Divorce Without a Lawyer (or an Ex!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-18-2007, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, I know giving legal advice online is a sticky area, but maybe someone just happens to know from experience or can point me toward a good resource...

Here's the situation. I haven't seen my "ex" in a year and a half or so, and haven't heard from him in about 8 months. we were exchanging occasional emails until then. the last message he sent said he was going back to his home country. He's not a US citizen, only had the provisional green card they give you until you've had the provisional 2 years and can show your marriage was in good faith. Since he left the country, he now can't come back for 10 years. Assuming he actually left and didn't just say that.

And here's my question. Is it possible for divorce this guy without even knowing where he is? Can I do it without a lawyer? Having to hire a lawyer is what's been holding me back filing until now, it's too expensive and too much trouble considering it wouldn't make any practical difference in my daily life.

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#2 of 6 Old 03-18-2007, 05:02 PM
 
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I'd try to call a lawyer who can do a free consult or a legal aid dept of a local college.

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#3 of 6 Old 03-18-2007, 07:46 PM
 
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I did this. My ex was a truck driver, and moved around all the time. He dropped out of contact with us for a couple of years, and I persued a divorce finally about 4 years after he left. I used a paralegal (one of those places that advertise a $99 will, $99 bankruptcy filing, etc) and it cost me about $150 plus some newspaper ad fees and filing fees... at most $200. I don't know how they do it state by state, but it was very very easy...easier even than divorcing him if he was around. I just had to make a "true effort" to find him, I did an internet search and when that did not work I had to post something in the local newspaper (he wasnt living there, I knew that much, but that was all they required) and he had x amt of time to respond. When he did not, I was able to divorce him, get full custody, and get on with my life. Submitting all the paperwork was a little bit daunting, but between the divorce department at the courthouse, the courthouse's online walkthrough, and the paralegal I managed to wade through it without much trouble. (think I had to resubmit a couple of things that I did wrong, but the courthouse had no problem letting me know where I screwed up, lol)

There was no arguing in court, no debates, no need for a lawyer in my case. I walked into the courthouse about 6 months after I filed (had to give him ample time to respond for every step in the case) and the judge granted me everything I asked for with a stipulation that he was welcome to take me to court if he ever wanted to contest it (which was basically everything that I already had... our home, everything on the premesis, full custody, no alimony, etc).

In my case, the amusing thing is that he sent a legal courier to my parents house about 3 yrs later (after I was happily remarried) attempting to bring me to court to divorce me. I guess he had found a new sucker to marry him.
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#4 of 6 Old 03-18-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kokonutmama View Post
Is it possible for divorce this guy without even knowing where he is? Can I do it without a lawyer?
yes and yes

contact your county courthouse; they will likely have a family law facilitator who helps people who are doing their own divorces

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#5 of 6 Old 03-19-2007, 05:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kokonutmama View Post
Since he left the country, he now can't come back for 10 years. Assuming he actually left and didn't just say that.

There's other stuff i wanted to say, but i don't have time, so i'll just address this one thing. I am currently in a similar type situation, immigration wise, and wanted to correct this. First, is his temp green card still valid?

Even if the greencard is not valid, he is not barred from the country for 10 years just for leaving. He could easily re-enter, though he would need to carry proof that he does not intent to stay in the US (so he would have to show that he has a job in his home country, a mortagage, whatever). Unless he has attempted re-entry with an expired card or some other type of silliness, he has not been deported, and therefore does not have a 10 year ban on him.

I just wanted you to know this in case you do have paperwork sent to his last known address, and it turns out that he comes down to fight you for it, and you have no lawyer to help you.

Just be careful! Okay? I'll be back when i can, for now, work calls!
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#6 of 6 Old 03-20-2007, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ButterflyStarburst I think you're right. I was remembering how it was BEFORE he had the temporary green card and was actually technically illegal. Thanks for that.

Thanks everyone for your input. I'll check out the courthouse for resources. It's amazing sometimes the things that are available that I don't even know about.

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