How do I protect myself financially in my divorce? 5 Answers as of February 15, 2011

My wife and I have been married less than 2 years and separated after 6 months due to her violent temper and abuse. We sold our house and have been in marriage counseling for over a year. Things were going well and we decided to try again. We signed a year lease on an apartment last month($1200.00 a month), traded my car in a month ago ($4,000.00 trade in credit) and we purchased a new car ($400.00 monthly payments). After only one month, violent temper and abusive behavior began and I had no choice but to leave. I believe this separation will lead to divorce as she refuses to get help, separate from marriage counseling, for her abusive behavior. At this time, she has the new car (2010 Acura) and the apartment. I am driving her old car(2006 Kia) that is in her and her father’s name. She has said I need to pay my half of the rent for the next 11 months remaining on the lease and at that time she will refinance the new car into her name only and sign the other car over to me. Besides the fact that I do not trust her, I have no way to afford this. I work full time and bring home $2,000 a month and with her new real estate position, she now brings home $4,000 a month. I cannot afford to pay her $600 a month, plus find a place to live and pay those expenses. I also have gas, insurance and student loans to pay. My thought is we need to get out of the apartment lease and come to a compromise on the new car and the older car. She seems to be holding all the cards and says that she will report the car I am driving as stolen if I don't agree. I have no key to the new car and she has all of the contract information for everything. She is 23 I am 27, we have no children and the only financial obligations are the new car and the apartment lease. The only other property is the furniture and belongings in the apartment that we acquired during the marriage. I have no idea what to do next, or how to protect myself financially. If I have no car I have no job. Thank you.

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You could report your wife's extortion effort to the police, to avoid the consequences of your wife's threat to report her car stolen. There could be significant consequences that result from doing so, but there could be significant consequences flowing from a report by your wife to the police claiming that her car was stolen. You could file a Domestic Violence Restraining Order case, based on your wife's violence, and include her threat in your declaration. Whereas you could ultimately be held liable for rent on the apartment if your wife fails to pay the rent, and whereas you could ultimately be held liable on the car loan if your wife fails to pay the car loan, those should likely not be your primary considerations at this time. If you can borrow the funds, you should retain a Divorce Lawyer to represent your interests, to file an Action for Dissolution of your marriage and to seek, among other things, Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, Spousal Support, and Attorney's fees.The Court could, at time of trial,order your wife to pay all or a larger portion of the community debts, based on her greater ability to pay. For transportation, you can take the bus for the time being, or purchase an inexpensive car. Don't make yourself your wife's victim.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
If you have made the decision that divorce is appropriate for you, then you should file right away, as this will alleviate many of your concerns. Additionally, given the disparity in income, she will likely be obligated to pay you support. I would be happy to help you with your case. Please contact me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2011
Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
I am sorry to read about your situation. We represent mostly men in divorce situations and we would be happy to talk to you free of charge on the phone or meet with you for an in office consultation for $95.

In general the person living in the apartment should pay the rent. You should not pay half the rent for a place you don't live. If she does not want to pay the full rent, than you both need to figure out how to break the lease and share the cost of any penalty. As for the cars, status quo is king during a divorce. I suggest you file and serve her a Petition for Dissolution ASAP and if she calls the police on you re: a "stolen vehicle" she will look bad to say the least.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
Contact an attorney, file for divorce, request the auto and the apartment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2011
Pisarra and Grist
Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
I would recommend that you IMMEDIATELY go to my website and download my books. They are written for men in EXACTLY YOUR SITUATION.

My book A MAN'S GUIDE TO DIVORCE STRATEGY, and A MAN'S GUIDE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE are easily accessible with no BS or legalese to confuse you. They are available on Amazon.com, BN.com and as an E-Book on my website.

After you've read them you can call me to discuss what to do next.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2011
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