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divorce lawyers

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Okay, I'm still not sold on the lawyer thing, but I'm afraid of me or my daughter not getting everything we are entitled to get. So I'm trying to find one, tho' it's hard this week with little ears on vacation.

I keep getting advice from friends about things I should do, including one list that said:

This may sound nasty/vindictive, but it is NOT, trust me on this - you are just taking responsibility for you and Lauren.

1. Change the locks on your apartment. Do not provide anyway for him to get access.

2. Go to court and get a restraining order so he will be arrested if he does come into the residence. Say whatever you need to say, in order to get it. Make sure it says "No contact" for you or Lauren so he cannot harass either of you or use her as a pawn.

3. File in court an order for separate support. This will ensure you both go to court and he has to start giving you money.

4. Prepare any paperwork/proof you have of his income. Lifestyle is also a sort of proof.

5. Halt his visits with your daughter. Tell him you need to get everything in writing by a judge.

6. Inform her school of this as well - so he can't take her out of school.

please trust me because (unfortunately) I know all too well how to play this game. Stay strong.

- - - - - - - - - -

I mean, I don't think we're at this point, am I just being naive? I don't think he plans anything ahead enough for most of this to be a factor. I have keys etc. back from him, I obviously can't change the locks on an apartment. He is already giving us money and paying all our bills, tho' I know that won't continue indefinitely and I guess I don't really want it to. I don't know if it would be good for Lauren to halt visitation, she misses him terribly. Plus he would likely use that as a reason to stop paying what he already pays. And since all the bills are in his name and his mail is forwarded, I would have pretty much no way to prove his income. So, I don't know, feedback would sure be appreciated. Do all divorces have to become nasty?
post #2 of 12
and probably not welcome in this kind of topic. But I would advise you to see the lawyer before you go making any moves. They are pros at this and know all the ins and outs. If you do anything on your own right now you could easily prejudice the whole case against yourself.

I know right now you are hurt and confused. That is why you need to talk to a dispassionate party. You also need to feel there is someone on your side who knows what they're doing.

Hold on,it's a rough ride.
post #3 of 12
It sounds like he is at least being decent as far as helping financially, so maybe the 2 of you can sit down with a moderator and settle things. If you cannot afford one, sometimes clergymen will provide this service. I know you are hurting terribly, but this is a good chance to show your child and this idiot ex of yours who the bigger person is. If he is willing to still help you out financially, perhaps you can get him to keep this other person out of the equation at least until everything is settled legally. If he is any kind of father at all he will understand that at this point her feelings are the most important. It doesn't necessarily have to get nasty, even you are well within your rights to WISH you could rip his heart out with a rusty butter knife. I watched my ex sister-in-law go through this with my idiot brother. She still came out on the better end of the deal, and to this day he can't say a bad word about the way she conducted herself. She got everything she wanted in a very ladylike manner and even though she cut us off from her daughter, I still have to admire the way she handled herself publicly. She told me years later it was the hardest thing she ever did. If this girl can do it you certainly can. Best of luck and lots of prayers to you!
post #4 of 12
Wow... that sounds pretty drastic to me! Not to mention (and I could be wrong but...) there may be repercussions for filing a restraining order without cause. If you make something up, and he contests it (which he probably would) it might REALLY mess your case up!

When I got divorced (the first time), we sat down together and divided everything up ourselves, AND arranged custody of our daughter in a way that was fair to not only both of us, but to her. Then we presented this to the judge together. I remember the judge looking absolutely shocked, and he said "Are you two sure you want to do this? Because I have MARRIED friends that don't get along as well as you two do." Of course, at that point, I had to open my mouth and said "Yeah, but you should have seen us BEFORE this!" And it's true ~ we hated each other. The thing that brought us together was trying to do everything we could to make this easier on our daughter. (It involved me swallowing A LOT of pride, but I had to do it for her sake!)

Every relationship is different. Every divorce is different. I can't tell you that it's going to be easy. In fact, it's probably going to be a major PAIN, but you'll make it through it for the sake of your kid. I know you will. If that's what you have to hold on to (and that's what I had), I know you'll do everything you can.

Good luck... if you ever need to talk... well, you know.
post #5 of 12
Another reason you need to get a lawyer instead of listening to ill-informed, albeit well meaning friends: There is no such thing as separate maintenance or legal separation in Texas, so #3 just flew out the window. Also, I echo Jin & Spawn's post - obtaining a restraining order on a lie can subject you to some pretty steep penalties.

Did you write down the phone number to West Texas Legal Services or bookmark their website when I posted it before? THEY ARE FREE. Even if they can't represent you, they can at least offer you advice to get you started, and/or refer you to someone who can help you.

Also, PM me if you want tips on how you can secure financial information on him. I don't want to post it publicly since there may be lurkers who are trying to hide assets from spouses/exes/children.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Goodness, Cooie, what do you do that you have access to that kind of info? Just curious, it's obviously some kind of social services.

That's just it. Texas laws are different from Mass. laws, where I grew up and where my friend lives. I think TX and CA are the only community property states, too (maybe not), so that affects distribution of assets. Also, there seems to be a template for figuring child support and visitation, which seems to be applied across the board. So there isn't a lot of wiggle room.

