55 answers

What to Ask for in a Divorce?

So now that my husband has made it painfully clear he will not go to counseling and wants a divorce I need to know what I should be asking for?
We have 2 children and one on the way. A house, 2 cars, he has a 401K, retirement, and I have nothing, I have stayed at home for 10 years raising our children. So I feel like I'm going to get screwed.
He says he will not pay for 2 lawyers, that we are going to be civil about this. Thats nice of him to say, hes the one leaving. Yet he wont get out of the house. He stays here still like a daily reminder of its not going to work. So What should I be asking for so my children & I will be OK?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I wish I could thank you all personally for taking the time to answer my questions. Its has been a huge blessing to hear from woman of all walks of life. I do not want a divorce. I still love him. but if he wants this so badly then he better get another job, BC hes not going to have any money to live on. I looked over our finances, and in order for me & the children to live here, hes going to have to live with someone for free.
I don't think there is anyone else, but so help me god if I find out other wise.
Hes still living here, in the living room, I guess hes realized too he has no extra money to spend on the single life. Its hard for me to see him, but at the same time I don't want to let him go.
Regardless, I did get my own lawyer. So if this does all go down I am ready for it. I know what I am entitled to. I hope & pray it doesn't come to this as I told him I am willing to take as long as necessary to fix what ever it is so we can have a life together still. I know I'm sappy, but I'm pregnant and I need him. Emotionally, finically, for good & for the bad. Thats was the vows I took.
Again Thank you all. You have been amazing! Ill keep you posted!

Featured Answers

Great a good lawyer, ask around for references. What you pay him or her will pay you back several folds since they know exactly what you are entitled to and we fight for you to get it!

I am sorry that you have to go through this. But I think you have to get a lawyer, b/c you will get screwed if you go with his lawyer. And he has to get out of the house. You wil be able to get through this.

Oh man he is going to make this ugly. Don't leave the house whatever you do. You need to get a laywer and ask legal advice. He needs to pay child support for each child and since you didn't work you are entitled to some of his 401K but you really need to speak to a laywer ASAP and they will advise you what to do. I hope you don't get screwed either.

More Answers

Okay, heres what I know, (my mom has recently received info for getting a divorce and shes also been married 10 years) In the state of PA, If you have been married longer than I believe 5 years, the one who made the most will have to pay alimony-even if there are no kids involved. Call the court house, they may be able to get you an attorney thru the state and some of them are extermly good. Though you never worked, I don't believe you will get screwed, after all he was the one who worked the whole time, so he will have to pay alimony and child support, not to mention slipt all the assests right down the middle you will get the majority because of the kids. congrats on # 3 I hope you have a safe and full term pregancy, For the kids, just keep reminding them that you both love them no matter what, I am a child of divorce, and my parents divorced by the time I was two. I hope this helps, and we are all always here if you want to talk.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,

I'm sorry. I divorced after 5 years, but I was lucky, because I had a good job, and it kept me busy about other things, even though I was going through all the "imnot good enough" kind of stuff. There are so many emotional things to accomplish to be healthy as a person, plus you have the realities of divorce and life to accomplish.

My ex and I decided to divorce 50/50, which I thought was a good idea, because I didn't want him mad at me == so mad that he wouldn't see his kids. My sister said, You should split 75%/25% because he is one of 4 and you have 3 of the 4 of you to take care of -- me and 2 children. My sister was right. later on, I wished I had done what she said, because I did have the liabilities even though I also had their love more than he did. :-)

I think you need to be fair to yourself. And to do that, you do need to know some facts. You need to know what is reasonable, so you should call one of those lawyer referral places, or ask around, and at least spend enough money on a lawyer to find out what is reasonable for you to ask for in your state.

You should get child support, but you want the "right" amount, not just some amount he's suggested he will pay. You want to protect your custody of the children. They've had Mom 24/7, and only had dad when he's home, even though they've had his paycheck. If you want sole custody, versus joint custody, i would insist on it, and give him visitation rights. Frankly, I would prefer the visitation not be spelled out and pre-determined. In Maine, where I got divorced, the decree itself said, "reasonable visitation", and it worked out well, because he and i were able to adjust visits to Dad around whatever he or we were doing. He might have been more attentive, if he'd had an every other week set of rights, set in stone, but I doubt it. and it made our family lives easier in many ways to work it around our schedules.

He has the job, so he should be responsible to insure you and the kids. Certainly the kids. But I think he should keep you insured for a period of time, too. You have maternity needs, and there will be a period of time when you simply won't be able to get a job, because you'll be busy with an infant, and he should protect you during that time. It's HIS child, for pete's sake.

What do you have for education ? Can you easily get a job? And at how much salary ? You should expect some kind of alimony until you are in a position to get a job. and at that point, perhaps he should pay a portion of the daycare costs, in addition to his regular child support.

There are a lot of things that you will have to consider, living on your own, and I would be glad to correspond with you as you figure some of this out. I used to be a banker, and I'm now a tax preparer, so I might be able to help you figure out some of the "realities" of life.

I also think that perhaps he's not willing to pay for 2 attorneys. Perhaps you should ask him if he'd like to pay for just one: yours. ha ha Does he trust you enough to go to court with just you having an attorney, or is he thinking he should be the one to have the attorney ? If he doesn't trust you to hire the single attorney, then why does he expect you to trust him ? After all, he's the one who wasn't committed enough to you to even attempt to improve the relationship.

Above all, hang in there. Oftentimes, by the time people actually admit they can't keep the marriage going, they are too exhausted emotionally from trying, that they don't have the emotional stamina to correct the situation. Or, they are too afraid of their own shortcomings to see a counselor and let a 3rd party see them, and make them public. It's scary, because the counselor might side with -- oh, no -- the spouse ! He's afraid to be vulnerable, which makes it easier to walk away than to fix the problem.

When my ex and I separated, even while we lived in the house together, before separating, I think we were probably the most honest we'd been with each other since prior to our marriage. We both knew the relationship was falling apart, and we tried to be kind about it, but dumping the facade of the "happily married couple" helped us to admit who we were to each other, and work on having a "relationship" for the kids -- kindness and tolerance, which we've maintained at some level to this day -- although now that his set of "my" kids are adults, I have absoluely no contact with him. The girls do, and that's all that matters, really.

