Legal, Divorce Assistance

Updated on February 03, 2010
G.M. asks from Austin, TX
12 answers

Hi All,
My husband and I have been separated slightly shy of two years. Before he left our home, he had obtained a divorce decree from a website for about $75.00 and had filled it out. Since then, he has acquired debt of his own, on top of the debt he left with me with. He stopped paying me any money toward out debt about a year ago because he lost his job. He was paying toward our Visa, and had the motorcycle at his place and was paying on it. Now I have the motorcycle at my place trying to sell it myself, it is owed by the bank so I don't have the title. He has never paid alimony because he didn't want to, he was married before and paid child support and stated he would never do that again. He has never given me any money toward raising our son. At one time he was working out of town and was only able to see our son every 21 days. He did lose his job and moved back closer to Austin and has our son on the weekends as my son goes to school close to my home. This weekend he asked if we could split the cost of a divorce and what would I like the divorce decree to state. Because he met someone that is a Christian and he didn't think she would understand why we have not been divorced. Seriously, I had stayed married just because I didn't have the extra money to go forward with going to court, I didn't want to go through the heartache of one or the struggle I KNOW it is going to be with him, he can be so mean and it has taken me this long to be friends with him so we can co-parent our son nicely. We have in fact been on great terms, he seems to be in a "nice place" mentally.
My husband is in the middle of a lawsuit with a former employer and it could end within the next two months or it could go on for another 5 years. No one has been paid at this point, no cost from us and the lawyers must think my husband could win as they took on the case pro bono. So, he could come into a bit of money? My parents bailed us out of debt a few years ago, we were paying the debt back until we separated, so we owe them about $20K, ( we have a document stating the amount we owe them, how and what we were going to pay them, it is notorized, again, we haven't paid anything since splitting up). I have been left with a Visa of $4K and a motorcycle in my name that he stopped paying on a long time ago. I have been able to have my son on medicaid because I don't make much money. My soon to be ex does not have a job, he is attending school and will graduate this summer. He is learning a trade, he obtained Pell grants, which he will have to pay back. He is supporting himself through unemployment and lives with his parents. The only things he has bought my son since he left is one pair of shoes (recently) and a few pairs of pants and a few tops (recently). I have gotten my son his clothes, school supplies, books etc...luckily medicaid has covered his medicines and doctors appointments as my son was very ill for a bit that required him to be hospitalized, so far, he has been on the road to recovery. My family has helped out with money and so forth.
A little less than a month ago, my soon to be ex husband and I were talking about the case and potentially what he could receive as a "pay-out" instead of going to court. And he figured out a fee for the lawyers and what money it would take to get himself out of debt and put money toward a college fund for our son and his other daughter and then get him a place to stay, then what he could pay toward my parents debt and the motorcycle etc...he did state he would pay all of it if he ended up making great money with the pay out, but if not he would pay what he could.
I was shocked, I kept thinking...shouldn't you pay the debt we owe my parents and our debt here at this house before you left BEFORE you pay the debt YOU incurred on your own?
Let's say, he wasn't very good at being "frugal" as I was and I allowed him to push me into money situations I should not have done just to keep the peace at home, tis is why we owe my parents, and I am Thankful for their helpfulness.
Can anyone lend some advise WITHOUT a lawyer's assistance as I am in an extremely tight money situation??

Thanks for your assistance!

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answers from Austin on

I know you say you want to do this WITHOUT a lawyer but it's going to wind up costing you more money if you don't do it right. My brother-in-law did an online divorce and then got married to my sister. Something wasn't filled out correctly and now my sister and brother-in-law have $10,000 credit card debt from his EX-wife. You should be VERY cautious with the online divorce. Something like that is meant more for people who have no kids, no debt, and no assets.