Besides, as hard as this is, and as angry and betrayed as I feel, he isn't a bad person and I don't feel like I need to be harsh with him. I do want to be sure that there aren't either difficulties or regrets later. For me, I mean. I don't want to cause Jim any, but if it's him or me, well, you know.

What I really miss is, when you start dating and eventually get married, you kind of work your way into each other's lives and then you have a ceremony to acknowledge it. With divorce (at least with my divorce), there is no gradual separating of lives and a ritual for closure, just a sudden wrenching and people telling you to get over it. I still love him. I still think about a future that he is part of, and have a kind of "oh yeah, it's not gonna be like that" moment. It took months to learn these thought patterns, and he's been unlearning them for close to 2 years now, but for me it's only been a few weeks.
post #7 of 12
sunlion, it's not my profession, it's a child support self-help group I used to belong to that has given me all this know-how. But, I am far from an expert, I've just learned a few tricks that have helped. And you are right about the child support and visitation being standard.
post #8 of 12
Please, sunlion, seek legal advice. You think it can't happen to you, but things have a way of turning nasty very quickly. You just never know.

A friend of mine at work had her husband walk out on her a couple of months ago. Suddenly decided he didn't want to be married anymore. This couple is in their 40's. He also wants to completely cut her out of any of their 401k.

It's hard to think that a person who you were once married to and trusted implicitly as acting in these ways, but anything's possible. Better to be sage than sorry, especially when you have a daughter to provide for. Things may be ok now, but you have many years ahead to care for your daughter. You need some sense of security there.
post #9 of 12
I don't really have any advice here, but it sounds like you have gotten some really great advice from others!!! I have been divorced once, but we had no children, and we settled everything between ourselves with no problems, so I won't be much help here. My thoughts are with you, though!!
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have talked to lawyer, earlier today, and I found out these things:

Visitation for the non-custodial parent is every Weds, the 1st 3rd (and 5th if it applies) weekend of the month, and 30 consecutive days in the summer. I can stipulate that he is allowed to have her overnight on Weds. until and unless she is late getting to school on Thurs. at which time the overnights will cease.

Child support is figured at 20% of the income of the non-custodial parent. So if she goes to live with him, as kids often do when they are teens, I will have to pay. If his income increases enough that it would change her support by $100 I can get the agreement reviewed. After a certain amount of time (I forget how much, a couple years) I can get a review for cost of living, too. He provides medical insurance and is responsible for 50% of what is not covered.

There is no alimony in Texas and I don't qualify for spousal support - you have to be married 10 years and it was only 6 for us.

Other than that, for us, there isn't anything to divide. We don't own a house, there is no jewelry or savings or retirement fund etc. Clearly he wants his clothes back (I don't fit them anyway or I'd keep a few of the shirts at least ) and he says everything else in the house is mine. He also says all debt incurred during our marriage is his responsibility. We just need to stipulate that in the divorce papers.

I still need to ask if anything changes, since he started um dating and is living with her already when we are still legally married. I don't like my daughter going over there because I don't want her getting attached, not to mention he seems to leave a certain amount of her care to this other woman. He says they act like roommates when the kids are around (she has a son) but what kind of affect does it have on the child? He replaced her mom so easily, she might wonder if he could replace her. Plus I don't trust his judgement, and unfortunately after all this, his word is meaningless to me. But I don't know that this is enforcible.

He also told me that he will pay the fee for this lawyer to review the final documents for me before I sign off on them. I guess it's a fair deal. Thing is, I might have thought our relationship was on life support but I was hoping it would recover. Moving out was like him pulling the plug, and his, um, experience with that woman is like beating the patient over the head with a baseball bat to make sure it dies. Until he did that, I even thought we might be friends, but the betrayal of it just cuts too deep.

The house is empty and I'm thinking too much. I miss my girl.
post #11 of 12
It sounds like the legal aspects of the divorce will be pretty well taken care of, I mean, it doesn't sound like he is contesting you at all, so that is good, but I am sure the mental part of it is horrible, stressful and very tireing. If you ever get lonely and want to talk, just PM me if I am online or I can send my phone #. Hang in there, we are all here for you.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, he's the one who wanted out, so I can't imagine he'd contest much. I didn't want this, but I have too much pride to try to force him back, plus he'd resent it so it would be counterproductive for me anyway. I simply wasn't prepared for this, not even in my wildest imaginings.

There's some stuff I really want, but I can't imagine any judge would let it go through, things about promises he made to me that are probably made void by the divorce itself. I feel completely screwed by the whole process. I really did give up huge parts of my life to stay together, because I figured sacrifices made early would pay off later, and instead I find that all I have done is deprive myself.

I'm sorry to say, but if there is a relationship for me after this one, I get to be the princess. I get the presents and the jewelry and dinners out and flowers and all that stuff I didn't get this time. Having so little attention for so long has left me rather high-maintenance, I'm afraid, but I'm not going to have this happen again and walk away feeling like, "What did I get out of this?"

Except my daughter, who is a wonderful child, but doesn't fulfill ALL my needs you know.
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