And, yes, there is life after divorce. I didn't feel that way at the time. I was a little suicidal, actually -- only I recognized it, and fought myself to win, because somebody had to be there to raise the kids, and I knew their father wouldn't be. I didn't want to add another tragedy into their lives. So no matter how I felt, I worked to be healthy. I have since met and married a man -- 80% of the people on this website describe their men as wonderful, so I won't use that term !! -- but he's very kind to me. He loved and helped raise my 2 daughters, and we ended up with 2 surprise children of his. They are now 13 and 14, while the older ones are 27 and 24. The younger of the 2 of them reminds me that she is really glad I divorced her dad, and she is really glad to have had Dave as her fathering parent. While i was afraid to get married again, Dave pushed and I gave in, and we tied the knot, and it's been tied for 19 years now. I am a stay-home mom 75% of the year now, but just yesterday I got the call from my oldest to go sailing with her for 2 weeks upon the Spirit of South Carolina -- a tall ship on which she works. I will go as volunteer crew, (because I sail as volunteer crew on a tall ship near my home), and I am amazed that my husband said, "Just go", as I moaned and groaned about the cost of airfare to and from the two ports where I'll get on and off. I am amazed that he loves me enough to say, "Just go", when other costs are skyrocketing, and we have to pay for braces in July for our 13 year old, and soon replace a car with a car payment. ugh yet, still, he'd rather do without, so I can be home most of the time, and he wants me to have the opportunity to spend quality time with my firstborn adult on an adventure at sea. I have been well blessed, even though I didn't believe it would ever happen again. I thought my life was over; that i would raise my girls to adulthood and then God could set me up to die because there would be nothing else to live for. But, while I was healing, God was setting up opportunities and experiences, and bringing people into my life, and it has been and is both full and rewarding -- probably more so than it ever was when I was married to the guys we "affectionatly" call, "the jerk". :-)

Get some REAL legal advice before you decide anything. It's worth the price to step out on the right foot, even if you save money by making the decisions together, rather than arguing through the attorneys. And ask around, if you know divorced people, so you find one that is both compassionate and wise. You will need both. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, I just graduated from law school specializing in family law and i am a mom myself.

Legally, you should be entitled to 1/2 of all the property acquired during the marriage(including the 401K) and child support and you may be entitled to alimony

You have 2 choices as i see it: you can hire divorce lawyers or hire a divorce mediator. I just received my certificate as a mediator, but i believe that i am not allowed to offer my services for hire, since i am replying to your internet query.

You can mediate your divorce and not fight in court. The mediator--and i would recommend you get one who is lawyer as well--is NEUTRAL and will explain the law to both you and your husband, but will not tell you "what to do". the mediator helps parties come to an agreement based upon the law and their own circumstances, without forcing parties onto opposing sides, which just creates more and more bad feelings in a situation that is already rife with them.

I worked in downtown Pittsburgh in family court while I was in law school, and i became firmly convinced that families should not let judges make decisions for them. I was successful in mediating many custody disputes BEFORE we got to the judge, so now I really feel strongly that mediation is the BEST WAY for families to go: sit down and settle everything rationally.

Cost is also a huge factor. The median cost for a divorce is upward of $60k in fees. Mediators typically charge $250/hr, and--no promises--but things can typically be settled in under 20 hrs--with both parties AGREEING--even if it's not your heart's desire, you can still make a bad thing better, not worse.

I would be willing to do this for free--I know that offering my services for free online is fine--but you can go to www.mediate.com and find many good folks there--also, I know the best family mediators in town (Pittsburgh), so i can recommend someone.

Actually though, I would love to help you and your husband work on your divorce as a mediator for free, since i am unsure that I can reply to a web-post for help and then ask for fees (the Bar Association has really strong anti-ambulance chaser rules, and this might qualify). I was very successful as a student mediator, but you would be my first private client.

please email me if you have any questions--i hope that you and your husband can agree to work together to make a difficult situation better for everyone.


1 mom found this helpful

Take out your phone book and look for an attorney! They usually offer a free consultation at which time they will give you a good idea of what you are entitled to. They will also tell you how much it will cost to retain them and most will accept payment by credit card. I know someone who went through this. Her lawyer told her to file for divorce and not to let him file? (I don't know why)
If you have been a stay at home mom you are entitled to alimony as well as child support for all 3 children. You are also entitled to half of all your combined assets.

I am not an expert, but I hope this helps!

I believe you should retain your own lawyer and, like it or not, your husband will pay for the service! Get a GOOD divorce attorney--ask friends for recommendations.
I think you would be entitled to the house (or at least half of the value at sale, a vehicle, child support, and half of the savings and his 401K as well as any retirement plan he may receive in the future (pension, etc.) He is most likely in for a rude awakening and may have no idea what this is really going to cost him.
I'm sorry you are going through this. Hang in there.

After reading a few other responses, I'd like to clarify what I mean by "your husband will HAVE to pay" for your attorney. This was not a suggestion for revenge but the truth since you have no income of your own at this time. You are entitled to good, experienced, legal counsel looking out for YOUR best interest. I would have to wonder if your husband's attorney would look at division of the assets in an unbiased way. Perhaps there is court mediation available to you that would be an impartial third party suggesting division of your assets. Remember, do not feel like a lesser person because you do not currently have/use your career as means for an income. If it weren't for you being at home, raising your kids, cooking, cleaning, etc., your husband and you would not have been able to acquire the assets you have TOGETHER in your marriage. Best of luck to you.

E. -

I don't really have any legal advice for you. My heart goes out to you and your children during this difficult time. I think it is wise to make sure you and your kids are "protected." I also think you should make every effort to seek your own legal advice....don't necessarily need to pay for a lawyer for all proceedings - but I do think you should get a professional opinion before following your husband's suggestions verbatim.

