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I am writing on behalf of my younger sister, who is receiving $923 SSD per month + $257 for 1 $500/month retirement pension from School Board, where she worked part-time in cafeteria services. She is intellectually challenged...aka somewhat retarded. Her troubled marriage of 15+ years produced 2 sons & nothing but heartache & concern for her & rest of pur family.

Anyhow, her hubby left her in July. Maryland requires 1 year of separation, so a separation agreement is being attempted. My elderly dad retained a reduced-fee attorney for Sis. She just completed a detailed Interrogatory, with MUCH assistance of a friend. Her attorney told her that it needed to be completed within 5 days, that it was requested by her Hubby's attorney. Sis' attorney said that he in turn, would be requesting an Interrogatory of her hubby.

Question 1) Are there more Interrogatories to come, as this friend is not able to assist with more-of-these on a continual basis? If so, is there some type of community service available to assist with this formality, since I am not a local Maryland resident.

Sis & her hubby are in a $224,000 upside-down home loan...primarily d/t repetitive financing which included credit car debts & car loans. Currently, they are in a modified 2% mortgage with monthly mortgage payment of $1200. Before the loan was modified, their payment was $1700.

Her hubby's only demand in the separation agreement: is to have his name removed from the home loan. He has not paid any mortgage payments since he left Sis in July, not to mention the mortgage was already 3 months-behind-in-payments upon his exit. I just learned that 88-year-old Dad has borrowed from bank to assist with this financial need.

Sis is doggedly trying to re-finance in her own name, to which she states Chase is saying this looks promising for her since her hubby has left her & that she is now-in-divorce-proceedings...reinforcing that re-financing in her own name will immensely financially ease her burden. Being intellectually challenged, Sis will believe anything that others tell her, but does not listen to suggestions made by family. I don't see how a $224,000 2%-home loan already in a modified state, can be further reduced, but cannot get that message across to Sis.

Question 2: Sis' attorney has told her to do whatever she can to reduce her mortgage payment. Knowing her intellectual limitations, shouldn't he be providing more sound counsel for her end-of-the-separation agreement? But then, since her attorney is on a reduced-fee basis, perhaps he is also providing reduce-fee service. Her friends feel that she needs a more aggressive attorney, but Sis has no spare change for a full-rate attorney & Dad is reluctant to change attorneys & spend more $.

This is a concern that has Dad & I in stress overdrive...Sis seems less stressed than us, since I don't think she is fully intellectually aware of the ramifications, etc. Any suggestions would be most helpful. I cannot 'financially bail-out Sis', I do not have that kind of money.

Thank you for listening to my rambling frantic concerns. I hope that you readers can follow this message, as it has been hurriedly written before leaving for work.

Sincerely, Apacherose
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Hello Apacherose,

I am an infrequent reader & poster on TMF. FYI I have been on disability for psychiatric illness since spring of 2010 (benefits retroactive to 2009). I am actually still learning a lot about disability myself and am very limited to what I know about other disabilities and issues.

I just saw your post here. My sympathies on the stress and issues your family is facing and what your younger sister is facing. Otherwise, all I can say is that I would also be very concerned that your sister is getting adequate counsel and assistance in consideration of her mental capacity of the issues. The mortgage is a serious issue and the assistance she needs with her interrogatories are significant.

You say she is in Maryland. The only thing I can think of is trying to find to contact some sort of State of Maryland disability advocacy office or non-profits and see if they can help to advocate for your sister in the legal and financial decisions, or at least possibly help your family somehow in trying to support and protect your sister in making any legal and financial decisions. I couldn't find immediately (unless I missed it) some sort of government office for assisting adults with mental disabilities (mentally challenged), but I think more digging on your part or a couple of telephone calls. Here's a link to the Maryland govt. disabilities organizations.

Another thing: I wonder if she is eligible to get additional second opinion or suggestions from the state Legal Aid organization. I found this link for Maryland: .

One thought I have on all this: if she is considered mentally fit to make decisions on her own, you and the rest of the family may not be able to intervene much unless some sort of legal status is declared on her behalf. Obviously you need to check into this carefully, but this is a concern I have. As a side note, remember that my personal disability is a psychiatric illness. With this in mind, my limited understanding is that in some limited and usually finite situations can someone with a severe mental illness be considered unable to make decisions for themselves and have legal and medical interventions or some sort of Power of Attorney done. Not sure how this may affect your sister and your family's ability to aid her.

Good luck.

Lois Carmen D.
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Thank you Lois, for your kind response & concern. Things are once again escalating.

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