Q. At the start of the pandemic my husband, an only child, encouraged me leave my job and go back to Ohio with our two kids and care for our elderly parents. I moved in with my sister and her family. She cares for all the kids while I care for both sets of parents – my in-laws have serious medical conditions. Last week my husband announced that he met someone new, has moved her into our house, and wants a divorce. He said he would “allow” us to stay in Ohio and that his lawyer told him he will only have to pay me half the guidelines child support because he will need money to travel to visit and no alimony because I am capable of returning to work.
I now realize his affair has been ongoing and he sent us all to Ohio so we would be out of the way. I should have realized something was wrong when he only came out to visit once and never wanted us to take the “risk” of coming back.
What are my options here? If I stay does he really only have to pay half his child support obligation and no alimony?
If you have any desire to stay near family, you should immediately consult an Ohio lawyer. Right now, Massachusetts no longer has jurisdiction over your children because they have been out of the state for more than six months. I don’t know that your whole divorce can occur in Ohio, but it may be possible if you can say you were in Ohio when your marriage became irretrievably broken.
If you choose to stay in Ohio and you can file for divorce there, you should. It would serve him right to have to play an away game. When dividing assets, figure out what it would have cost him to hire someone to care for his parents for the last year and ask for an additional award of assets in that amount to make you whole for his banishing you to Ohio to care for them – unpaid.
A court can order him to sell the marital home and give you a share of the net sale proceeds so you can prevent he and his new partner from getting too cozy in your home. You can also ask for alimony, at least in Massachusetts, because you left your job at his request to care for his parents so he didn’t have to. Make him explain to his folks why they have to hire a caretaker as you will be returning to paid work.
Generally, the “left behind” parent only gets to reduce their child support on account of visitation costs if you sought removal AND if he is actually traveling to visit. That is clearly not your situation. You should argue against any such reduction because he has proven over the last year that he will not visit, and your move was his idea in the first place.