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answers from Killeen on

Hello Again. I responded to today's post and now have read yesterday's post. Ok. Your ex is used to getting his way. It is now your turn. Please, please, please take the time TODAY to find legal help. You need to find the best attorney you can hire. I encourage you to meet with/interview at least 3 attorneys. You need to explain your story. I encourage you to write it out. That way you won't have to repeat it over and over. Also, if you think that your husband will hire "X" attorney...go and meet with them. He will not be able to hire them because you have already met with them. You and your ex can't use the same attorney. So, if you have legal counsel and he does not, then he represents himself. Also, please stop communicating with him. You will resume communication once you have an attorney. You will save money to keep communication lines open. Your attorney does not always have to be the communicator, if you can have civil conversation. Also, your attorney will set up a temporary child support arrangement. He will have to start paying "something" as soon as these orders are in place. Also, your attorney may work out household payments for the time being. I will send you my seminar for FREE. Save time, money and heartache with Organized Divorce. May you experience many blessings in your day.



answers from New York on

I've heard of getting a divorce using an arbitrator. However, my best advise is get a lawyer. Ask friends, family and collegues for recommendations. When you call the law firm, ask them for a free consultation.

Alot of this sounds like he's using you and once this law suit is settled he's going to take the money and run. He obviously doesn't care about his previous debt. Depending on the laws in your state, as long as you're married the debt that he is occuring on his own is also your debt.

Start keeping records of all the bills you pay for your son, clothing, school supplies, fees for sports lessons or clubs, medical expenses, etc. You'll need it.

Why does he need to get a place to stay? Where is he staying now.

You said he left a motorcycle. Who has the title? If you do, sell it.

Good luck



answers from Austin on

With what you are saying it would be good for you to get a lawyer. You could possibly even request that he pay your lawyer fees. Either way he should be required to pay at least half of all debts aquired during the marriage. I have also learned that child support is usually done seperate from the divorce unless your lawyer makes sure to hit that during the process. If you are interested my husband's cousin is a family lawyer and pretty good. He's the no BS lawyer which is the kind of lawyer you want even if you don't go with him. Before I met my husband I went through a child support battle with a bad lawyer and years later I'm trying to get corrected what that lawyer half - a'd. My suggestion is to get a lawyer and make sure he's clear on what you want and if the one you end up with tries to talk you into less or anything along those lines get a NEW lawyer. Let me know if you want Ryan's # he's good and I hear he's reasonable.



answers from San Antonio on

I would definitely put in the divorce decree that he is liable to pay half of all the debt that was incurred in the marriage. That includes money owed to your parents and the outstanding debt. That's not to mention the fact that he still owes you child support. Since he doesn't have a job, then you need to come up with some type of payment that will be good for him obviously. Later when he gets a job then you can take him back to court and let the court decide how much money he is to give.

Whatever you do, don't let him just walk away clear a free of all debt he helped you rack up. However, you also helped in the debt so you should take care of your half.

Sorry for your hardship. I know divorce isn't easy.



answers from San Antonio on

You can't get a divorce with the simple $75 divorce if you have children involved and you are foolish if you do not get an attorney. You need the assistance of the attorney to get what you are due so you don't get "screwed" and trust me you will if you try some do it yourself kit. Unfortunately attorneys are not cheap but there are many out there that will work with you and your husband could also get stuck with having to pay your attorney fees. Good Luck to you but sounds to me if your husband isn't paying now he surely will not if he comes in to any money and you are entitled to half that money since you are married. I don't know if he knows this but if that settlement does come and you two are married and I think even if you were married at the time, the settlement check will be payable to both of you.



answers from Austin on

You had better get a lawyer or you are going to be out a lot more money than you can imagine. Others have posted great advice for how to go about it. Just don't let him run this show. He will run you and your son into the ground. That said, I"m sorry you are facing this and wish you the best of luck during this painful process.



answers from Houston on

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I been there before and when the man loses his job, leave the house, they believe that they can just ignore the life they created. They should still be providing at least something. Do whatever you can to get whatever assistance from the Government/State. It's there and available don't sell yourself short. take care of you and your son first.

Who left the home? If the relationship was ending due to reconcilable difference and you both agreed to it, then share the cost of the divorce, if not...allow him to pay for it, he wanted out.

Think about it, no matter what your husband does, he is definitely taking care of him...Didn't you just say that he will be graduating soon. Have you thought about doing the same thing and not relying on this man.

I know it's hard but you have to stand tall, take care of you and make sure he pays your parents back. Was there a signed agreement, if so, this could help in your parents favor, if not, he can claim it was a gift.

