Your first step is to get a lawyer to protect your interests and the interests of your children. I am gathering that you are headed to divorce. That is something where the sooner you get legal help the better it will go.
If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you. Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.
In terms of contracts law, you are only liable to creditors for debts that have your name on them. However, that would not prevent you from being held responsible for other debts in the divorce proceeding.
Speaking of which (divorce), if your marriage is headed there you should give serious consideration to retaining an attorney to assist you.
I hope this information helps answer your question(s).
~ Kem Eyo
The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.
This is a sticky question. The court has the ability to divide all debts that are marital, essentially meaning debts that were acquired during the marriage. If you stop contributing to marital debts that are rightfully jointly owed then you might be penalized by the court in the final division of property. the best advice is to ask yourself if you think you are being fair and reasonable when making these decisions.
Your question is too complex to adequately answer on a message board. You do need the advice of an attorney. You can do a legal separation in Georgia. There can be many pitfalls when a couple going through a divorce or even separating and are still living under the same roof. Who pays what bills? Who pays the mortgage? Who takes care of the kids when? Who gets the kids when? Does there need to be an exchange of child support? What about the assets - what happens if one spouse begins dissipating some of the financial accounts?
Living under the same roof in this type of situation also creates a lot of tension. Tension that can have a detrimental impact on the kids and can also lead to a situation where one spouse alleges family violence against the other spouse. I'm not saying that you should move out, because that also has issues and consequences with which to deal, but you need to be able to make informed decisions.
I certainly recommend that you discuss your situation with a family law attorney.
Georgia does have legal separation. I do not perform many in my practice because often couples really desire a divorce. Like several of the attorneys who have answered your question, I would advise you to consider filing for a divorce so that you can make sound decisions about what obligations you have to pay. A temporary hearing in a divorce could resolve your financial issues and other issues regarding your children. Best of luck to you!
First step is to gain counsel or at least get a free consultation. You have a lot of moving parts to what you describe above that simply cannot be answered without more analysis and detail. FYI, as to the boyfriend, and as you may or may not know, adultery is a bar to alimony in Georgia. If your spouse is cheating, and you gain evidence of same, she will be barred from any alimony claim. Although statutorily, alimony does not automatically effect equitable division of your assets (as it does alimony), many Judges readily admit that a party's "character" definitely comes into play when the issue of equitable division is put before them.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.