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My situation is this: Separated 2 1/2 yr.'s, divorce filed, found out this year he has opened a joint cc acct. without my knowledge, opened another joint acct. 2 mos. after I left, signed my name to insurance claim checks, a Federal tax return check, 3 escrow refund checks; he has been awarded the house and time share, I get nothing. The DEPUTY DA that's handling the case says he sees no forgery or fraud committed since the money wasn't mine anyway, and since I am still married it is acceptable for your husband to sign your name if he wishes to, that is his right. I feel emotionally raped and am battling depression. I feel I have no say. Please help me if you can, or advise me on where to turn. I can't take much more. Patricia.

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. I worked in a law firm specializing in domestic relations for two years and, unfortunately, saw many cases like yours. Now, working in the women's movement I see similar cases of women being abused by the legal system. In fact, Phyllis Chesler wrote a great book on a similar topic Mothers on Trial. It's great in the sense that it exposes the inconsistencies of the judicial system when it comes to giving mothers custody of their children, which it rarely does when the fathers want custody. Of course, it's not so great in the sense that you see how prevalent cases like yours are.

One result of the recent high profile Wendt divorce case, he was the CEO (or something) of GE, is that she was going to establish a fund to help women with divorce. Help them to get their fair share and not be abused or misled in the process. To learn more about this, I know that the New York Times did a story on approximately Dec. 3, 4 or 5.

To help you get back everything that is rightfully yours the first step is to have a great attorney; one who will represent your best interests. In Los Angeles, California there is Gloria Allred who has done several high profile sexual harassment cases. I'm not sure about divorce, but it's probably worth a call. I find it hard to believe that "since I am still married it is acceptable for your husband to sign your name if he wishes to, that is his right." This doesn't seem right--and should be one of your first questions to your attorney. I'm sorry that I couldn't be of help, but hopefully at least some comfort. Good luck - Amy


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