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A terrified woman needs a new best lawyer

My husband has been very bossy and threatening. He followed me around the house, had cameras monitoring my every move, refused to allow me to bring my family or friends – he insisted he was careful with COVID. He had tried to isolate me for a long time. He also became obsessed with real crime novels and collecting knives.

I was terrified by his overbearing behavior. I finally asked a friend to help me escape the house while he was leading a work team meeting on Zoom. I hid in a hotel with cash and got an emergency restraining order. At the return hearing, the judge believed him that I was crazy and that he would never do anything to hurt me. I was left terrified but ran out of money and had nowhere to go so I went home.

I filed for divorce. When I was at the hotel he reported the only credit card I had access to as stolen and I don’t have access to our bank accounts so I can’t leave. He made a case to show that I’m crazy and told me I won’t get anything because he had money before he married me which we used to buy the house. I make more money so he makes me pay all our house expenses until we are even. He keeps score. He says I will have to pay alimony and he will keep the house with his bail. I’m so scared, but my lawyer told me not to call the police because the judge didn’t believe me, so if I call, the judge will think I’m playing games.

What are my options?

You must first hire another lawyer. Keep your cell phone charged at all times and carry it with you in your pocket. If you really fear for your safety, lock yourself in the bathroom and call the police. The judge is not going to give him all the property or make you pay child support because you asked for help from the police.

Second, file a petition to sell the house in order to have money for your own accommodation. While you’re at it, ask the judge for a marital estate advance from other assets so you can find first, last, and security deposit for a rental. Open a new bank account and have your earnings deposited there. If you can afford it, deposit enough to pay half of the household expenses into the household account – they can pay the other half of the expenses. If he chooses not to pay the mortgage – his loss – pay your half and it will take a long time for the mortgage company to seize and if that happens ask the judge to give you credit for your payments when the equity is ultimately divided. Finally, alimony for him seems unlikely.

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