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Joseph, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7280
Experience:  I have over a decade of experience as a Family Law litigator
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Thank you in advance for any assistant that you can give me

Resolved Question:

Thank you in advance for any assistant that you can give me with respect to my situation.

I have been dating a man for 13 years. We live as neighbors for 11 years in southern California. He took a job in Northern California and wanted me to go with him but I would not go unmarried and would not leave my home, job, friends and family. Therefore, we proceeded to get married on 2/15/08. He moved before I did. I wanted and needed time to get my office in order and close out some of my files. Then with pressure from him, I to move to northern cal to be with him in May of 08. He did not want me to work and promised to pay for everything. I have a son from a prior marriage as well. Neither one of us have ever lived together, just neighbors 3 houses away from one another. Trouble started the first week I moved there. He started yelling at me and telling me that this was his house, not mine and he constantly put downs about how he pays for everything. However, he would not give me a penny to even buy myself a new bra or my son any kind of school items, clothing or necessities. He was very controlling. I told him that I wanted to go back to work and he said no, you need to stay home but all the time he was putting me down for not working. Very contradicting.

In any event, about a year and 10 months went by and we got in a hugh fight. I was tired of the way he treated me and having him kick me out all the time. I had no where to go and no job to get any money. I have worked for over 20 years and have always provided for my self and my son. I had no friends or family in Nor Cal either. On December of 09 he acted so crazy that I had to call the police on him. After that time, he filed for divorce. He does not want to give me a penny. He said that our marriage was too short and he doesn’t have to give me a thing. He made me quit my job, give up my home of 22 years, friends and family and would not let me work and now he wants a divorce and will not give me a penny. I went to several attorney’s and all want to charge me a $15K retainer fee and said (maybe) they can get him to pay the legal fees but maybe not. I do not have that kind of money. I also had medical insurance for me and my son before I was married. Now, I will not even have medical insurance and I have medical conditions such as diabetic, etc. My son is in college and he also needs medical insurance. In addition, he made me sign a pr-nuptial agreement the day before the wedding. I felt pressured because I loved him so much and wanted to marry him. Neither one of us had it reviewed by a lawyer and he composed it himself from a site on the internet. I have been told that it is not legal since we did not have it reviewed and it was signed a day before the marriage... However, the lawyers I talk to said that it would be $15K for me to file a motion to quash it. In addition, they state that I would probably be entitled to some support but probably less then the $15K retainer. Therefore, I am stuck on how to get any help or what I should do. I was served with the Stipulated Judgment that I have to review and sign and it is giving all my rights away and -0- support. He works for the State and makes about $70K a year. He has great retirement benefits that he wants me to sign off on them as well. He wants me to sign off being his beneficiary as well. I do not know what to do. I do not know if it is worth fighting but I gave up everything for this man and he walks away with everything and more and still has his same job and home and I have nothing. All my family now has moved to Dallas Texas and he will not even help me with the expenses to move there but that is the only place that I have any family to go to.

What I guess I would like to know, is it worth the $15K to fight him? Or, is better to just walk away and learn a very hard lesson?

Any advise you may have is sooo much appreciated.

Warmest regards,
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 7 years ago.

You provided a lot of information and I'm sure you have a lot of questions. Let's start with the financial issues....


First, you should begin with your state bar association. The California State Bar has a website, it is located at


I do not know your county of residence but your county bar association likely has a similar site that will be more specific to your location.


Additionally, Martindale Hubbell is a national organization that rates attorneys across the country. Their website is located at


Additionally, there is quite likely a legal aid society in your area. A quick internet search and/or phone book search should locate the society closest to you.


Each of these resources will have a wealth of information as to attorneys in your area that handle such cases and that would provide services for free or at a reduced cost.


As the attorneys have suggested, you can quite likely get an award of attorneys fees from your husband. The general rule is needs versus ability to pay. In other words, if you are in need of financial assistance and he has the ability to provide assistance, then the court would quite probably order him to pay your fees.



Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Attn Joseph,


Thank you for your time and assistances. However, it does not answer my question. Maybe it will help if I tell you that I live in California. I thought you would pick that up being I stated that I moved from sourthern California to Northern California.


Again, can you read my original question and provided me with your opinion as to my short term marriage wold allow me any support being that I left a full and wonderful life and gave it all up and was displaced and not allowed to work. Or if it is not worth it and the cost would be more then the pay off.


Thank you again for you help in this matter.



Expert:  Joseph replied 7 years ago.

I apologize, I should have been more clear in my original post. I understood that you were likely in need of a great deal of assistance. My first post wasn't intended to answer all of your questions, I meant it as a starting point anticipating that you would ask follow up questions and we would narrow the focus as we went along.


Regardless, give me a moment to read through everything again and I'll respond in just a bit.


Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Joseph replied 7 years ago.

Due to the short-term nature of your marriage, it is highly improbable that you would receive any long-term support. One of the foremost factors in awarding support is the length of the marriage. With a two year marriage, you have no reasonable expectation of long-term support.


However, you do have a compelling case for temporary and/or short-term support. By temporary, I mean during the time that the divorce is proceeding through the court system. As to short-term, this would essentially be a form of rehabilitation after the divorce is concluded to assist you in getting back to where you were prior to the marriage.


As to the pre-nup, I would agree that it is probably meaningless. It is a generally accepted legal theory that a pre-nup signed in the days prior to the wedding day is subject to being set-aside. For a pre-nup to be acceptable, both parties should have it reviewed by an attorney (or at least have the opportunity to do so) and it should be fully executed well prior to the wedding day.


As to the house that you "gave up", you should be able to recoup your losses. For example, if you sold the house for a $50,000 profit and then put that money in a joint account, you certainly have a valid argument that you should be entitled to the full $50,000 back. Just like the short-term nature of the marriage hurts your claim to spousal support, it helps your claim here.


Please let me know if you need any additional clarification.



Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you. It sounds like you are saying that I would probably be entitled to some support but not as much as it would cost me to be represented by an attoreny that is famular with pre-nups. A lot of attorenys do not know the law on them and to find one that would go to trial to have it set aside would take the $15K and I would probably only get about $8K or thereabout, I have been told.

Expert:  Joseph replied 7 years ago.

Candidly, you are probably correct.


Attorneys fees vary widely from state to state and even county to county. And, of course, retainers are partially based on the complexities of the issues. This can include the length of marriage, whether or not children are involved, the amount of assets included in the marriage, the incomes of the parties, and other issues.


Having said all that, $15,000 seem high based on the facts you've provided to me. That was the reason I included the links and other information in my first post, I would urge you to check into a few other attorneys in your area. It would seem probable you get locate an attorney to start your case for less. I would suggest you could retain an attorney for less based on the short-term nature of the marriage and the probability of obtaining funds from your spouse.



Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.

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