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#772250 - 08/03/16 06:25 PM Mediation Questions
eme Offline

recently joined

Registered: 08/03/16
Posts: 3
I have some questions regarding my divorce mediation and I would appreciate it very much if I can get some advise.

I always kept everything in both our names as much as possible, such as Bank Accounts, Safety Deposit Box (she has her own key). The houses, car etc. I was living in my first house, but I was paying mortgage on it. I paid it off some 8 years, after we got married But the stocks are in my name. I am now retired and receiving SS and Medicare.

Now her lawyer has sent me a 40 page Questionnaire asking all sorts of financial questions, since our first day of marriage, some 20 plus years ago.

Question: 1) Since this Questionnaire are from a lawyer and not from a judge/court, am I bound by law to answer all the Questions. I don't want to give away the account numbers etc. And since these were all in both our names shouldn't she be just as responsible for the documents?
Question: 2) Will my SS check be sliced in half?
Question: 3) Should I let my own lawyer handle this?

I thank each and every one in advance who help me out in my distress.

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#772251 - 08/03/16 08:51 PM Re: Mediation Questions [Re: eme]
TJMH Offline

enthusiast

Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 339
First thing I'd say is if you've retained a lawyer for yourself (as opposed to a mediator working for both of you), ask what they think of this questionnaire. Even if you do all the legwork yourself you need to know what your legal responsibilities (vs. her lawyer's request) are and what pitfalls might be lurking in their form.

Specifically what you have to disclose financially probably depends on the state you're in. Here in California there are court-mandated financial and asset/debt disclosure forms that have to be filled out and provided to the other side, and they usually include as attachments things like pay stubs, account statements, etc. If you've had your finances combined up to now, your initial financial disclosure forms and hers will probably be nearly identical. If there are similar forms in your state that probably covers your legal responsibility to disclose--anything else you decide to provide would be up to you, but bear in mind that her lawyer is not likely to use additional non-mandatory info you choose to provide to benefit YOU.

I don't think Social Security counts as an asset so it won't be divided as community property. If I've googled correctly, I believe if you've been married 10+ years and your spouse qualifies to receive SS she may receive a "divorced spouse" benefit equal to half of your benefit (if that amount is larger than what she would qualify on her own) but I don't think that reduces your benefit. If she's not yet qualified for SS, I believe it's possible that your SS benefits would count as your income which might feed into spousal support considerations--but almost certainly not at 50%.

So definitely bring your questions to your lawyer and see what they say.

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#772252 - 08/10/16 01:02 AM Re: Mediation Questions [Re: TJMH]
eme Offline

recently joined

Registered: 08/03/16
Posts: 3
Thanks TJMH for the response. I forgot to mention, she was the one to pack up & leave and then file for divorce. I never told her to leave, there was no abuse, verbally or physically from neither one of us. Does that change my assets or divorce scenario knowing she is the one, asking for divorce. Not me???

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#772253 - 08/10/16 03:20 AM Re: Mediation Questions [Re: eme]
MinnesotaMom Offline

old hand

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 770
Her leaving and initiating divorce will play no part in the separation of assets.

Your lawyer should handle this. Never rely on your ex nor their attorney.

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