Hi E.,

I just went through this with my best friend. Her husband walked out on her and their 3 boys last august. If you have not done so already, you need to go to your local family court and apply for child and spousal support. You do not need an attorney to do this. There will be a hearing in which your husband will be required to bring in his W2 showing what he makes per year and the court will then award you a percentage of his monthly income. At this point, most employers will automatically withdraw the support directly from his pay check. I would also look into getting an attorney. Some will do this type of work pro bono. If you call your local bar association for a fee they will refer you to an attorney. Also, here in Pennyslvania the spouse is entitled to half of the 401k amount accrued during the marriage and they will take that amount once the divorce is finalized....I would check into that as well. Of course I would ask for the house or that the house be sold and the equity be divided so that you have money to start off with. If he wants the house, then have the house appraised and make it so that he has to buy out your half of the equity in it. Do you have friends or family around you that can be a support system? I have not experienced this first hand but watching my best friend go through it, I gained some knowledge. I know in her situation, she and her husband were married for 6 yrs and he decided he didn't love her anymore and he left her (she and the boys moved out and he kept the house they were renting). her boys were 5, 2 1/2 and 10 mos at the time. she was also a stay at home mom for the past 3 yrs and had no income. After she and the boys were gone and things got pretty nasty for awhile. He had an affair with another woman and they signed the divorce papers. Now he has decided that he wants her and the boys back and they went through counseling the past couple of months and after her oldest is done with school she is planning on moving back in with him. Maybe once he realizes what he has lost he will be willing to go to counseling. I am praying for you and your family.

Hi E., I'm sorry things are not going so well for you. I don't understand why your husband is staying if he says he wants a divorce. Especially with your being pregnant with a history of problems. You should not be going through this stress right now. One thing that I will advise you is to get a lawyer for yourself. At the very least, do a free consultation with a good lawyer. I know one in Northeast Philly that doesn't charge by the hour, he's a really nice guy. http://www.larrythelawyer.com/ He's not your typical lawyer and he may be able to recommend someone to you if he's not in your area. Just because you stayed home doesn't mean a thing, you are still entitled to half of everything. And since your husband is abandoning you while you are expecting you may be entitled to even more. I think you should try to be civil for your own sake and the children's but you should also protect yourself. You do deserve to be taken care of.

You need to go and consult with an attorney to protect yourself and your children, family law can be complicated.(I am an attorney, not family though.) He will have to pay alimony to support you and his children, how much is complicated. Did it ever occur to you that he doesn't want you to consult with an attorney because he is afraid that he would get the "short end" of the deal? You are pregnant again, and he is taking off. I would be mostly concerned about my children, and any custody issues. You can have a "civil" divorce, depending on the attorneys involved. Whoever you would hire, should listen to what you want, and if you don't want a huge conflict, that person should help you. If you can't afford it, there are services out there. (Neighborhood Legal Services, check churches, "ask the attorney" program with North Hills Community Outreach) In fact, if you just wanted to consult with an attorney about your situation, without telling your husband, that should not cost anything. Most attorneys will do the intial consultation no charge, and then you can decide whether to hire them. Get some advice. You'll feel better.

Great a good lawyer, ask around for references. What you pay him or her will pay you back several folds since they know exactly what you are entitled to and we fight for you to get it!

Get a lawyer no matter what he says, and don't worry about the cost...no matter what he'll be the one to pay. You need the advice, and someone on your side. Good Luck.

Hi, I'm sorry to hear what you're going through, I'm in a similar situation. First of all, you need to have your own attorney, do not listen to him; he is counting on you to be weak and clueless - show him otherwise! If you live in Bucks County, PA, I can recommend some attornies to you. Also, get 50% out of your head - I have 2 kids and my attorney says she might be able to get me 60% of everything; you will have 3 kids so you may have even a better shot at that. By law, you are entitled to alimony and child support; there is a computer program that the attorney will plug in his salary and you will be assigned an "earning potential" based on your education and previous work experience. So remember, you will get at least 50% of the marital assets and a payment each month for you and 3 children. I think the only way you will be screwed is if you let HIM run your divorce - don't let that happen! And don't tell him what you're up to or what you find out - you don't want to give him a heads up on anything. Also, I don't believe you can get any spousal and child support while you are still living together and I guess he is still paying the bills, but tell him to move out since he wants the divorce. Good Luck and stay strong!

You need to find your own lawyer, one who will wait to get paid after the settlement....or you will get screwed. You deserve at least half of the assets and alimony and child support. You should be getting the house, but if you only get half, you need to figure out how much to budget for rent and expenses. Try to figure out what your monthly expenses will be to get an idea of what you will need. Chances are that any judge in his/her right mind will decide these things in your favor. If I remember correctly you said before that he was going to fight for the 2 kids but not the one on the way...if you want them, make sure you get custody of the kids, as that will entitle you to more. I hope you have a good support system. I know I'm only getting your side of the story, but it is enough for me to know this guy is a real ASSHOLE...so stick it to him!!!! I'm not a big fan of bitter divorce as my parents still loathe each other 30 years later...but you need to fight for what you are entitled to...and it doesn't sound like he will go down easy. Divorce is a horrible thing for children to have to endure, but so is living with parents who don't love each other and fight all the time. I've experienced both...my mom and stepdad were horrible to live with. The good news is, that despite all that my brother and I turned out very normal...so your kids will be ok too. You want to show them how strong you are. Good luck!
J. W

OK, #1 you get your OWN lawyer. You've put up with his dictatorship long enough. He doesn't get to dictate terms at all.

#2, you will need the house for your kids. Don't let him wiggle out of any mortgage payments, either.

#3, you will need child and spousal support.

#4, you are NOT going to give in to his demands.

#5, you will need the bigger vehicle that is in better condition. After all, you'll be the one transporting the kids to their activities.

#6, again, YOU NEED YOUR OWN ATTORNEY!!!!! A good attorney will fight for your rights.

