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need advice please =]

Hi ladies, sorry if this is super long but I need advice regarding getting divorced from a Marine and what I'm entitled to.

About 2 weeks ago, my husband unexpectedly left home and told me he is and has been miserable and wants a divorce. We were fighting a lot, but nothing I didn't think we couldn't work through... I was completely blindsided, to be honest. My husband says that he doesn't want to try counseling, and that he loves me as a person and his "best friend" but his love for me has changed and he doesn't think we'll ever be "in love" and doesn't see anything getting better. He's one of the most negative people I've met in my entire life, and to be honest I'm not surprised that he can't see things getting better, but it's still a slap in the face regardless.

I'm resigned to getting divorce, and can't see him changing his mind, so am trying to proceed with this and make it as quick and painless as possible. When he hadn't been home for a week (he said he was thinking, but at that point he thought he wanted to try still, maybe go to counseling) I was researching my options for what I'm entitled to if he were to want a divorce, and emailed the Chaplain from my husband's unit. I know I am entitled to half of our BAH, medical benefits, and a roof over my head, as the chaplain says.

Now here is where it gets sticky. My husband says that because we (really he, because he has a spending problem and applied for numerous credit cards to boost his credit rating, only to allow them all to go to collections months later... None of them are in my name, luckily) have debt that he is "taking on", that he is "going above and beyond what he should be doing" and he should be giving me a hell of a lot less than my half of the BAH to make up for the debt, and the loan that he has that we took out for our wedding and to my best knowledge, will be done paying in March.

I know debt/belongings are community property in California, but I'm assuming other things like car loans are as well. We purchased a used 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee in February of this year. We put a 3100 down payment to get better financing, and have made 11 payments on the Jeep for a total of around 8k paid on the Jeep. I do not have my own car and have taken the bus to work for nearly three years, so my husband can have a car.

One of my questions is this: if the debt is considered mine (even though I rarely buy anything for myself aside from food, the occasional piece of clothing for work or toiletries, he does ALL the spending) because we live in a community property state, wouldn't what we've paid into the Jeep be community property as well? From what I've researched online, it doesn't matter whose name is on the title, the money came from both of us in our joint bank account and is considered community property, am I correct in assuming this?

Because of the debt that is supposedly mine too, is my husband allowed to reduce the amount of BAH he gives me until our divorce is final? He holds the money over my head and any time I do or say anything he doesn't like, he threatens to give me what BAH I'm entitled to, minus money for the loan, etc. I'm already taking a loss because our rent is $1075 and he's only giving me half of our BAH, which ends up being $900, so I end up paying the extra on rent, the utilities, the $200 from last months rent that he paid late and said we'd pay this month, and I still have to save money for a down payment so I can get a car for myself.

Also, he was furious when I told him I emailed the Chaplain, because he apparently can get in trouble because the Chaplain will talk to people. That makes no sense to me, and I feel like he's trying to withhold information from me so he will have the upper hand. Is the Chaplain allowed to go tell the Colonel or my husbands COC about us divorcing? I was under the impression that things are somewhat confidential while talking to him and that he'd only tell people if my husband beat me or wasn't giving me any money whatsoever. And even so, divorce happens. Unless he has something to hide, I don't see why he would get in trouble. I'm not going to tattle on him, tell them about his extreme drinking problems (not my problem anymore), or do anything to drag his name through the dirt, but I'm entitled to information. Is there any sense to what he's saying? I don't know who else to turn to who can give me advice, aside from this message board.

I'm sorry this is so long, and I understand that I can't get true legal advice, I'm just trying to understand my rights and make sure I'm not being screwed over.

Thanks in advance for reading, and if anyone could give me any advice or point me in any direction that could help me out that would be fantastic. If you need to PM me to ask anything as well, feel free. I just feel like I'm grasping at straws and don't know my rights and its scary and frustrating. Thanks, ladies!

Re: need advice please =]

  • You need to be asking a lawyer, preferably one well versed in military divorce. Have you spoken to JAG yet? They can provide you with free legal advice.
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  • image SpunkyBlowfish:
    You need to be asking a lawyer, preferably one well versed in military divorce. Have you spoken to JAG yet? They can provide you with free legal advice.

     

    No, I haven't. I don't have my own car and live about 30 minutes away from the part of base where JAG is... my sister or best friend work during the week so they can't take me or let me use their car... I have a few friends that could probably take me, but don't know if my husband has already spoken to them... they're not allowed to give me advice if my husband has spoken to them, right? Is JAG the same as Base Legal? That's where the Chaplain said I should start, and that they will give me information to start the process.

  • image sugarontop:

    image SpunkyBlowfish:
    You need to be asking a lawyer, preferably one well versed in military divorce. Have you spoken to JAG yet? They can provide you with free legal advice.

