I stay at home w/my 3 children and have no form of income for myself other than my husband's salary. He has all of the financial control and has threatened to fight for full custody of my kids w/only holiday and summer visitation if I attempt to divorce him. He's told me that if I do, it will be catastrophic! I've had my two youngest children w/me out of state for the past 8 days. I left to visit family for a weekend but after getting into a fight over the phone, I've stayed longer. He is now saying that I've taken the kids from him and is claiming it's a hostage situation? I'm planning on returning home tomorrow but I don't feel comfortable staying there.
You need to speak with an attorney immediately because he wants to force you to stay married, which he can't. You may not be expected to work if your children are young. That may benefit your custody case. He will likely have to pay both child and spousal support. You need divorce planning with the help of an attorney.
You certainly should consult with a family law attorney. Unfortunately, there are situations where one spouse seems to have all of the power. Many times one spouse will threaten and misinform the other. It can be frightening. However, you do not have to stay married to someone who you no longer want to be married to. The first step toward regaining balance for yourself, and your children, is divorce planning. If you fear violence, it is imperative that you are in a safe place (trusted friend or shelter) before you let your spouse know you will be divorcing.
A confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney will help you to sort out your options and to make decisions regarding what to do next. Best of luck to you.
This response is intended to be a general statement of law and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
Unfortunately these types of cases are not rare. You certainly do NOT have to stay married to him (as California is a no fault divorce system) and he can continue to threaten that he will take custody away from you until he is blue in the face, but absent you posing some sort of harm to the children or being an unfit parent, that is less likely to happen. I would suggest you consult with an attorney, file your petition for dissolution of marriage and get an Order to Show Cause on calendar for spousal support, child support, attorney's fees, custody and visitation. If he has retirements/benefit plans, the attorney will join them to the action to make sure he does not liquidate them. If you have any equity in your home (assuming you own it), the attorney will presumably protect it by filing a lis pendens. Simply put, given that you don't know the full extent of the finances and assets, given your husband has had full control over them, I would strongly recommend that you find an attorney that you are comfortable with and who will protect your interests. Best of luck!
The information contained is general in nature, and may not apply to your particular factual or legal circumstances. The materials do not constitute legal advice or opinions and should not be relied up on as such. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Please seek professional counsel as nothing contained herein is intended to be a substitute for legal counsel.
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