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FS-Wife Denies Relations Can Husband Divorce?
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

Question: My wife and I have been married for 40 years during which time we have had sexual relations four times, two of which resulted in the birth of our two emancipated children. She has slept in a separate bedroom for 39 years, she shops and cooks for herself, and she works and keeps her money separate from mine, making me pay all the bills. I am 62 and have met another woman. I want a divorce, but don't want to lose everything.

Answer: First and foremost, whether you have grounds for divorce will depend on your state of residence. As to losing everything, given the facts you recite, it would appear that she owes you money.

If you live in New York, for example, to get a divorce on the grounds of constructive abandonment, you must prove that your wife unjustifiably refused to fulfill the basic obligations arising from the marriage contract, and that the abandonment continued for at least one year.

In order to prove constructive abandonment for purposes of divorce, your wife's refusal to fulfill the basic obligations arising from the marriage contract must have been unjustified, willful and continued, despite repeated requests by you to resume normal cohabitation. The facts that you and she slept in separate bedrooms or that you stopped sexual relations are not enough to establish constructive desertion as grounds for divorce.

You must also prove that you repeatedly asked for a resumption of sexual relations, but she refused. If you went to marriage counseling and brought up this topic, that could be sufficient, subject, of course, to confidentiality concerns.
Of course, since it all depends on where you live, we suggest you hire a seasoned matrimonial attorney to give you the options available to you.

How your property is divided will be decided based on the facts of your case. How your relationship with the other woman factors in should also be discussed with your lawyer.
SoloFact: Allowing situations like this to continue to exist for this length of time may well cast questions on your credibility, so your proof should be as airtight as possible

SoloNote: Jan Warner's and Jan Collins's book, "Next Steps: Planning for the Best Half of your Life" will be released August 1, 2009. This book covers all information needed by seniors and their families to make sure they develop a plan for the future, and discusses such issues as long-term care planning, divorce, second marriage, caring for pets, and avoiding family squabbles and burial disputes

Need more advice or help with this topic? Click here to get information about taking the "Next Step".

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Separation and Divorce Guidebook
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FS-Lawyer Tells Me to Lie & Pension Double Dipped
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FS-The Dangers of Family Loans
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FS-Transference of Affection & 10 Tips of Divorce
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