     

    No, I haven't. I don't have my own car and live about 30 minutes away from the part of base where JAG is... my sister or best friend work during the week so they can't take me or let me use their car... I have a few friends that could probably take me, but don't know if my husband has already spoken to them... they're not allowed to give me advice if my husband has spoken to them, right? Is JAG the same as Base Legal? That's where the Chaplain said I should start, and that they will give me information to start the process.

    I would at the very least make a phone call and see if you can set up an appointment to see them. You are correct that they can only advise one of you so I would be sure to see them asap if possible. I realize it's difficult because of the driving situation. Is there a way you can drive him to work one day and borrow the car?

    image
  • Base legal can probably help you over the phone, honestly. They can't represent you (or your H) in a civil matter like divorce, so they generally just give you the name of a lawyer out in town who is experienced in military divorce and can represent you. I know my H helps people out over the phone all the time.

    If they won't, might be worth making an appointment and just taking a cab.

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  • He shouldn't get in trouble just for you talking to a Chaplain, as that is what they are there for.  It sounds like your H is just trying to keep you out of the loop.  I agree with the others that you should call base legal to see what your options are.  If it comes down to it, take a cab or a bus there.

    The military will make sure that you are taken care of.  They do also need to make sure his debt and bills are being taken care of as well.  Generally they will talk with him about his financial obligations, and have him set up allotments out of his paycheck.  If he ever cancels your allotment or doesn't send you what he is supposed to you can call the Ombudsman/Key Volunteer about it.

    They won't care however that you are in a lease for $1200 a month and only getting $800 from him, or whatever the numbers end up being.  It will be your responsibility to make up the difference, or get out of your lease and find a cheaper place.   

    image BabyFruit Ticker
  • Legal told me jackshit. Like he said I can't give you any legal advice on divorces and/or what you're entitled to while divorce is pending/legal separation. But, I hear other ladies has experience on it and maybe I got a crappy lawyer at the time. My husband and I have split our property on our own and will be filing as simply as possible. Luckily, we have no debt and we decided to split our E-fund evenly once the divorce is finalized and have agreed on the division of property without ligatgation. I would make sure you both are calm and then discuss how you want to split what and if you would like to use the same lawyer.
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  • image LemonLover33:
    Legal told me jackshit. Like he said I can't give you any legal advice on divorces and/or what you're entitled to while divorce is pending/legal separation. But, I hear other ladies has experience on it and maybe I got a crappy lawyer at the time. My husband and I have split our property on our own and will be filing as simply as possible. Luckily, we have no debt and we decided to split our E-fund evenly once the divorce is finalized and have agreed on the division of property without ligatgation. I would make sure you both are calm and then discuss how you want to split what and if you would like to use the same lawyer.

     You didn't have a crappy lawyer-- they really can't give you much advice. All they can do is recommend a lawyer who can help you, or give you worksheets to help you figure financial stuff out on your own. Divorce is a civil matter, and a lot of it will depend on where you file. In my H's office, the lawyers are all licensed all over the place, and as a lawyer, you can't give legal advice in a state in which you're not licensed. So they really can only give advice for military matters.

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  • Your attorney can and will write a letter to YH's command so they can enforce spousal support, and believe me, they will. Camp Pendleton also had a divorce class. Get yourself to JAG anyway, explain that he's trying to short you, and see what they'll do. Then get a civilian attorney to deal with the debt stuff. 
    I've seen a lot of military surprise homecomings. It wouldn't work on me. I always have my back to the corner and my face to the door. Looking for terrorists, criminals, various other threats, and husbands.
  • Also, he was furious when I told him I emailed the Chaplain, because he apparently can get in trouble because the Chaplain will talk to people. That makes no sense to me, and I feel like he's trying to withhold information from me so he will have the upper hand.

    Of course he is mad.  :(  He doesn't want everyone else knowing that he is being a complete sh!tbag about everything.  The sad fact is that if he is acting like this to you, the rest of the guys probably know he is scum and he is trying to save what's left of his reputation.  It sounds like he is trying to be manipulative and domineering.  Please don't fall for it.  You need to protect yourself.  Don't worry about who you tell and don't worry about his career. Lawyers will decide how your assets, etc get divided and what he must pay you in support. Do NOT agree to anything until you have a lawyer to represent you.  

    R & R: est 2003 LOs: 4/2005, 10/2007, 2/2011 Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • My husband doesn't want me to say anything to friends or family about getting a divorce. It's another tactic of control and manipulation. Do not hesitate to seek the help you need and contact anyone you need to.
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  • I don't know the legal capacities in California, but I do know that in a military divorce, unless you've been married 10 years, you're not technically 'entitled' to anything--- the judge CAN reward you a portion of his potential retirement money depending on the circumstances/situation, but he/she does not HAVE to reward you anything.

    As far as until the divorce is finalized, as long as you are married, you are still a dependent and he is responsible for maintaining the lifestyle (bills and medical care) that you have had since being married. 

    As PP have said, base legal cannot represent you, but they should be able to let you know what his responsibilities are to you until the divorce is finalized.

     

     

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