I am so sorry for what you are going through, but it is only going to get worse. I just finished my divorce and custody yesterday in court after almost 4 years. It is a painful and confusing time. My youngest was a little over a year when it all started, but my husband was cheating with my neighbor, so that added more pain and confusion for all.
My advice, and take this with a grain of salt, asked for everything, absolutely everything, because you won't get what you want, so start big. It ends up being a split on martial assets versus martial debt. We have a 60 40 split, me getting 60% assets and 40% debt. Him the opposite. I did work, so that is the percentage. File for child support right away if he is not giving you enough. You may not be heard right away, but everything will be retroactive from the time you filed, and nothing he gives you before you file will really be taken into account. My ex just tried to take me back and gain more custody with overnights during the week. I would not agree because I did not think it would be healthy for the children. The judge sided with me because of their ages and school, and he just got a little longer dinner visits.
If you can get through it without a lawyer, do it, but since you don't work, you can go through Legal Aid in West Chester and get an attorney. I wish I would hae done that from the start, they are excellent. I did better using them than with a private attorney because they are out to get it down where the privates are out to make some cash. Don't agree to anything that you are not comfortable with, make sure you get child support and alimony. Also require him to maintain insurance on the children. Like I said ask for everything since you are a SAHM and have 3 small children. You are more likely to get it. I wish you a speedy, uncomplicated divorce. Just remember, as bitter as we feel, don't let your children suffer, bite your tongue and show them what you are made of. Show them you are the one they can count out through all of this and that you will be there without doubt. Try not to let them see you cry. Be strong. It is such a difficult time and sometimes it is hard to be strong, but dig down and show your children what you can do.
I know that was a lot of babble, but its been a long struggle for me, but we are finally done. I have 3 boys, and they know who their mother is, how strong she is, and that they are safe, loved, and so secure with me. All I want is them to grow up happy and not to lose their innocence. Feel free to contact me anytime. Sometimes it just helps to talk, vent, and learn from others experiences. I wish you all the luck in the world, pray hard, God listens, he did with me.
All my best.
D. D

Don't worry. You need to file for child support and spousal support first off. This will ensure that you and your children are provided for. If you are unable to afford a lawyer you can check with the Bar Association for lawyers that can help given your situation. DO NOT use one lawyer for the divorce, it is unethical on the attorney's part if he represents both. You can also petition the court for Alimony Pendente Lite to have your husband help with your attorney's fees. His 401(k) is part yours. You will need to establish the value of the plan at the date of your marriage and at the date of seperation. You will be entitled to at least 1/2 of his 401(k). If he has another retirement account the same holds true for it as the 401(k). If he is not giving you money now, you can file for support even though he lives in the house. If you want him to leave you need to file a Petition for Exclusive Possesion of the Marital Residence. This is not ownership, it is just possession until the divorce is finalized and an agreement can be reached. Chances are you will remain in the home given the fact that you do not work and have 2 dependent children already and one on the way. Same with the vehicles, if there are two, he needs to provide you with one of them so you are able to have transportation to care for your children. Be certain to keep tabs on credit cards, if any, so you know what the balances are, if he is considering himself seperated from you, you want to know the balances of your bills at the time of seperation. While he is still in the house, I would obtain as much information as possible before he leaves since you have easier access now. You should get a custody agreement also. I don't know your complete situation, but if you are worried that he will take the kids, then get one now. Given their ages, you should end up with shared custody with you having primary physical custody and joint legal custody and him having partial custody. (As long as he doesn't have any dirt on you.) Legal custody is usually joint because that gives you the right to make educational, religious and medical decisions for your children. Best of luck to you and your kids. If I can be of any further help, let me know. (I was a Legal Assistant for Family Law Cases for 10 years.)

Dear E.,
GET YOUR OWN LAWYER!! You need someone who is looking out solely for your interests. No matter what your husband says, he has his own best interests at heart. Things that you need to ask for are- alimony, child support, a visitation schedule, medical benefits for you and he children. Also, because of the length of your marriage, you will be entitled to a portion of his social security and retirement benefits. The lawyers have to do something called a "QDRO" to figure out percentages. Even though this is a long way off, have ot handled now.
I was in a similar situation about 5 years ago. I am now happily remarried, have a new baby, and my other 2 daughters are doing great.
Good luck!
PS My ex has to maintain a life insurance policy in order to fulfill his financial obligations should something happen to him.

I am so very sorry for what you are going through. I myself have never been divorced, but both my brother and my husband's brother and have went through the process. Megan G had a very thorough list of questions to consider. I would also add to that (1) college- how and/or who will that be paid for (even though once your children are 18 they are considered adults). It is something to think about if you want to provide them an educations. (2) what about moving out of state (either you or their father). (3) significant others... do you want him introducing your children to other women should he start dating- or when would you feel it is appropriate? Good Luck. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


I'm sorry this is happening to you, especially while pregnant. Although I've not been through this myself, after reading the other posts, I'd like to give you one very important piece of advice: EDUCATE YOURSELF. Don't go into this blindly....know your rights.

Best of luck to you

Once you are married for 10 years you are entitled to 1/2 of his pension, social security, etc. I found this out when I got divorced. We had no children though and it was a mutual split so we both signed off that we won't touch the others retirement. since you have been a stay at home mom, if I were you I would ask for alimony as well as child support. If you have family that are supportive, see if they can lend you money for your own lawyer. If that's not a possibility, most communities have attourneys that are available at low cost, or no cost based on income. Since you actually have none of your own income, you would qualify. You would have to contact your local social services or public welfare office for information on how to apply. Explain your situation and they can point you in the right direction. Good luck. It is a shame your husband isn't willing to work it out. Especially since you are currently pregnant. He at least loved you enough to make that baby within the past 9 months so he should be willing to do what it takes to make sure his family is ok.

You are intitled to half of everything. You should get the house. If you do not want the house, then sell it and give him half. You should get the car that fits you and the children. Also, he should pay child support and allomony(spelling).....Also, you get half of everything that is in his name....whether it be 401k,or anything.
Seek legal advice, and explain to the lawyer that you have raised your children for ten yrs, and that you are willing to do whatever to make sure your children are taken care of.....Your ex is going to do everything in his power to control this, and do not let him....be cival, but strong and firm......!

Wow...I really don't know what to say. My only advice is to get your OWN lawyer, don't share one. I can't see the benefit of sharing a lawyer unless you are planning to get taken advantage of. And don't leave the house. If this was his decision to get a divorce, he should be the one to leave. I can't see a judge looking very favorably at a man who doesn't want to be married and yet staying in the house.

I really don't have any experience with the questions you are asking, just my own personal gut feeling. You already know that the most important thing in all of this is the children. Keeping them safe and making sure they are well-cared for is all that matters. I just want to say good luck and I will pray that you and your children come out of all of this ok. If you need a shoulder or someone to talk to, please let me know. My heart really goes out to you.


