Ex­pected set­tle­ment for abused wife

Boston Herald - - THE EDGE | ADVICE - Wendy HICKEY

Both Ge­orge, my hus­band, and I are on So­cial Se­cu­rity, with no other in­come. Our only as­sets are our $250,000 sin­gle-level house with worth­less fur­ni­ture and a 14-year-old car. I need 24/7 as­sis­tance due to var­i­ous phys­i­cal prob­lems. I had daily help from health care work­ers from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ge­orge was sup­posed to pick up my care the rest of the time. But he’s not been get­ting home un­til af­ter mid­night. So I can’t use the bath­room or get food or wa­ter. Af­ter we mar­ried, Ge­orge started to den­i­grate me. Then he start­ing push­ing me and punch­ing or putting his hands around my neck while say­ing he’d kill me if I said I was be­ing abused. When the helpers saw bruises on me, I said they were caused by my fall­ing. Then Ge­orge badly beat me one night and left me on the floor for hours. He was ar­rested and pleaded guilty to spousal abuse. I was taken to a hos­pi­tal, then moved to a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion hos­pi­tal, and I’m now in what I call a store­house of dis­abled peo­ple wait­ing to die. Our di­vorce case will be heard in a month. My $60,000-plus med­i­cal and hos­pi­tal bills were paid by a state agency. The state wants to be re­paid from my half-share of the house. Is that the re­al­ity? You should end up with money from the sale of the house. The ques­tion is how much. I’d ex­pect a set­tle­ment some­thing like this: about $20,000 for the real es­tate bro­ker, state taxes, record­ing fees, lawyer; $60,000 to the state; di­vorce lawyers to get $7,500 each if there’s no fight­ing and way more if there is re­sis­tance; $20,000 to be put in es­crow to pay your bills that have not yet been billed; and fur­ni­ture go to Ge­orge to use wher­ever he goes to live, which leaves $135,000 to be di­vided equally. Ge­orge will ar­gue he shouldn’t have to pay half your hos­pi­tal ex­penses. Had he not beaten you up, you’d not have those hos­pi­tal bills, so he’s lucky to get off by pay­ing only half.

Wendy O. Hickey has since 1994 been in­volved in and since 2003 been a trial lawyer who con­cen­trates her prac­tice on na­tional and in­ter­na­tional fam­ily law. Any le­gal ad­vice in this col­umn is gen­eral in na­ture, and does not es­tab­lish a lawyer-client re­la­tion­ship. Send ques­tions to dear­wendy@boston­her­ald.com.

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