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What's next? Does it matter who files first?

Posted by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • 7 Replies
I wanted to provide an update. I've been working with my lawyer. DH is still in the house and hasn't moved out but I have found out he is cheating with another woman. He spent the whole day with her yesterday. My lawyer suggested getting a PI to track him and get evidence for adultery; however, other people keep telling me it's not worth it in the end.

Any advice on the PI and filing on the grounds of adultery. I was told the courts don't care about cheating anymore and plus my state of VA is a no-fault state. The lawyers strategy is to get the evidence to use as leverage against him to protect my interest. Has anyone done this before?

I feel like it's been a month with no progress. I want to speed things up because I'm tired of acting like things are fine when they aren't. He walks around the house having his cake and eating it too while I'm a stress case taking care of the kids, working, taking care of the house, etc. While he enjoys having sex with his girlfriend and coming home to me and the kids like all is okay.

Does it matter who files first? Does it matter if I file fault under adultery or no-fault? The lawyer says I have a chance of getting more money with the fault but my research says that's not true. Opinions?????
by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:55 AM
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Replies (1-7):
tottaxi
by Battle Weary on Jan. 20, 2015 at 10:05 AM

I think your attorney sounds like he knows what he's doing.  If he has had past success winning more for his client by having that type of leverage then he would want to have that advantage again.  Any advantage is a good one in court.

It could also open the door to having morality clauses in your parenting agreement.  Depending on the background of this other woman it might make it possible to limit the amount of visitation he receives if his intent is to live with her.  I DO believe it is best for you to file first.  Google that and you will find an article by Dr. Phil that gives some good explanations as to why it is an advantage.

I know that you just want to get this over with asap, but think of what is best long term.  Get the PI...did your attorney recommend one?  It shouldn't take long to get the additional proof to give you that leverage in court.  Also begin documenting everything...his patterns of behavior, treatment of the kids and you, time away from home.  Obviously he is not putting his children first.  That's probably a major consideration for you when it comes to custody.

Fayanne
by Bronze Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 6:54 PM

 judges really don't concern themselves with adultery so much anymore, I don't see how your lawyer thinks it would help protect your interests unless he plans to guilt your dh into giving up more than he's entitled to, and unless your lawyer knows you're going to get a very conservative judge (as far as dealing with adulterous issues)

Didn't make much difference in my case who filed first, other than it gave the X the opportunity to say "she had me served!" and "She filed for divorce" so he could somehow look innocent through it all and play the pity card.

No fault was easier in NY, .. thank God we finally became a no fault state. I would assume your lawyer knows what he/she is talking about, but beware: Some lawyers will complicate the case to run up more time, which in turn, runs up the bill. However, showing that he does not use his best judgement in decision making can help you when you put together a parenting plan and set up visitation and/or custody.

Good luck.

Traveler4Life
by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:33 PM
You are correct. He mentioned using the info as leverage to guilt him into agreeing to more. Is this a good strategy? I'm not sure.

That's what I'm afraid of - the lawyer complicating things or does he have a good strategy in place? I really don't want $20,000 I lawyer fees but I do want my husband to pay for being such a sh@tty person for doing this to me and the kids.

Quoting Fayanne:

 judges really don't concern themselves with adultery so much anymore, I don't see how your lawyer thinks it would help protect your interests unless he plans to guilt your dh into giving up more than he's entitled to, and unless your lawyer knows you're going to get a very conservative judge (as far as dealing with adulterous issues)


Didn't make much difference in my case who filed first, other than it gave the X the opportunity to say "she had me served!" and "She filed for divorce" so he could somehow look innocent through it all and play the pity card.


No fault was easier in NY, .. thank God we finally became a no fault state. I would assume your lawyer knows what he/she is talking about, but beware: Some lawyers will complicate the case to run up more time, which in turn, runs up the bill. However, showing that he does not use his best judgement in decision making can help you when you put together a parenting plan and set up visitation and/or custody.