I am sorry to hear about your situation. This must be extremely tough but what to ask for in a divorce I am not too sure about. Did he want you to stay home with the children or could you have worked? I know that is an important question. Techinically as far as I know you are pretty much entitled to half and child support. What is his meaning of civil? Does he want the house or do you? Can you go back to work and make the mortgage payments by yourself? There are a lot of things involved but please be careful of this whole I am trying to be civil thing. It could indeed be a rouse so you don't get an attorney and he can dictate everything. I would get an attorney and let the judge or a mediater and your attorney's hash it out just because he doesn't want to pay for 2 attorneys does not mean he won't have to the judge could order that one. Consult an attorney without your husband's knowledge and talk to your husband and see what he thinks is fair. Good luck and I will keep you in my prayers.

My goodness! I would say that you need more than legal advice on what to ask for. I wish I could tell you what to do there, but with him no longer loving you, yet he conceived another one with you? I'd say sue for money for counseling for you and your children, including the one not yet born.
I don't know what all the issues are, but it sounds to me like he's being a bit arrogant, too. He does know that baby #3 will need his love and support, too, doesn't he?

Girl, you need some emotional support too. See if you can get counseling money. I feel for you!

Hi E.:
Your description in "a little about me" made me feel so sad for you. I am sure you are devastated -- what kind of man divorces his wife while she is pregnant?? -- but I hope you will take the time to remember all the positive things about you. You are not just defined by "my husband no longer loves me and wants a divorce."

I don't know much about the law, but I believe your assets are considered owned 50/50. So while it would be nice if you can share a lawyer, I don't think you should hesitate to get your own if you think it will be easier/fairer. I believe all the law fees come out of the final settlement.

Remember, you were busy working at home for 10 years. Although you may not have received a salary, you were an important factor in allowing your family to accumulate whatever wealth you have, and you have the right to share in them.

Take care of yourself and I hope things will go smoothly for you in your pregnancy. God bless.
S. B

Go and file for custody of your children immediately! As far as what to ask for typically people ask for: Alamonie, child support, 1/2 his 401K, half of whatever you guys have saved in your accounts. Basically if you were going to be represented by a lwayer you would be going after 1/2 of everyhting that you inquired while married and would look to recieve payments from him that would allow you to live in the same lifestyle that both you and your children are accostomed to. Good luck! If I were you and things do not work out as easily as you both have pictured I would get a lawyer especially since the marriage lasted 10 years!

Hi E.. Are you in Delaware? If so, you are entitled to 1/2 of all property obtained since date of marriage. That is the law. It is not dependant upon whether you worked outside of the home or contributed to the home by staying at home with the kids.

You REALLY need to get your own attorney. And, whether your husband wants to or not, he will HAVE to pay for the attorney.

Best of luck!

Hi E.,

I would check out some books at the library. I am taking a class where I have to do some research on divorce and I found that the library has tons of books to help people going through a divorce from the legal stuff to how to talk to the kids about it.
Good luck with everything! Sorry you have to go through this. As a child of divorced parents I would recommend trying to do it in a peaceful manner and don't talk about dad to the kids. Remember it isn't their fault and they shouldn't have to deal with the adult situation that is going on.


First off, keep your chin up. I'm going through the same thing. I'm 44 with a 2 1/2 old and a 2 year old we adopted. My soon to be X decided that I was too much of a mother and not enough wife...gee you think???

Get a lawyer. Follow that lawyer. Explain your situation & they might take you on and ask him to pay fees after its over. I also haven't worked, I'm a stay at home mom. That lawyer will tell you what you are entitled to, what your rights are.

Trust me, this is not easy. Being pregnant, you don't need the stress. I hope you have family or support to help you. I'm keeping this short because you will get A LOT of responses!

Good luck & feel free to email me if I can help or just be a friendly ear.


First I would say find a very good lawyer willing to work with you on payment arrangements. My first lawyer did nothing for me, basically just wanted to finalize the divorce. Next you can look on line to see what your rights are to property, 401K etc. Your kids will survive. Its better for them to be away from an unhealthy relationship than to be around one.

E.- I am saddened to read about your dilemma. I am going to forward your posting to a friend of mine who is an employment lawyer (R. O.) - perhaps she can refer you to a nonprofit or for profit who may offer lawyer to clients in some cases for pro bono.

What is your educational background? Can you go back to work after the baby is born or do you need additional training? I would get a resume together while you're pregnant. I can help you with your resume if you like.

Do you have any family locally who can help with the baby once it arrives?

Things I would ask for:
-monthly expenses for you and your children
-childcare for the baby so you can go back to work
-health insurance for all of you
-a car
-the house if you will have primary custody of the kids
-not sure what else because i have never experienced this.

Good luck and please let me know if you need help with your resume.

R. G.

I am so sorry you are going through this....I've been there. Know that times will be rough and probably ugly for a while but everything will work out in the end.

Most definitely get your own attorney, it is never recommended that a couple use the same one unless the divorce is completely amicable and they have agreed on everything up front.

Because you have been home with your children you do not have an income or 401K to factor in on this and I'm sure he knows what he will be up against if you get your own attorney but YOU have to do what is right for YOU and your precious children.

I can't even imagine how a husband can turn his back on his wife when she is pregnant with their 3rd child!!!! For you, I don't think going back to work is even an option right now.

He will tell you all sorts of things out of anger as well to scare you so don't believe him without consulting your own attorney! It's funny what men are capable of when it comes to giving up ANY of their money!

Remember you can ask for just about ANYTHING in a divorce agreement from time with the kids for their birthdays to holidays, vacations, summers, etc.

I have tons more to suggest but I'm running out of time here, email me back if you want to chat more. ____@____.com

I wish you lots of luck and good health. Be strong.


I've never been in this boat before--haven't even been married yet, but I know one big thing is making sure he pays for their healthcare through his work.


* Will your children live with you or your former spouse?
* If the children live with your former spouse, how often do you hope to see them?
* How will you and your ex-spouse make decisions concerning the children's health care and education?
* Who will pay for the children's living expenses, education and travel?
* What if your ex-spouse remarries and the stepparent wants to adopt the children?

Support Payments

* What about spousal support and child support? Will you receive it or need to pay it? How much and for how long?
* Will the spousal support or child support increase or decrease in the future due to changing financial circumstances, economic conditions or other factors?
* Who will be entitled to claim the children as exemptions for income tax purposes?