I think it's time that you sit down and talk to a good lawyer for your sake, so you will be taken care of if and only if your husband receive a a lump sum of dough. Don't share with him your decision, just do it. In the end, you will understand. Dear, your husband is going to take care of himself first.





answers from Lansing on

Find a divorce attorney that will give you a first time free face-to-face consultation. Use this visit wisely and ask all pertinent questions. You do not have to retain this lawyer for your use, you could possibly interview several lawyers, just make sure the first consultation is free. Ask about retainer fees, payment plans, etc. Ask for everything, and I mean everything from the divorce and then negotiate from there. Even with a judgement of divorce decree your ex may not comply with the divorce settlement that he agreed on and signed the divorce paperwork and you may still be stuck with the whole debt responsibility unless you want to absorb the cost of taking him back to court for non-compliance. From what you have posted, it doesn't sound like he has a lot of integrity, honesty, and financial wisdom going for him. Wishing you luck. My divorce was finalized in 10/2008 and I am still battling with my ex over his non-compliance with the judgement of divorce, he stuck me with all the debt. I did retain a lawyer but lawyers are not trustworthy and cost a fortune. They do not tell you everything, are not helpful at all, and will charge you for everything, even copying expenses.



answers from Houston on

Get a lawyer!!! You need to protect you and your son! The debt that he has incurred could affect you as well. Support has nothing to do with visitation. He should have been paying you money for the care of your son even if he couldn't see him often. If you can establish the time line, you might be able to collect back child support. The state could also go after him for some of the medicaid cost especially if he was working during that time. I think its great that he is going to school; however, did he forget that he has an obligation to his son? That means child support. I also saw he has a daughter, I am assuming that you are not the mother. Is he paying child support on that child now? If you have the title of the motorcycle, SELL IT! If he gets upset about that tough. You need to look out for number one and number two. You son and you!! This guy has to understand to play you have to pay. You can't just walk away from responsibility. Good luck!! I will send up a prayer for you and your son and for strength in getting through this difficult time in your life.


answers from Jacksonville on

You might want to contact your local legal-aid office. I don't know what it would be called there, but there is usually a Pro-bono (for free) legal service that attorneys do service hours through. You should not be responsible for ANY debt that he has incurred AFTER your separation. Nor should he be responsible for any of yours. However, he should be responsible to pay child support and part of the medical expenses for your child from the time you separated. REgardless of whether or not he visited with your son. Visitation (or lack of it) has nothing to do with financial support. They are two totally separate issues.

Do you have any written documentation supporting the debt to your parents? If so, then you/your parents could get a lien filed against any judgment/settlement he might receive.

It sounds like you have tried to maintain an amicable relationship, but his wanting to set up college funds and buy a new place to live BEFORE settling the debt to your parents and credit cards and medical expenses is rather selfish and irresponsible.

Please at least make an appointment with an attorney to find out the "potentials" of what you can do/expect. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations. Just ask when you call. Also, you can request in your petition for divorce that HE be required to pay attorney's fees. You may or may not get that, but it is a possibility.



answers from Beaumont on

I am no attorney, nor expert. If I were in this situation, I would file for child support through local Attorney Generals office. This process is free to anyone. There is one in every town. Also, I use to live in Austin there are lawyers there who will take your case also as a, "probono". As far as expecting your husband to pay any debt borrowed from relatives, don't count on it. Once you file for a divorce, through either your attorney of choice, or ProBono then the legal debt between you two will be divided anyway. As far as discussing "his" pipe dreams of a win fall due to a work related incident, again don't count on that either. Like you said if may take up to 5 years, and it at that point probably won't amount to anything for you. As far as him wanting to split the cost of the divorce, if you sue him for the divorce he will have to pay for it himself, all of it. If he hasn't worked with you on school clothes and other expenses up to this point, he is out for himself. So I would let him know your half of the divorce cost as your part has already been paid. Soley,by You alone supporting yall's son. From experience you can't work with them on being fair and splitting anything and expect the favor to be returned.There is a reason yall are not together after all. Men in this sitation will play on your kindness and take it as a weakness.

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