How to start divorce proceedings?
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  1. #1
    Registered User my4fireflies's Avatar
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    Question How to start divorce proceedings?

    We've been together for 18 years, married for 16. I need to get myself "situated" before I tell him I am serious about calling it quits, tho I have no doubt he will be relieved. He struggles with any responsibility/issue other than work. He has always been a great provider, but I have done everything else. We have four children, three of them have medical, emotional, and educational disabilities. I am tired of handling it all by myself. If I'm going to be treated like I am "on my own" when issues arise, then I really do want to BE alone. I have no income--we have a child with chronic fatigue. I left my job a month ago to care for him. I was working 50+ hours a week and still expected to do everything. It was too much. I will need to rely on some kind of assistance. I have no clue how to do this--esp if we are still legally married? Has anyone ever gone thru the process and needed assistance right off the bat? I'm going to suggest he move to my mother's rental property and to pay the mortgage and utilities in lieu of child support. I have a car that is paid for. I will need $ for food, clothing, gas and car ins. I will apply for food stamps and disability for my son. I don't need heating assistance, as we heat with wood and I have enough trees on our property to last a long while. What else do I need? Am I missing something major? How do I get started? TIA

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    You might look for divorce support and counseling services in your area. They will be able to help you with the legal particulars for your state.
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    Registered User CPA-Kim's Avatar
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    You absolutely need to talk with a divorce attorney in your State. If there is a center for women's services or social services, ask them for guidance in finding an attorney who will give you a free consultation. Your family will benefit from counseling because even though you are separated or divorced, you will always have the children together so keep this in mind. Don't trust any legal advice you get on a forum. Get an attorney ASAP.
    Kim
    The Lord will provide

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    Registered User my4fireflies's Avatar
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    Legalzoom.com?

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    Registered User brenda67's Avatar
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    Hugs..Im gonna suggest the counseling.....BEFORE you decide its over...What you think will get from a divorce might not happen as planned..anything can happen to twist it around..Have you tried to apply for some kind of disability for your child/children? Im sure there are other government programs that could help you also..It sounds like you are just mentally and emotional exhausted honey..YOU need a break! Maybe call your MIL and ask her to babysit your kids so you and your dh can go do something together and talk..maybe he doesn't know what to do and is just shutting down because he cant deal with with it either maybe? Im just grasping at straws here..I could be totally off base..but marriage and having my family together and not from a broken home is very important to me..Good Luck!
    Wife to Keith
    Mom of 3 boys

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    Registered User brenda67's Avatar
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    I just read that you also have student loans and credit card debt..you should really get that taken care before you make any decisions as you are not financially sound..(.unless of coarse this is your dh's loans?) student loans have to be paid back no matter what..credit cards are not secured loans like the student loan is..A lot for you to think about before jumping the gun where you jeopardize yourself..
    Wife to Keith
    Mom of 3 boys

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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brenda67 View Post
    Hugs..Im gonna suggest the counseling.....BEFORE you decide its over...What you think will get from a divorce might not happen as planned..anything can happen to twist it around..Have you tried to apply for some kind of disability for your child/children? Im sure there are other government programs that could help you also..It sounds like you are just mentally and emotional exhausted honey..YOU need a break! Maybe call your MIL and ask her to babysit your kids so you and your dh can go do something together and talk..maybe he doesn't know what to do and is just shutting down because he cant deal with with it either maybe? Im just grasping at straws here..I could be totally off base..but marriage and having my family together and not from a broken home is very important to me..Good Luck!
    Obviously what is posted here is just the tip of the iceberg, but if counseling is at all an option that sounds like a much better place to start. It sounds like a respite is needed. Make sure you are not jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

    If you are feeling alone and exhausted adding the stress of a divorce and financial worries is not going to make you feel better. If that is really what is needed, then proceed. However, these things always get worse before they get better and you should be prepared for that.

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    Registered User CPA-Kim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by my4fireflies View Post
    Legalzoom.com?
    No. That is a cheap marketing company that specializes in legal forms. They want to sell you something.

    Do you have a pastor or trusted friend who you can talk with and make a plan? Are there free counseling services in your area? Not carefully thinking this through and coming up with a viable plan could be disastrous.

    There is no quick way out of your situation. If you do want out, it will take a lot of time and money but the big thing here is what it will take out of you in the way of stress and stress on your children. They will need counseling and you will need family counseling. Your situation is complicated because you are over your head in debt plus you have special needs children.
    Kim
    The Lord will provide

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    You may not have the option to choose whether or not your ex pays child support. If you are receiving any kind of public assistance, the court might order him to pay on top of it. That's the way it works here, as it should be. It's the parents' responsibility to pay to raise their children, not the taxpayers'. Does your husband make enough money to support two households?