Your Home

* Who will live in the marital home during the divorce process?
* Will one of the spouses keep the marital home after the divorce, or will it be sold? How will the proceeds be divided?
* If one party keeps the home, will the other party deed its interest to the first party?
* If the parties decide to sell the home, will both spouses be involved in the sale and closing? Who will decide the listing price and whether a real estate broker will sell the home?
* Who will be responsible for major repairs and the costs of preparing the home for sale?
* Who will be entitled to deduct the mortgage interest charges and property taxes for income tax purposes?
* Who will be responsible for any income (capital gains) taxes that are imposed as a result of the sale of the home?


* Will you keep life insurance for the benefit of your children?
* Will either party be obligated to provide medical or other insurance for the other? For the children? For how long?
* Who will be responsible for any medical, dental, prescription or hospital expenses of the children that are not reimbursed by insurance?

Income Taxes

* Who will be entitled to receive any refund from current and past joint income tax returns?
* If there is a deficiency on any current or past joint income tax returns, who will be responsible for the payment?

The list is from http://www.themarkslawfirm.com/CM/FSDP/PracticeCenter/Fam...

Best of luck hunny. I'm so sorry this happened...

Go to your local Domestic Relations/Child Support Office ASAP!!!

Also - Many courthouses have a self-help center for those folks that cannot afford an attorney. Call your local Bar Association, they can refer you to a low-cost or pro-bono attorney that may be able to help you.


I was right where you are now 4 years ago. My daughter was 1 1/2 years old when my ex walked out on us. Getting him to pay for a lawyer is a tough one....you have to find a lawyer that will give you a free consoltation....preferrably a woman...they tend to feel for you.

As for what to ask in the divorce....since you have not worked in 10 years of marriage, you are entitled to spousal support...he will fight you on that, but don't give up. Also ask for a car to take care of your children, pay for medical for them and your unborn child, and child support, which will be determined by what state you live in. My guess with 2 young ones and one on the way....he will be paying a good amount.

You will probably have to seek a part time job after the baby is born to show you can provide some for the children....which means either having family help with daycare or place them....which means he will have to pay more. You are also looking at joint custody with him is my guess.....seeing how he has a job....if he wants to be an a$$ he may see about full custody.

Find a lawyer who will give you a free consoltation, lower monthly payments....mine was to be $200 but I couldn't afford it so it was lowered to $50.00. If your lawyer is good enough, there is a way to get your husband to pay for the divorce.

Then again, if you all can agree on things....you could do it yourself through the courts....but it sounds like you need a lawyer.

Good luck.....please, don't give up, I absolutly know what you are going through.....married 6 years, separated 3 1/2 of those and now divorced 4 years and I still have a hard time now and then. If it was not for my daughter I would have given up.

You can and will make it through this.

Wow, your story just broke my heart! He obviously isn't thinking things through. He will be the looser in the end!!! I worked in payroll and human resourses in my past, before I became a SAHM, and saw the paychecks of men paying child support. They barely had enough money to live. One of my girlfriends child support was so high that it paid for her apartment & utilties. He ended up leaving his job and running away because he didn't have enough money to live. I am in my 2nd marriage and it's alot of work but we are surviving. I borrowed money from family & friends for my divorce from 1st husband. Perhaps you can ask someone the same favor. Also, this is one reason why I'm running 3 business's from my home because without having some kind of personal income, experience and contacts I found it very hard to get a job! I tried for several years and finally gave up to do my own thing! I know this isn't going to be an easy time for you and I will be thinking of you & praying for you:) If you don't go to church, get into some kind of a support system right now! Looks like you made a lot of new friends who will be pulling for you too! If you ever want more info on what I do, please feel free to ask anytime! The business's I am in have totally provided an awesome support system for personal issues I have been going through and have given me a reason to keep working hard! My life experiences make me stronger and have helped me to be a better mother and a better person! I'm here for you also if you need a friend. Hang in there! God Bless! L.

You need to get a lawyer NOW. If he has the only income, he'll be paying for it, period. You can get free initial consults from most lawyers so just start going down the list in the phone book, but talk to them now. The laws will be confusing and you need a pro who can tell you what you are entitled to. Many times the husband will feed the wife with BS of what he'll get and what she won't so talk to a lawyer and the truth. Do not move out of the residence. He's the one choosing to leave and you will be raising the children so it only makes sense that you get the house. Do not share the same bed. This may be important to a judge, depending on the law. I know it makes a difference in NC where I was at for several years. Good luck and keep calm and keep your chin up!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

I am sorry that you have to go through this. But I think you have to get a lawyer, b/c you will get screwed if you go with his lawyer. And he has to get out of the house. You wil be able to get through this.

What stress to have to deal with being pregnant..i would still get a lawyer

You should consult with a divorce lawyer. Most will do this initial meeting for free. You shouldn't be making decisions all on your own during t his time. Trust a pro.

Use your own lawyer. Only a lawyer who works solely for you will have your best interests at heart. It's going to come as a real shock to him once he realizes he WILL be paying for two lawyers.

Best wishes.

My heart goes out to you esp with you being pregnant. #1- get an attorney. He wants things civil because you can reak havok on his life and his 401k. You, my Dear are not just a stay at home Mother and your job DOES have a price tag, any good attorney will make sure you are compensated well for you and your children. #2- Get to DOMESTIC RELATIONS IMMEDIATELY. Call today and make your appointment. #3- Get him out of your house if he wants this divorce so badly. #4- Seek support from all and every one of your family members and friends. Your loved ones will help you and be there for you. Do not try to do this alone.
You are in my prayers...

Hello E.~ First off I am very sorry for you and your children. In advice you need a lawyer. If you are in NJ Southern I can give you a name of a good one. (My friend was using)She was pregnant with the 2nd one just had her and fond out that he was having an affair and got her pregnant. Was way more interested in the new pregnancy. ANYWAY The main thing is know your rights and DO NOT ALWAYS BELIEVE what your husband is telling you through this. Remember he is the one leaving you and he has his own interest in mind.
Best of luck to you. Just focus on your children and TRY and keep yourself sane for the new one on the way.

