Question: What can I do to change the proposed condition in our divorce? She filed for divorce claiming that I have caused our family to break apart because of a gambling issue, our financial problems, and many disagreements. I admitted my mistakes and signed the divorce papers without disagreeing to all her requests. I found out later that she had been gambling constantly and had been meeting someone for a while. How can I change or revise the conditions, such as the $750 child support and especially the custody of my kids? Will it be in my favor if I presented a police report of her attacking and hitting? Can I use her bank statements proving she’s been gambling? Is it considered abandonment when she told me and our son she was leaving as she packed her bag and did not come home until the next night? Do I need a lawyer?
Answer: First of all, yes, I advise anyone who is a party to a divorce to obtain an attorney. In fact I would advise that you do this before you do anything else.
In some states, marital misconduct can be taken into consideration. It seems as though this may be an issue for both you and your wife in regards to the gambling accusations. You need to meet with and retain an attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state and locally in your district court. The allegations from you and your wife may or may not be important to the final outcome of your divorce.
Also, an attorney can help you modify your child support obligation and the custody arrangement. A police report detailing an incident of her attacking and hitting you could be used as evidence against your wife; it probably won’t be a smoking gun, but it could help to stack the chips against her. Same thing with the bank statements; they could be another piece of evidence helping to stack the chips.
I don’t know whether the issue of abandonment would have any bearing on your divorce, but again, that incident could be another piece of evidence showing a pattern of behavior that is less than favorable for your wife. These types of evidence will help you in a custody dispute. Again, you should retain an attorney who can help you with all of this.
Claudia J. Weaver is an Associate Attorney with Cordell & Cordell, P.C., in Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Weaver practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations.