooklyn and am currently displaced and unemployed for over 5 years due to health issues and other difficulties. My daughter is trying to get into medical school and I want to be able to financially support her, but currently am unable to. My husband located me and has been threatening me to sign divorce papers with no questions asked and if I don't he will incarcerate me for child support. I am absolutely fearful of this man and I'm not sure what I should do? Can signing come back to bite me? He has screwed me over 20 years in the making and I'm sure he has something up his sleeve. Please Help.

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Attorney answers 9

Best Answer

Signing without having a lawyer review the document would be a big mistake. Look for legal services organzizations or law school legal clinics to see if they handle matrimonial cases.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


It sounds like you should have a lawyer look over the papers. It also sounds like you need to do something about the child support. Perhaps he can put in the papers that he waives the arrears or otherwise help you. I agree with the other lawyer: look online for pro bono organizations that can help you.


I would bet that if he is a truck driver for a union, he has a pension that you should be receiving a share of. Do not sign anything without having an attorney review it first.

Jeffrey Bruce Gold

Jeffrey Bruce Gold


Poster - Ms Mahserjian's answer is dead on.


I 100% concur that you should not sign anything without a lawyer. It sounds to me like he's trying to bully you into signing away your rights to some property, and possibly even spousal support. Is there a written separation agreement that has been signed by both parties and notarizd? Is there either a written agreement or a court order with respect to child support? If not, then you don't owe him anything unless and until he files for support. If there's no separation agreement then all issues surrounding the divorce are still open; nothing has been resolved. Either way, I strongly suggest you consult with an experienced divorce lawyer.



No separation agreement, no agreement at all, It is court ordered child support and I've search for a pro bono attorney through various organizations; such as In Motion, Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Bar Assoc and have been told that I can be given advise but no representation. Not sure what to do next.


You definitely need the assistance of a lawyer with this. Only an attorney looking at your separation agreement and the divorce papers will be able to properly advise you.


Ms Maserjhian hit it on the head. Find some legal help as soon as possible so that you get to do some horsetrading.

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice which requires all the details, nor creates an attorney client relationship.


Your husband cannot force you to sign anything at all. Review your options with a lawyer. You indicate that you ow 30K in child support, is that pursuant to an order or just what you think you owe?


I urge you not to sign anything until you consult a divorce attorney. You may be entitled to division of marital assets including your husbands pension. He cannot force you to sign. Please contact a local attorney ASAP to discuss your options.

Law Offices of Richard Batelman
Richard Batelman, Esq


First, you must have your papers reviewed by a lawyer.

Second, as to his threat to throw you in jail for failing to pay child support, generally speaking, a father or mother can only ask the Court to incarcerate you if 1) there is an actual judge that promulgated a child support order and you 2) your failure to pay was willful.

Third, why are you fearful of this man, does he pose a risk of physical harm?

Fourth, what sort of assets accrued during the marriage, including potential retirement funds and pensions. You are entitled to equitable (not equal) distributionof the marital assets.

Fifth, if you are living in New York and you do not have funds to pay for a lawyer and/or you can not support yourself during the pendency of the divorce action, your New York Divorce Lawyer might advise you that you should not consent to the divorce and that you contest the action and apply for temporary maintenance, to wit, spousal support.

Only a New York divorce lawyer can advise you at all after reviewing the paperworks and talking to you about the particular set of facts of your case, and you should consult a lawyer right away. This piece of information is just that-information and should NOT be contstrued as legal advice.

Good luck and God Bless.

Lisa Beth Older
New York Divorce Lawyer

Not intended as legal advise as I dont have all of the facts......see an attorney before you take action.....



Fear, because of his threats and previous domestic violence. I've had the same child support magistrate for over 15 years and when in her presence I might as well be invisible. The only thing I do know is that he is a unionized truck driver, clueless to his property or finances...he has boasted about being successful with a big home in Westchester, and has been threatening me to do as he says or else. I really appreciate your advise and will exhaust all avenues until I get the help I need.

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