While he is at work, get on the phone and keep calling lawyers to find one. Tell them your situation regarding finances, you may find a pro bono (free) lawyer who will take your cause. Some lawyers cannot stand when someone's legal rights are tramped on & will rally to your cause. Your husband does not want you to get a lawyer, because if you do..he knows since he is the one who is asking for the divorce (& is the sole provider)he can loose 'everything'. He is not moving out of the house, because he intends to keep the house & have you move out. He may also try to claim full custody of your children, so he will not have to pay child support. He says he will not pay for two lawyers & wants things to be civil, because it is his intention to 'snow ball' you & get everything his way. You have not mentioned if he is controlling or abusive, but this controlling behaivor he is showing now indicates the possibility he has been at some point. If he has been at any point, get in touch with a domestic violence shelter. They can help you greatly & mainly think about your children & your unborn child. Your husband will not move out of the house, saying he does not love you/wants a divorce/only pay for one lawyer..so is he watching what you do closer? Your phone calls, etc..watching you like a hawk? That was why I suggested calling for a lawyer while he is at work, he does not need to know you are trying to get your own lawyer..which you have every right to do, not only for you but for your children's best interest. If he will no longer support you, you may be eligible for state help (cash & food stamps, medical) & apply for spoucal/child support. Like I mentioned before, since he is not moving out he is not relinquishing his claim on anything..including your children. He could try to claim full custody of all of your children, after the baby is born & just riding things out until then. So if he was abusive or becomes abusive get in touch with a domestic violence shelter & get there WITH your children. Also get a lawyer to protect you & your children's legal rights. May God be with you & you are in my prayers.

Oh man he is going to make this ugly. Don't leave the house whatever you do. You need to get a laywer and ask legal advice. He needs to pay child support for each child and since you didn't work you are entitled to some of his 401K but you really need to speak to a laywer ASAP and they will advise you what to do. I hope you don't get screwed either.

Granted I have no personal experience in this matter, but I really feel as if you should seek legal counsel. There are no costs for a simple consultation. However, it will get costly should you wind up getting taken advantage of. You can be civil and enlist the help of an attorney. I guess it just depends upon your attitude. If you hire an attorney to make sure your and your children's needs are being protected, then that sounds pretty civil to me. But if you hire one to screw your husband, well, that's obviously not civil. Please do some research and find yourself an attorney with experience. I'd start looking online. Perhaps you can find a support group of women in the area who have gone through something similar and who can recommend a few names.

I wish you luck and hope that the process is as smooth as possible both for your sake and your children's.

T. :)

My heart goes out to you and your children. First of all do not give up on counseling. Just because he won't go does not mean that you should not seek some counseling. You need that for you and your children. If you are a Christian I would suggest seeking a counselor who is one also.
That being said I myself have not been divorced but have seen and heard from friends and family what is involved. The advice of others is DEAD ON... You need your OWN Counsel. A lawyer who has had experience in Divorce matters such as yours is best. Most will accept payments and it is very possible to do.
I have seen women try to be amicable and wind up with less than they deserve. You do need to Know what your rights are.
You have not said - but if there is another woman involved -- I would NOT agree to a "no-fault" divorce. Your lawyer will give you advice on that. As far as I know you would be entitled to the house until your youngest graduates from High School or turns 18. At that point you would have to sell the house and divide the profit. So thinking ahead please have a good financial plan in place) You should definitely put the 401K in your list of assests that you are requesting. It is not unreasonable to expect one of the vehicles.
You should not have to worry whether or not your husband will have enough to support a future family if it was not your decision to disolve the marriage. Do what is right and just by your children and yourself. Do not sell yourself short because you are not employed outside of the home. The value of a wife and mother is priceless! Child Care is expensive so unless you have family to help you, with 3 children I would say that considering going to work outside of the home before your youngest is school age would not be an acceptable term as part of the divorce agreement. And don't be surprised if your soon to be ex tries to ask for custody as a scare tactic to get out of paying any support. I have seen this tried many times because the husband thought that it would get the wife to have her lawyer back down. Ask around for a lawyer who has dealt with a situation such as yours.
You are going to go through a really rough time of it. That is why I highly recommend counseling. You will come out fine if you get your own Lawyer. Your children deserve it. By not getting your own Lawyer you may be giving up some of THEIR rights, and I know you want what is best for THEM.
I will keep you in prayer. Please keep us posted.
God Bless.

You are entitled to half of everything. Including his 401k. As for custody and child support you can go to domestic relations and save the money of a lawyer that way. I would do that as soon as possible and let him know that you are serious about taking care of yourself and your children. If you are not contesting the divorce it may not cost much. I would get the lawyer for you they will act on your behalf and he will have to deal with it if he only wants only one. They will only act on one parties behalf. Make that YOU. Also if you live in PA and do not want a divorce I believe you can force up to 3 counseling sessions. Also if you don't want a divorce I believe you can hold it off for 2 years.

Get a lawyer. Even if you can't afford one! Get a good lawyer too. As a stay at home parent you will want to file for child support AND allimony. If you house is expensive, try to get that. If he won't agree get him to buy a smaller house for you and your children. Take everything that you can. It sounds cold, but you will need it for your children. Get at least half of all his savings, Get copies of all the 401K's, the bank statements, the bills in your house. Get those copies out of your house and to a lawer who will keep them safe. DO not trust him, be nice to his face and get all the paperwork ready. Divorce is a fight. I was divorced in my early 20's with 2 small children. I got a lawyer that cost $150 an hour, I couldn't afford her at the time. When it came time to pay....she had fought very hard for me and I could pay her easily. Its nice to think that he will be civil, but he has all the power as the working person. Get your laywer and file first. Turst me on this one. You can work on being nice later. Nice doesn't get your children everything that they want. And don't be to nice about visitation either. If he has the days available to him....he still doesn't HAVE to pick them up. Give him less so you and the kids have more. You really have to be like apirate in thios situation. Take what you can, give nothing back. Trust me!!!!!

Oh, boy, I feel your pain here. My ex did the same thing... he offered to be "civil" and only get one laywer... I got scr$#ed over big time! Get your own lawler, he is going to have to suck it up. You ask for the house, alimony, spousal support. Half of the 401, retirement plan, anything else he has. You need to be able to support your kids and he is the one choosing to leave, so of course he doesn't want to pay for a lawler that will see that you get what your children need to live their lives as they knew it before (financially speaking). Good luck and God bless. Stay strong for the kids.