Good luck.

whymustI
by Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 2:50 PM

I am in KY and we are a no-fault state too. My husband cheated on me with 7 women that I KNOW of -- my lawyer said it doesn't matter - that his "personal" issues and the judge will not allow it to be discussed in her court room. And I REALLY didn't want it in court records because some day my kids may see them. So I filed and of course the "ground" for divorce and just like anyone else's "irreconciable differences" -- I filed first - and the only benefit I got was peace of mind for me. He couldn't just take my kids. As far as your lawyer "guilting" him into giving more - I think that's a "moral" issue -- and granted - I feel your hurt - this is the SECOND time I've married and divorced this man and BOTH times it's because I've caught him cheating - NEVER AGAIN -- but I love him -- and I loved him then too -- and I don't ever want my kids to look at me and say "mom you took dad for everything he's worth" or "mom you did dad dirty on the divorce" -- for me - what my kids see later in life is what I think matters.

STBSingleMom
by Bronze Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 4:04 PM

I've been down this route for more serious reasons - and let me tell you why it's a giant waste of time, money, and heartache:

I hired a PI at my attorney's advice to prove that my husband, who I had filed for supervised visitation against, was regularly abusing drugs and alcohol and driving under the influence. In FL, where I live, those are all grounds for supervised visitaiton. My husband perjured himself under oath during his deposition, claiming that he had been sober for 6 weeks since the separation and claiming that the only reason he was an alcoholic is because I made him so miserable that he drank all the time.

The PI followed him on 10 days over a two week period. On EVERY occassion, my husband purchased and/or drank no less than 6 beers. On several occassions, he was filmed drinking multiple beers standing by his car, then getting into the car and driving "erratically and at a high rate of speed" (aka, drunk driving). This venture cost my parents and I $9000, but we were convinced that we had a bulletproof case when we went in for our temporary support hearing. The PI came to testify and we had photos, video, and commentary.

The judge walked in and said, "Well, what if he promises not to use drugs or drink while in care, custody or control of the minor child?" My attorney said, "Well, he has already perjured himself about..." and the judge cut him off and asked my husband, who agreed. Within 5 minutes, without reviewing a single piece of evidence or considering my son's safety, my husband was awarded 50/50 unsupervised visitation.

Now - that was a huge waste of time and money. Perhaps a different judge would have seen things differently or at least LOOKED at the evidence. But it's a gamble. If you live in a no-fault state, the judge will likely say that it's not relevant. 

As for the heartache - you know about the affair. Do you want to have to review photos, too? I had to look at photos of my husband out at fancy nightclubs dressed up (in designer clothing that I had bought for him) and out with women who looked like they belonged on a stripper pole, while he was able to, for two months, give me ZERO in child or spousal support, but go out boating, partying, and living it up.

You should do what your attorney advises, but ask - who is the PI? Is it someone that you contract with regularly? In my case, it's the PI the firm uses, and it's probably part of their standard routine with clients. 

As for who files first - there may be a perception issue. My husband beat me to the courthouse, but it hurt him in the end. During the temporary hearing, the judge told him that if he wanted to leave his wife and child, he would not do so without providing support (he wanted income imputed to me based on my past salary - I have been a housewife for the past 3 years - so I wound have wound up owing HIM money every month without a job to pay for it, and no way to pay my own bills). Him filing first, and having a girlfriend, may be enough to get a judge to grant you the house, or additional funds, or alimony. Judges are human, too - a man who leaves his wife and children for another woman may get sympathy from the court. 

Hang in there - I've been sitting on mine for 6, almost 7 months, and my trial isn't scheduled until April.

kh4irish
by Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 6:20 PM

He who files first, WINS.  Never forget that!  My ex cost me thousands in attorney fees because he wanted to reverse my original filings so that it would show that he wanted to divorce me.  If you want to get divorced, balls to the wall.  This is the only way that they understand that you want and will get a divorce.  Mine believed that I would never be able to divorce his abusive lying ass.  He believed that he would be able to con me.  WAKE UP all you stepped on women.   WAKE UP.   He will ride you like no tomorrow.

Goobergal
by Bronze Member on Jan. 21, 2015 at 6:54 PM

E I filed.  That made me the plaintiff and meant he had to defend himself,mother defendant.  I was in TN. And he had cheated.  It didn't make or break my case but it being the conservative south, when the judge was making decisions, he leaned a LOT more in my favor.  One of the women was 300 pounds, bi polar and had three gay sons. Again, the south, it weighed heavily in my favor, public opinion.  Judges are human. They will rule by the law, but when it came to making decisions for the kids, certain monetary issues, all that went MY way.  

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