– from Steve U. in Genesee, WI

Question Details:

My wife and I just separated after 10 years of marriage. I am using the guest house in the back of the main house until I find another place, so I am technically still at the house. The separation is not amicable. I need my money to find another place, but she is telling me that I still need to pay for the house, the kids, the bills, everything. Isn't she responsible for all of that since she doesn't want to move out? I haven't been ordered to pay anything. Am I still responsible for supporting everyone even during separation?

Family Law Attorney Response:

First of all, I would like to say that I understand your frustration. I do not know the circumstances for your separation, but I do know that you are having a very tough time dealing with the emotional distress that comes with this situation.

There are several things that you should consider here; your children still need to be supported whether it is ordered, or not. They are not a part of this, and should be spared getting drawn into it any cost. You are separating from your wife, not your children. Another aspect, is the name(s) on the mortgage. If your name is on it, you are still responsible for it. The same thing goes for your bills.

In the case of Drier v. Drier, 119 Wis. 2d 312, 351 N.W.2d 745 (Ct. App. 1984), the husband was ordered to deposit his weekly paycheck into the couple's joint checking account. He was also ordered to continue responsibility for all of the families pre-existing debts. This was all during the separation, while still awaiting a final order.

My advice to you is to talk to a lawyer who is experienced in family law. Tell him/her all of the details. You will get accurate advice, guidance, and representation during the trial and hearings.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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