I’ve been trying for quite some time to get my divorce from my wife finalized. She has taken forever to get a copy of the decree back to me, and now that she has, the decree is totally different than what we had originally agreed upon.
She changed what we had agreed for custody, insurance, credit card debt, the house and more. Should I fight for the house and assets? What are my options here?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.
You should consider countering your wife’s proposal with a reasonable division of assets and debts as well as a parenting plan that maximizes your co-parenting time with all of your children. You should consider your goals for both your co-parenting time with your children and your financial state prior to drafting a counter proposal. A qualified attorney in your state would be able to help you sort out what would be in your best interest in drafting a counter proposal for your wife.
If you proceeded to trial, typically, courts are required to maximize co-parenting time for both parents unless there is a showing that it is in the best interest of the children for one parent to be awarded more co-parenting time. In your case, there may be sufficient evidence to show that you should be awarded as the primary residential parent rather than your wife.
Depending on the child support factors, that may award you child support from your wife. It may be in both your and your children’s best interests for you to be awarded primary residential parent status.
In finalizing that proposal, you should be aware that any agreement on parenting and child support will likely be in effect until the children are either 18 or considered no longer minors in your state. In order to change the amount of child support or co-parenting time, most states require that you go through the court system. The final agreement, if one can be made, should be one you are comfortable with and feel like you can live with for many years to come.
In the event that you are unable to reach an agreement then you must proceed with the divorce process in court through a trial. Your state may or may not require that the case be mediated in good faith before a trial date is set. If your case proceeds to trial, the judge will make the final determination of who pays the debt, how much is owed per month in child support and the details of the parenting plan.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.