I am a US citizen married for 21 years with 2 children aged 13 and 10, living in Ohio. Husband is in and out of jobs. Currently he has been unemployed for 3 years. He has outstanding bills to the amount of over $40,000. He has not made any serious attempts to look for jobs. I am working 2 part time jobs that pay minimum wage.If I were to file for legal separation will I be held accountable for any of these expenses and will my wages be garnished?If I move out what are my rights regarding child custody and outstanding bills not owed by me and I am not named the primary.If he moves out of the country what are my legal options - can I file for legal separation and child custody?
Please, please respond. I am in a financial crisis and want to protect my children.
You are in a very difficult position. You are probably going to be responsible in one fashion or another for debts that were incurred during the marriage. If you are inclined to try and save your marriage, see if you can get him to talk with a doctor. Many people who do not work suffer from depression and/or anxiety. If he can get that fixed and get back to work, you might be able to slowly pay off your debts. Most companies are willing to forgive part of the debt so long as you pay another part of the debt. So you might consider making deals with them. If you are going to get a divorce, get the divorce and then file for bankruptcy. Make sure that you have a very competent attorney helping you with the divorce so that you can make sure that all of your debts are discharged and cannot come back to you by way of having to pay him spousal support or in some other fashion. I cannot impress upon you enough the importance of having an excellent attorney for the divorce. It is crucial.
In a legal separation, the court will divide property and determine things like custody, child support and spousal support in the same manner in which it would if a divorce was sought. The major difference, is that at the end of the proceedings, the parties are still married. It's not uncommon for legal separation to be used with older couples trying to keep health insurance available or for couples who belong to a culture where divorce is not acceptable. It is seldom a substitute for a divorce. If you are looking to be done with the man a legal separation may not be your best option. Also keep in mind that he can counterclaim for a divorce. If one spouse wants a divorce and has grounds, the Court will grant the divorce. You should definitely consult with an attorney.
This answer is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. The should consult a lawyer prior to taking any action. By providing generalized answers to posted questions, no attorney-client relationship is created between the poster and the responding attorney.
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