My wife moved out last September leaving our twin teenage daughters with me. She moved in with her girlfriend and says they have no room to even have overnights with the girls. She just kind of walked away. They occasionally borrow my car to go visit her but since the pandemic have been solely with me.
I would like to say I can do it all, but I can’t. I am trying to work from home, help our girls with school (thankfully it just finished but their summer jobs were cancelled), and manage the girls’ needs (one suffers from depression and the other is incredibly angry and is prone to violent outbursts).
I kept hoping my wife would come back but now I’m realizing I need a plan B — how can I move this forward? My wife doesn’t work and says she can’t pay support and that I need buy her out of the house if I want to live in it. What should I do?
First, you should hire an experienced divorce attorney to file for divorce. The sooner you file the sooner some action will be taken. Once you serve your wife with the complaint and summons, you can make a motion for temporary orders. In your motion, ask the judge to establish a parenting plan and a child support order. Let your wife explain to the judge why she does not want any parenting time and why she cannot get a job to pay some support.
Right now, it varies county to county and judge to judge how long it will take to get a hearing on your motion. But you can ask that any support be ordered retroactive to the date of service of your motion.
The court ultimately cannot make your wife be a mother but it can order her to support your daughters, including contributing to their uninsured medical expenses (including therapy for depression and anger management), tutors to help them with school work if necessary and other activities as well as college.
Depending on the kind of job your wife ultimately gets, you can ask the court to award you a larger share of the marital assets to make up for her lack of contribution to the girls’ expenses when she left, lack of support and lack of hands-on parenting thus requiring you to reduce your work load to tend to their needs. You may find a sympathetic judge to give you her equity in the home so you can use her share to help support your children.
Your taking action just might be the wake-up call your wife needs to step up to the plate and start parenting again. It is highly unusual for someone to walk into court and say they do not want time with their children and if she does go that route, a judge is not likely to think very much of any part of her argument.