Ask for alot! Remember when he retires you can get some of his SSI but it has to be in the divorce. (my friend made the mistake) and i would ask for spousal support and don't be nice to him and give almost everything because you have 3 kids to raise.

Hi E.!
First off, I am sorry to hear about your situation. You need your own lawyer. I don't care what he says. You need to look out for you!! Based on what you have told us, this is what I think. If he won't get out of the house, then let him buy you out. If the house is worth $300k, he has to pay you $150 to stay in it so that you can move. Typically under the law, you are entitled to 50% of his 401k. They are called QDRO(Qualified Domestic Relations Orders). I would also be asking for alimony and money for the kids. I am hoping that although you stayed at home that you maybe did something prior to that. I would find out how you could get back into that in order to be able to support yourself going forward. Once you would be working I would make sure that he feels at least 50% of the daycare bill as well.

I am hoping there are others out there that are giving you advice that actually went through a divorce. These are things that I know happened with people I know. One thing is for sure, don't trust him at this point. You need to look out for you and what is best for the kids at this point. You will get screwed if you do not get your own lawyer. And if he doesn't want 2, you find one and he can use yours!!

Good luck.

NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE. STAY IN AND MAKE HIM MOVE. I'm sorry that you are going through this especially when you are pregnant. You have enough to worry about without the added stress of a divorce. First things first, insist on your own lawyer. Ask friends and family who have gotten a divorce for help. You want a lawyer that usually represents women. If you lived in IN I would have the perfect lawyer for you. You want one that isn't shy and can be ruthless. No matter what your husband says now it will be different when the assets are being divided. Remember you and your children deserve to try and maintain the lifestyle you have grown accustom to. I don't know if PA has alimony but if it does insist on it. He needs to pay for your children's medical care and yours while you are pregnant and for any complications that may arise after you give birth. He is responsible for paying for your kids education. Insist that he has to set up 529's for them and contributes to them yearly. He will get the tax deduction for them probably but at least you won't have to worry about college. You keep the house and he pays for it. He also is responsible to pay for 50% of your child's school related activities (Fees for soccer, uniforms for girl/boy scouts, field trips, book fees, ect.) Also you want to figure out how much you spend on food and clothes for your kids. This should be the basis of the child support. Keep your chin up and never let him see you cry. Don't give him the satisfaction. I might sound cold and callous but as a kid I have been through 2 divorces with my dad. I know what women can get, even when they don't have the responsibility of taking care of the kids. My father raised us by himself and he still had to pay a lot of money to my bio-mother and she only had us once a month. Make sure you have someone you can talk to and your kids can talk to while this is all going on. By the way he should pay for the kids therapy also. Try and go for full custody also. Now isn't the time to be the nice dutiful wife. Look out for your kids best interest and ask for everything and don't back down. Be strong, seek out those that love you and hold fast. This isn't going to be easy, no matter what your husband says. You have dedicated your life to him and raising a family you are entitled to his money. I'll be thinking of you and your wonderful children. Take care!

Do NOT use the same lawyer as your husband. From the way you say he says "We will be civil." It sounds like what he really means is you'll take what I give you and be happy. Get your OWN attorney. Even if you both end up using your attorney. Make sure he is the attorney YOU hire to look after your interests. Talk to him about what you are entitled to.

I know you are entitled to support and I believe half of all the marital assets. They can go after the house, also. You might not get the house as a whole but I've heard of friends getting the right to remain in the marital home until their youngest graduates from high school with the ex-spouse still paying or contributing to the mortgage. Go after custody of the kids and child support. Go after having him pay to keep you and all of the children (here already and unborn) on his health benefits through work. You might only be able to remain on his until a set time after the baby is born but this is one of the reasons you want an attorney who is looking after YOUR interests and those of your children NOT your husband.

I can't stress it enough, though. YOU HIRE AN ATTORNEY. Go to him and talk to him about what you are entitled to and what you should ask for in the divorce. Have him draw up papers with everything you want. If your husband is willing to agree to and sign the papers, then he can save on hiring a second attorney. If he refuses, then tell him, "Well, we have already paid for one attorney. What is it that you would like changed?" If you are unwilling to give that up, tell him, "I'm sorry but that is unacceptable to me. I'm willing to work with you a little (IF YOU ARE) but I cannot in good conscience agree to those changes." If he can't agree to your terms, then he can hire a second attorney.

If he has already hired an attorney and you cannot afford to pay for one, please check out Legal Aid. I know in the city of Pittsburgh, they have legal aid lawyers down at the court house to help draw up legal papers. Plus, the Women's Shelter of Pittsburgh offers free legal aid as well. If you aren't in Pittsburgh, check online for free legal aid in your area.

Good luck. I hope everything works out well for you. I, also, hope your husband deals with whatever midlife crisis he is dealing with and is a good father to your children.

Say that the only way you will agree to one lawyer is if he/she is YOURS. His lawyer will only act on his behalf-DO NOT FALL FOR THAT!!! Demand your own lawyer. I would look around and find one and tell him you already found one before he does. Let the lawyer tell you what to ask for-there is no way you can think of it all on your own.
Write to your entire family and his and tell them exactly what is going on. There needs to be no he said/she said if this gets ugly.
There is no such thing as a man leaving his family, trying to keep all of his money AND being civil. Forget he ever said that.
Ask him to leave immediately if you don't want him there. If he doesn't want to pay for a separate place, tell him to stay with friends. Don't make this easy for him, and don't do him any favors.
My heart is with you, best of luck stay strong, you are in the right in every way, and your children need you to come through this as well as possible for them. Check out www.Divorce360.com for tips as well-but you need your own lawyer NO MATTER WHAT.

I am sorry for your situation. You have already recieved good advice for your divorce. My advice is going to be different...do YOU want a divorce?? Your husband is still in your house, there are things that you can do, to try and save your marriage. I could give you a million reasons why you should not give up on your marriage. Your children, are the number one reason. I would be happy to supply you with the resources to try and save your marriage, if you are interested....just ask!! I do understand your pain...I was married for 20 years when I was divorced. I have three children, they were 13, 7, and 1, when I got divorced, 12 years ago. Please give it a try!

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