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DaddyGirl
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Reged: 03/25/10
Posts: 2
Separate Maintenance for my Dad?
      #645146 - 03/25/10 04:52 PM

I am so happy to have found a place to vent my frustration and get some common sense help. My dad, 68 and with Parkinson's Disease, was left by my step-mother of 28 years essentially because she didn't want to deal with his illness. She was under the impression he had Alzheimer's as well as Parkinsons and ultimately she provoked an argument that ended up with my dad slapping her (once, and he was immediately shamed and on his knees). I'm not excusing the violence, but she called me the night before for advice on how to deal with a problem she had with him and I told her not to confront him because he can't process information fast enough to keep up and he could react poorly. I promised to be there in two days to deal with the problem myself and in the meantime, she confronted him and called him a liar over and over until he slapped her. Like a shot she was out the door and never returned except when he left to go on the last hunt he'll have for the rest of his life and she cleaned out the house of everything she considers "hers" and left him a bed, dresser, couch and dining room set, his boat, four-wheeler and his guns. We have no idea what she took, everything else was gone. She also took "her" money out of the bank and caused all the checks paying the bills to be returned.

Long story short, my dad now lives with me because he can't drive, take his own medicine, cook for himself, etc. She an owner/operator of a beauty shop and does well. He gets $1500 in social security and a $250/month annuity of which she wants half, but we don't know yet if she qualifies for it. After all she's taken away, she still wants a dresser and "baker's hutch" she left and half his annuity. She asked for $500 in separate maintenance in a temp order, and we mistakenly signed it thinking we were all going to play nice. We haven't paid yet, but that was drawn up by a shared attorney, before we hired our own. Technically my dad owes it, but it would be forgiven if we signed an agreed order, so we are contesting it and will end up taking the whole thing to trial, because now she wants half his guns if he doesn't give her what she wants.

Now to my question... According to his atty., my dad has a chance of getting up to 3 years separate maintenance because his ex works, makes more money than he does, and he is unable to live alone. I cannot convince him to just give it up and give her what she wants and I'm not sure I want to because she's become "that person women become when they are fighting for their own survival" to put it nicely. My dad's in the hospital now because of the stress and he just doesn't understand why this is happening to him.

If she is going to force a contested divorce, and my dad isn't going to back down, we will have to go for broke just to get his money's worth. Should we go before a jury or a judge? We live in Deep East Texas and whole neighborhoods are polarized over this. The judge's wife probably has her hair done at my step-mother's shop and half the neighborhood thinks my dad beat her while the other half think she's done him a terrible disservice.
Will we be able to get his whole side of the story out? Do I need doctor's statements? Dad's broke and he had to pay all the bills because she moved out and he can't keep up. Their home is for sale, but who knows how long that will take. Any ideas???

Thanks so much for your help and sorry I vented. It felt good, but I know this is waaay too long. Thanks anyway :)


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CuriousGeorge
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Reged: 01/15/09
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Re: Separate Maintenance for my Dad? [Re: DaddyGirl]
      #645268 - 03/25/10 11:09 PM

Sounds to me like your Dad qualifies for the maintenance. She is able bodied. He is not. They have been married more than 10-years. No problems here.

As far as the "slap in the face" - did the police come and press charges? If she didn't even call the police, then it is a he said/she said. The court is not interested in that game.

If the judge has a conflict of interest, then you need to ask for another judge.

I say go for it. But you may spend more than you make in the long run.

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You never know someone until you divorce them.


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DaddyGirl
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Reged: 03/25/10
Posts: 2
Re: Separate Maintenance for my Dad? [Re: CuriousGeorge]
      #645834 - 03/28/10 12:08 PM

Thanks for the advice. Should I ask for a jury? I know we may end up spending more, but dad's stubborn. There was no police report, but dad will readily admit he did it and we don't encourage denying responsibility for mistakes.

Well, I guess we're in it for the long haul. This so sucks.


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CuriousGeorge
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Re: Separate Maintenance for my Dad? [Re: DaddyGirl]
      #646305 - 03/30/10 06:56 AM

I don't know. I had a lawyer advise me jury vs judge this way:

Juries believe in experts. If expert witnesses are testifying in your favor, then jury is the way to go. If you don't have expert witnesses (ie. counselors), then stick with the judge.

Regarding the slap in the face, you can say to the judge, if she didn't file charges then, why is it an issue now? How can she call it assault now, if she refused to call the police then. For your dad's situation, I am leaning toward the judge and not the jury. A judge may have a higher standard of evidence (police report, doctor's report, etc), than a jury who may be easily swayed by testimony. A judge sees these family disputes everyday, a jury does not. A judge may have a high threshold because they see a wide degree of cases that include a wide degree of assault or abuse.

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You never know someone until you divorce them.


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