what do I do first? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-17-2011, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need to get the ball rolling on getting things legal with the ex. We have been apart since the begining of Jan and so far things have been so crazy with me suddenly having to move and try and get more hours at work I have been putting off starting the legal stuff. Also I dont know where to start?  is there any assitance I can get as far as help paying for the court cost and lawyer fees? I am very low on money and live pay check to paycheck and am depending heavily on the tax return and my parents to drag myself out of the pit and start fresh. I dont have any major debits and never had a credit card so its just the expense of living and supporting two kids that has me bogged down.

so where to begin....

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#2 of 4 Old 03-18-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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i'm in the same boat (except it's been six months longer - left in july!).  i'm planning to use my tax refund for my court fees.  not using a lawyer, neither is stbx.  i figured out the process by going to my county courthouse website and downloading all the forms.  online resources like that obviously vary widely, but if you go into the courthouse, they should have all the forms with instructions that walk you through the process.

 

in my state, there are two ways to start the legal process:

 

i can fill out the petition, have stbx served, and file the petition along with the affadavit of service ($400 + whatever i have to pay the server).  then he would have 45 days or something to file his "answer" (costs him $400).  if he files that answer and we disagree on a bunch of stuff, we would get ordered to mediation ($1500-$2000).

 

*or*

 

we can fill out a joint petition, where we have already reached our own agreements (not sure if this is $400 or $800).

 

so.  he wants to file jointly, and i'm pretty motivated to do that because it could save a lot of money, compared to me serving him, and him filing an answer, and going to mediation.  however, there is a very real possibility that i could serve him and file, and he would not get around to filing his answer, and not show up to court, and i would get a judgment without his input at all.  obviously that's appealing.  however i think i will try to sit down with him and work out a petition that we can file jointly.  if we can't do that, then i will just have him served and let the chips fall where they may.

 

good luck!

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#3 of 4 Old 03-23-2011, 04:19 AM
 
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I hear ya....  We've been separated since July and I really need to get legal stuff going too.  It's just been so crazy lately with work, full time school and starting a little business selling handmade stuff, all while trying to still be a good mom, it sounds so overwhelming to think about figuring out what I need to do to file for divorce too.  I had been hoping to do it myself, but now I just don't know how I could fit it all in by myself.

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#4 of 4 Old 04-04-2011, 08:18 PM
 
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I'm in the same situation! I've been separated since August. I haven't had the money for filing fees, but I found that in my state, there is a form that can be filed prior to filing the actual petition. This form (Motion to File without Payment of Filing Fees) documents my low income and will allow me to submit my papers without a fee. I don't know if all states have this, or what the income threshold is, but I was very relieved to learn that I qualify. I just tonight downloaded and printed out all the paperwork, and OMG. It's a stack about half an inch thick! So my plan is to fill it out on paper, then go online and fill out the templates to print out for the actual filing.

 

In my case, I will have to file alone and have him served since he is out of state. However, I doubt he will file an answer or try to contest things, because with him being in another state, I am not worried about the technicalities. He says he is going to move here, but even if he does, he has already said he doesn't want overnights or extended stays. That way he won't have to get a two-bedroom apartment (or more) eyesroll.gif. It should go uncontested (at least I hope so) since we don't have community property, assets or anything. Hopefully it will go smoothly and in a few months, I'll have the decree.

 

The only thing I may need to do is set up an appointment with a paralegal, just to have them go over the papers and make sure all my ducks are in a row. Then of course, even if I don't pay filing fees, I will still have to pay a process server, which may be pricey out-of-state. I think my stepdaughter is going to assist with whatever fees I do end up being responsible for, so that should help.


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