Single Parents

How did you go about initiating?

If you initiated your separation/ divorce how did you go about it?  How did you find a lawyer?  Did you tell your ex or go to the lawyer?  We have been on the verge of the big D for years.years.  I really think I am exhausted walking that line and am ready to jump.

I am concerned about the kids being with him for overnights, but they are his kids too and I am even ready to say fine to that.  He has said he will ruin me financially even if that means him wiping out his retirement to do so.  If he battled anything it would be a hardship financially.  We make about the same amount with me earning slightly more.  I just want to keep the house and be fair about supporting the kids.  I have a DD with special needs (spastic quad CP, non-mobile, non-verbal) and our house has a perfect layout for a wheelchair bound kid.

 

OKAY stop the blah.blah.blah :-)

 Let me know how to begin please.

Re: How did you go about initiating?

  • My situation is different because I'm not married, but some of te steps are the same. I googled family law attorneys for my city. Then, I called the top rated one. Se charges 300$ for a consultation, but consultations are unlimited. I opted to go to a free consultation lawyer then back to her once I had the legal advice I needed.
  • Don't say anything to your spouse. Open a separate bank account in your name only and start putting small amounts of money aside. This might not be a quick process, but you might need access to funds in the event you have to leave or things accelerate quickly.

    I asked for referrals from family and friends for good family lawyers in my county. I then interviewed each of them at the consultations. Mine were "free" if you didn't use them, but if you decided to retain them, then the per-hour rate was applied to that initial visit (taken from the retainer). The quotes on retainers I recieved were anywhere from $1k to $5k and they all had per-hour rates between $200 and $300/hour. My ultimate choice was in part due to cost (I went with one whose retainer fell in the middle) and the connection or vibe I felt from her. I felt her approach would benefit my son and I the most in the end and she had been in a similar position to mine so I felt like I could relate to her.

    Before you go in for your consultations, take a few moments to write down an account of your relationship. How/where/when you met, any issues early on, any patterns of behavior that your saw but chose to let go, any instances of major lying (or small lies told throughout that caused a bigger issue in the relationship), issues with money or jobs, with drugs and alcohol, any instances of abuse(reported or otherwise), times you sought therapy, any time there was infidelity, etc. Basically map out how your relationship started and progressed down a path to divorce. Provide dates and as much information as possible. Then, take copies to your consultations. Once you consult with an attorney your SO can't use them, it's a conflict of interest. And even if you don't retain them, they're required to keep everything confidential, so be as honest and black and white as possible. 

    If you haven't done so already, consider seeing a therapist. They can help you process your feelings and navigate this transition. This is a big life change, it's ok if you need help. It will make you feel better, help you grow as a person, and it will actually look good in court. If you think there's any hope for your relationship, consider marital counseling as well.

    Be careful who you tell and where you talk about things, basically, don't bad mouth your SO on FB or anywhere on the internet or over email. Those thigns can come back to bite you in the ass and it's not that hard to figure out who people are even when they use screen names, etc.

    Make sure any conversations you have with SO about expectations about the future, money, bills, wants, etc are at least written down on paper (date time, thigns discussed, things agreed on, etc), if not confirmed over email.

    If you think infedelity might be involved in your situation, get tested ASAP and make sure you use protection when sexually active. While you're talking about divorce, it's not unheard of for a couple to have sex during good moments. Make sure you're protected and do your best to not get pregnant. The last thing you need is to bring a baby into a already shaky relationship.

    Remember, they can fight all they want, but they likely wont. It's probably bluster. Any attorney worth their salt will provide a realistic view of the case and the likely outcome. The likely outcome is you sharing legal custody (making shared decisions about school, health/medical treatment, religion, moving, etc), with you as the physical custodial parent and your SO recieving visitation (often you having the child 2/3 of the time, and your SO having the child 1/3 of the time). There are likely state guidelines for what is the "ideal" visitation for children based on age. For example, it's not ideal for an infant who is breastfed to be shared 50/50 or more in the father's favor. It just doesn't work. And bouncing back and forth can have real consequences for the children.

    Bottom line, do what's best for you and your children. You do not deserve to be threatened or treated poorly now or in the future. Good luck and we're here for you.

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  • Also, seeing as he's somewhat unstable (making threats, etc), I would ask your attorney what they advise in terms of notifying him about the divorce. They might say just do it and don't say anything. I chose to tell my STBXH and he tried to kill himself (a manipulatory tactic, but scary none-the-less). If you can get him out of the house in the meantime that would be best.
  • I had talked to a couple of lawyers. I found the one I used by asking my friend who recently got a divorce who she used and told my STBXH in a text that I had talked to a lawyer and that I filed for a divorce (after telling him I had been thinking of getting on, he didn't think I would, HA he was wrong!) I brought the papers to him to sign because I knew otherwise he wouldn't do it he would just keep telling me he forgot or something. And that was that pretty much.
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  • Thanks for the suggestions.  Love the idea of several initial consults to get a feel - would have never thought of interviewing attorneys.  The time factor is the tough one.

    He is not violent.  Vindictive maybe.  I don't think he has cheated.  No worries on STDs as I cannot remember the last time we were physical - hence one of the reasons for looking into the big D.  He is not happy in the marriage either so I just do not get why he would  want to be a PIA about it.

  • When I got divorced I had a program through my job that provided discounts on legal services (it is like an insurance I could pay into monthly) So I picked my lawyer from their list of providers. I was honest with my ex that papers were coming to him but our situation was different than yours. You may want to call a few lawyers and ask them some specific questions about your situation like keeping the house and your husband battling you and pick the lawyer you feel most comfortable with
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