How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dimitry K., Esq. Your Own Question
Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
18572087
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Dimitry K., Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Im considering a divorce.

This answer was rated:

I've been married for 11 years and I'm considering a divorce. We've been together for 14 years. Since 2004 I've been hospitalized 6 times for mental illness issues. I recently lost my job and am now applying for disability benefits because I cannot keep a steady job. I don't know if I'll be approved and how much I can get each month to support myself. During my marriage I've dealt with emotional abuse (countless times) and physical abuse (three times). I'm currently a resident in PA. We don't have children, but we do own a house with a mortgage, which is our only debt. I would like to know what sort of rights I have if I decide to go this route. Financially, I don't know what alimony would be and for how long it will last. I do not feel I can handle being married anymore, but I'm also worried about caring for myself if I have another episode, which could potentially land me in the hospital. And also being able to survive without an income is a huge concern. I don't have any family or friends I can stay with either. I did have an affair in 2009 for two months and my husband is aware of it.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Thank you for your question. Please allow me to assist you this evening. I am a Pennsylvania licensed professional and will do my best to try to help.

If I may ask, what are the approximate income levels for you both? I ask to best give you a closer estimate of what you may be looking at pertaining to support. Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

2012 he made $54,000 and I made $11,000. But I lost my job Jan 2013, so I now have zero income. I'm told Social Security could deny my claim or take years for approval.


 


How many years can I have alimony for?


 


My husband tells me his employer won't cover me under his health insurance if I divorce him. Do I have any legal rights with his health insurance? I'm worried about continuing affordable mental health treatment with the same therapist.


 


Do I have any legal action I can take with the trauma I've suffered during our marriage?


 


Does my affair hurt me at all from a legal standpoint if I decide to get a divorce? Thanks.

Thank you for your follow-up.

The commonwealth does not have direct guidelines for spousal support like they do for child support but the courts generally grant alimony between 15% to 28% of the difference in income between the parties, with that percentage decreasing the greater the difference in income would be. In this situation, if he makes $54,000 and you currently have no earnings, that gives you support anywhere from about $8,100 to about $15,000 a year, generally paid out monthly. As you have been married for about a medium length of time, the courts would allow alimony to last no more than 8 years, or about 2/3 to 75% of the length of the marriage.

Pennsylvania does not grant divorced couples the right to remain on their former spouse's insurance, but under federal guidelines you can purchase COBRA insurance and obtain an extension under which you could remain under this policy for up to 3 years.

As for the trauma, courts do not usually permits suits for emotional distress. For physical harm, that should have been pursued when the violence occured and you generally cannot sue him now for that harm.

Your affair is generally not an issue but if he pursues a 'fault' based divorce, the courts may choose to lessen or even not grant spousal support payments over to you.

Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq. and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He works in NJ, does that make a difference with the health insurance? If I have up to 3 years for COBRA insurance, does that mean I need to apply for Medicaid after that?


 


I didn't want to call the police after he hurt me physically this past January because I was afraid he would get arrested and lose his job.


 


So after the distress I suffered I have no course of action? Not even a case outside of family law? This doesn't give me any right to increased support or more years of alimony?


 


I did read somewhere online that abuse towards a spouse has a greater weight than one affair. And judges often don't take affairs into account. So this information I found isn't correct?

Thank you for your follow-up.

The health insurance does not make a difference as the law that governs would be where you get divorced and not who provides the insurance.

My apologies but abuse does not grant greater rights, it does not grant greater support or more assets. Furthermore, abuse has to be proven by making calls to the police and pressing charges. Otherwise this is a hearsay situation of 'he said/she said' and one where the courts without additional evidence simply tend to mostly disregard the information. Abuse plays a greater role for child custody and a split of responsibilities, but it plays far less of a role for spousal support or for an asset split. Outside of family law you could conceivably sue for damages but without evidence and without direct proof it would be a waste of time as the courts would not consider it as you meeting your burden--as the plaintiff you would have the burden of proving that the situation took place as you stated and that you suffered injury. In cases where there is a 50/50 split, the burden is not met and the case gets dismissed.

As for what you read, that is true when it comes to child support and child custody. For spousal support the information is not quite accurate. Courts look to a variety of factors when awarding support, and fault of parties is one of those factors. So is future income potential, length of marriage, education, and literally dozens of others.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I showed my therapist the bruise this last time, does that count as proof? But that would only be proof of one time out of three.......


 


I'm sorry, I'm just so upset about my situation

Showing evidence of a bruise is not enough. While you can state that the husband caused it, there is no eye witness to the event, and therefore no proof. The husband can claim that you caused the bruise yourself and there is no ability to disprove otherwise. I am not defending your spouse, merely pointing to the flaws in your claim. Either claim can be equally valid without anything else disproving or proving the facts further.

My apologies but I hope the rest of the information was useful to you. Kindly do not forget to positively rate my answers to you so that I may obtain credit for assisting you this morning. Thank you!