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Separation and Attorney issues

Old 03-10-2011, 05:25 AM
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Separation and Attorney issues

I won't even go into all the details, but the last week or two have been absolutely horrific. The lies continue daily and I have learned some awful things about my husband from 12 - 15 years ago. There is never any chance of reconciliation, sober or not. He has some serious mental issues and I just keep looking back wondering how have I been with this man for over 15 years. I seriously don't know who he is. He has moved out of our house as of 1 week ago. I have made slow progress and met with a therapist for the first time yesterday. She strongly recommended that I need to consult with an attorney and at least have a picture of what my options are. My only hesitation is the cost of an attorney. I can't really find any attorneys in my area who will do a free consult. I don't have any extra money especially since I am now a single mom and recently had to start paying for my kids for child-care which is a substantial cost for my budget. Even if I can scrounge up enough money to pay for the initial consult I don't know that I would be able to afford to continue with the additional attorney expenses beyond that initial point. My biggest need for consulting an attorney is to protect my children. They are not safe with him. At this point he is not fighting my on custody issues. As of right now he is willing to "play" by my terms, whatever that means. He hasn't seen the kids this past week, but does want to see them this weekend. He said that he is okay if it is even supervised for a short period of time. Can you share with me your experience with consulting an attorney as you begin a separation?
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:36 AM
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A separation agreement shouldn't cost much if he isn't fighting anything. You want an order that basically sets up a parenting/visitation schedule and any conditions, as well as some kind of provision for interim child support.

Have you tried calling your local bar association and asking whether they have a list of attorneys who will do a free initial consult?
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:45 AM
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I dont know much about this but i do know where i am from (Ireland) there is a free service for legal advice.
You contact an organisation and you visit your local Citizen's Information Centre, where a short meeting will take place for you. They give you information on what ever you request and they also tell you your options. solicitors/barristers volunteer their time.

Not sure about other countries but they may possibly be one...

Take Care
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:34 AM
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If you give us an idea of where you live, perhaps we can search online and find some legal aid resources for you.

Drawing up a visitation agreement and submitting it to your STBX will help keep down costs a lot. If both parties agree on everything (as in division of assets, custody, child support, etc), then the it's just a matter of producting the affidavits and draft judgments for the judge's approval. When people start to argue and litigation is required, that's when it gets pricey.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:00 AM
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Lots of states allow you to basically do all this yourself, with the forms on-line. Then all you pay are filing fees. You could consider this, especially since he is already out of your house and is agreeable in this moment.

I did not go that route because my xah was refusing to leave the house and refusing to pay any child support. We also did not agree on distribution of assets/debts.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for all the support. I feel that there is so much currently on my shoulders and there are some very big decisions that I need to make. I'm struggling with how to handle all of this and am feeling very overwhelmed. I am in NC if that helps at all.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:23 AM
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Can't tell you how much I learned from this web site, of course my research was for VA. But all the standard guidelines fro grounds, for property division and custody can be researched for NC.

Divorce Source: North Carolina Divorce Lawyers Articles, Professionals and Helpful Resources
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:27 AM
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Legal aid in NC

Legal Aid of NC Offices - Charlotte
North Carolina Family Law & Divorce Legal Aid: Legal Services of North Carolina, Inc.

DYI divorce in NC
How to Get a Divorce Without a Lawyer
North Carolina

Take it one step at a time.

You need
a) a visitation/custody agreement, clearly defining how you will coparent (I can send you my document if it can help you draft up yours)
b) divorce proceedings
c) info on filing the papers (fees, backup documents, and information about delays, etc).

I know it's a big headache, but you can do it.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:54 AM
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I can offer nothing other than hugs and prayers CoffeeLover. I have watched for you to post since the thread about him wanting you to go to his baptizing because my XAH also used church as a way to keep me sucked into the madness.

Remember to take it one day at a time and research all you can about the laws in NC. When you do get to meet with someone it would be helpful to have all of your thoughts and questions written down and organized. When I use my attorney for anything I have all of my questions typed and hand it to him. That way I do less talking (which equals $$$) and more listening.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:52 AM
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Sorry to hear about this situation.
I'd suggest not beating yourself up regarding the why's and how's of being with this man for so long. I wonder how I ended up with an AW myself and it's just not a positive thought. Things happen for a reason and I'm personally allowing some HP to run the show. It takes a bit of weight off my shoulders and maybe it will for you too.

I just consulted with a lawyer yesterday. If you have the kids and he left the house, then that's considered abandonment and won't be looked at favorably for him. Therefore, I'd recommend you start doing a little google searching for a divorce attorney. I was referred to a heavy hitter and even he does free consultations. My guy has given me just over 3 hours of free consults.

Some people here have already mentioned that you can do it yourself. I know it's a pretty dark space that you're in. Keep your eyes open for the glimmers and move on them.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:14 AM
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I am sorry to hear about your situation...

I do not know where you are in NC but I know in Raleigh that there are at least two lawfirms that have periodic seminars that pretty much go over everything you need to know and have Q&A periods afterwards. I went a month ago to one and learned a ton that I needed to know. It went through the emotional, financial, child support/visitation issues as well as the separation/divorce laws in NC. I found it by googling divorce seminar. I also heard that some of the Colleges with Law programs have some free assistance programs for women.

Good Luck....I know it can be hard
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:39 PM
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Hugs, Coffeelover. I did a couple free consults, I spoke with a legal assistance group, but made just over their income limit so couldn't continue with them. The assistant for a family law attorney who specialized in cases with DV and abuse told me they couldn't do a free consult, but she gave me pointers on what I should be doing or information I should be getting from the attorney when I found one. She basically gave me a mini pointer consult over the phone.

The attorney that I got most of my help from is doing a payment plan for the amount over the retainer. I hear ya about the cost thing; trying to come up with money for day care is very challenging this summer.

I started filing the divorce on my own. I researched everything I could before filing, I went to the class on divorce and kids that the state requires (XAH never did), I researched parenting plans online and at the library, I pulled samples of parenting plans, and downloaded the forms to fill out from the state's court site. I made my initial draft of the plan every thing I wanted (at least what I knew to ask for), knowing that if he contested, I'd probably have to give on some of it. But if he didn't contest, I wanted everything lined out.

BTW, at least here in AK, you can see copies of the non-confidential papers in divorce cases, including the parenting plans.
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