    I agree with what's been said above. Try counseling. Having dealt with massive doses of kid problems myself, I have some understanding of the terrible pressure you're under. To say you're most likely out of your mind is not an insult or an understatement. It's nearly impossible to think straight under the circumstances. BTDT, and I know I was literally out of my mind at the time, particularly during several months when we were also doing an emergency foster placement for a massively screwed up kid and I was the main support for my brother who was dying of cancer.

    If the biggest problem truly is that your husband does not pitch in like you think he should, then maybe that can be worked out. It was the same with our situation way back when. We discussed things, but mostly it was up to me to deal with everything with all eight kids. It was not easy, but since I was home full-time, I looked on caring for the kids and home (I did almost all of our appliance repairs, wiring, gutted a bathroom and rebuilt it, etc, on top of everything else) as my full-time job. I think it helped me to take that perspective because then I didn't have any illusions that my husband would be riding in on a white horse to take care of things. He was pretty good about taking care of things if I made my needs for a break for a few hours clear, and that helped a lot.

    My guess is your husband is feeling as overwhelmed as you are. But you are bound to be stronger together than apart, not to mention what it would put your kids through to have their family break up. I hope you will be able to work things out for the sake of your entire family.

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    Registered User FrabjousDay's Avatar
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    "The divorce trap seduces over one million people each year. It promises peace and tranquility. It offers a fresh start, a second chance at romance, contentment, and self-discovery. It lures people into its grip by offering assurances that walking out the door can eliminate life's seemingly insurmountable problems. When you're desperately unhappy, these so-called guarantees are hard to resist. But there are good reasons for doing so. If you or someone you love is contemplating divorce you will want to know what I have learned about the truth about divorce.

    In my work, I've had a bird's eye view of what happens in people's lives after divorce. I have seen the intense pain and despair that lingers for years. I have seen times when every birthday, holiday, or other causes for celebration have been nothing more but painful reminders of a divorce. I have seen the triggering of unpredictable, hurtful events such the total rejection by the children of the parent seeking the divorce. I have known children who, even after many years following the divorce and after their parents' subsequent marriages, still want to know if mom and dad will ever get back together.

    Now, after three decades of our social experiment with rampant divorce and disposal marriages, I know it isn't a matter of people keeping their marriages together because they can, it's a matter of people making their marriages work because they should. Divorce stinks! Why? Recent findings about the long-term effects of divorce speak for themselves.

    * Except in very extreme conflict-ridden families- and most families do not fit this criterion- children are better off when their parents stay married.

    * Children are more likely to finish school and avoid problems such as teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and delinquent behavior. Plus, they are more likely to have good marriages themselves.

    * Even if a parent is happier as a result of divorce, there is no "trickle down effect." Children still struggle emotionally regardless of how the parent feels.

    * Married men make better fathers. They are more likely to provide guidance, role modeling, and financial support.

    * Marriage is good for most adults. As compared to single, widowed or divorced people, married people are healthier, have better sex lives, they engage in fewer high-risk activities such as substance abuse, they live longer and they are happier!

    * Depression is almost three times as prevalent in women who divorce once, and four times as prevalent in women who divorce twice than in women who have never divorced.

    * A random sample of over 8,600 adults revealed the percentages of those who felt lonely. The results are as follows. Marital status and % reporting loneliness:

    Married- 4.6

    Never Married- 14.5

    Divorced 20.4

    Widowed- 20.6

    Separated- 29.6 (Page and Cole)

    * Those in healthy marriages tend to be better, more productive employees. Married men miss work less often.

    * Divorce increases the cost of many public health and social service programs. Single-parent households often mean children are raised in poverty or on public aid.

    * A single mother's standard of living almost always decreases significantly after divorce.

    * As compared to 50% of first marriages that end in divorce, 60% of second marriages end in divorce.

    Many people considering divorce say they wish they could have a crystal ball that would allow them to see into the future. Actually, the crystal ball is here for the taking. Research has enabled us to be "clairvoyant." But many people choose to ignore or discount the facts because they've been hoodwinked into believing that divorce provides answers to an unhappy marriage. But how are myths about divorce being perpetuated?

    The divorce trap is a powerful conspiracy that is invisible to the naked eye. Like carbon monoxide, the odorless killer, the divorce trap is an insidious influence, invading your thoughts without your knowing it." -Michele Wiener-Davis (marriage therapist & author)

    Divorce Busting® - How to Save Your Marriage, Solve Marriage Problems, and Stop Divorce

    Divorce Busting® - Walk-Away Wife Syndrome - Wife Ending Marriage

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    Registered User FrabjousDay's Avatar
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    Registered User bookwormpeg's Avatar
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    Get a lawyer....you are going to need a good one....divorce is not cheap...especially with children involved.....good luck...

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    Registered User brenda67's Avatar
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    My parents divorced when I was a young teenager and it forever scarred me! I swore that I would never do that to my own children..Im not saying its been easy raising our three sons..I take the blunt of the crap because Im the sahm while my dh works..there is times I've thought about walking out because Im so frustrated with no support from my dh...but...he works sometimes 6/7 days a week..he's tired and wants to relax when he gets home..I understand I use to work for a good many years too..so I need to look at it this way..soon my remaining kids that are still home will be leaving the nest in a few years..it WILL get better!
    Wife to Keith
    Mom of 3 boys

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    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    You know how some people talk about the "7-Year Itch"? Well, it turns out there is a second one in a marriage - around the 15 year mark. It isn't always exactly AT 15 years. Sometimes it is a little before; sometimes a little after. As you well know, it usually happens around the time the children are getting a bit older. Sometimes the married couple is having to deal with the unruly teenaged years in their children. Sometimes the elementary school years are drawing to a close which means the children can sometimes strike out on their own for bits of time. The couple finds that they are spending more time alone together without the children as 'cement' and they have fallen out of the habit of conversing and enjoying each other.

    As you know, having high needs children is especially difficult on a marriage. So much of the adult time is spent either earning money or caring for the children. At a time when many couples start counting the years until they can turn their child's bedroom into a home office or craft room, the couple with high needs children is starting to wonder if their children will ever be able to living independently.

    When considering divorce, I consider how my life will change if I were divorced. I've come to the conclusion that the only change would be that I would be free to date again. Everything else that would change, I could change and remain married. I also concluded that remaining married would make my child happier, allow more money to be dedicated to her up-bringing and all important college education, and would make my efforts at raising her easier on me. In my case, I stick with the big 4-A's of divorce: abuse, addiction, alcoholism and adultery/abandonment. My husband may have emotionally abandoned me, but he is still here and still slogging away at supporting us so I guess he hasn't really abandoned me. Note that 'arguing' isn't on that list. Arguing can be easily stopped ... don't argue.

    To answer your questions, to begin divorce proceedings you should get the advice of an attorney. You need someone to tell you about the laws in your state and someone who knows the judges in your area and how they rule. Keep in mind, divorce is one of the least frugal decisions you can make. In many states you will have to go back to work. You recently demonstrated that you can work and care for your children. Even if you don't return to work, your divorce settlement and child support can be based on your demonstrated ability to earn a certain amount (i.e.: your recent work history). You will both be expected to support the children financially and you, of course, will be expected to support yourself, too. Both of you will be expected to help cover the children's medical expenses. Statistically, in most divorced couples the ex-husband's income increases dramatically in the first 5 years following divorce (lack of pressure to spend time with family and increased pressure to pay bills) while the ex-wife's income tends to dramatically decrease (child support isn't counted as 'income' but a divorced mom also tends to have a heavier child care burden which will affect her work performance and ability to work more hours.) In many states you can't even file for a divorce until you have been separated for a certain period of time - and that means him or you actually living somewhere else for a time. No judge will approve the financial arrangement you propose. By law they have to go by a financial formula. They can modify it somewhat based on input from you but there really isn't much leeway. As above, if you receive ANY government assistance, you won't be given the luxury of refusing to accept a child support order.

    Lastly, keep in mind, as soon as you divorce, your ex-husband will be free to expose your children to whomever he wishes - his drunken cousin, his rude buddies from work or even the squeeze of the week - a person who might have her own ideas about how your children should be raised.

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    Registered User LynnLC's Avatar
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    Wow... she asked for advice on leaving... not a guilt trip or others opinions on divorce.

    OP-If YOU have decided you have had enough & YOU are done... you have that right. I would contact Legal Aid (I believe it's free) for a consult & explain the situation...go from there. Start saving money anyway you can as well but get the consult first...One step at a time. You have to do what's right for YOU in this case...


    I know you said you are in NE...Are you in MA?

    Here is some MA website: If not in Ma, all states have something similar
    http://www.masslegalhelp.org/cat/
    http://www.masslegalhelp.org/childre...ion-basic-info

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