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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know divorce requirements vary from state to state, but if any of you have done your paperwork pro se (without an attorney), what did you include that was beneficial, or wish you had included? STBX and I are in agreement and are civil enough to do things efficiently, but I want to make sure that there are no loop-holes out there. STBX is NOT DS's bio, by the way, so child support and visitation aren't an issue. I'd appreciate any input. I'm doing the forms myself and we'll split the filing fees between us. We bought a house last year and I'm going to do everything I can to stay in it for the sake of stability for myself and DS.<br><br>
Thanks everyone!
 

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Well, I missed enough things on my own to be glad I ended up hiring an attorney.<br><br>
That said... one thing I didn't think about which my attorney did, was that a retirement fund (if funded with pre-tax dollars) isn't necessarily worth the same as a liquid asset, since it will have taxes associated with it whenever it's withdrawn. So if you have retirement funds you might want to consider that. You can have an actuary value them for you, or if you get a do-it-yourself divorce book (they have some at my library) they walk you through the considerations.<br><br>
Also, I kept hearing on this board to make sure that I'm OK with whatever I agree with, because once the divorce is finalized it's pretty hard to go back and change things. So I have taken that advice to heart too. It's hard to think long-term when you just want things over with, but it's best to try to foresee what your life will be like a few years from now and what you will/won't want from the agreement.<br><br>
HTH. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ShadowMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8175978"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That said... one thing I didn't think about which my attorney did, was that a retirement fund (if funded with pre-tax dollars) isn't necessarily worth the same as a liquid asset, since it will have taxes associated with it whenever it's withdrawn. So if you have retirement funds you might want to consider that. You can have an actuary value them for you, or if you get a do-it-yourself divorce book (they have some at my library) they walk you through the considerations.</div>
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Luckily, the retirement fund is not an issue we'll have to worry about. We both work and have kept our finances somewhat separate other than the mortgage on the house and one joint checking account for household bills. It's anything else that I'm not sure I'll know to put in there.<br><br>
For example, last night, he told me that he wants some sort of document from me, promising that he can have visitation with DS. STBX is not DS's father, but has lived with him since he was 2, so he is the only father figure that DS knows. STBX is far from the affectionate "dad" that DS should have, but I don't know how to handle that part. At first, he asked to put it in the decree. I told him that I didn't think it was even allowed since he's not DS's bio and never wanted to fight to adopt him. So he acquiessed (sp?) and said that if I write it up and have it notarized, that would be ok for him. I'm still not sure how I feel about that... DS's bio dad is about to move out of state so he won't have the regular visitations anymore, but I'm not sure I want to trade one set of visitation for another...
 

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I'm not sure that would even be legally binding, even if you did provide a document. But, personally, I would just refuse. Unless I'm misreading your post, it doesn't seem like this is something you want to do. So in that situation I would probably emphasize to him that it's OK for him to visit DS sometimes (assuming it is OK), but you don't see the point of writing up a document like that, since he's not even DS' biological father, and it probably wouldn't be legally binding anyway.<br><br>
That's just what *I* would do, but hell, I've been wrong about many things before... LOL.<br><br>
What are you going to do about the mortgage, if you don't mind me asking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't mind providing *something* that may give him some reassurance. It's just perplexing since last night I also asked him if he would be home with DS Friday so I could go out with a (female) friend and he made it a point to confirm that I wanted him to "babysit." So we went round and round on the discrepancy between my request for "babysitting" and his request for "visitation." No compromises, just more confusion in the mix. We are going to be as amicable as possible, but sharing DS with yet another "father" is not something that I'm thrilled about.<br><br>
Maybe there's some sort of wording that would work better in this type of situation? After DS's bio moves away, STBX wants 2nd & 4th, Saturdays overnight, no holidays. I don't know how long his interest will keep up, but initially he'll want to do this. But, he may have a hard time setting up "space" for DS. Dunno.. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/confused.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Confused">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">
 

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maybe you should ask an attorney about this. I think I wouln't make any promises or sign anything just yet. Is the biological father completely out of the picture? It would suck to share visitation 3 ways.
 

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um...I would find a lawyer at this point, and I would also stop using him as free babysitting, because it could end up being quite expensive. The warning signs to me are a) you are doing all the work on this divorce yourself, and he's only going along with no real investment in how you're doing it; b) he's getting legalistic already about "babysitting"; c) he wants some sort of recognition on paper as a daddy, whether or not courts would go a long with such a thing. If he's got any money at all, I'd bet he'll be surprising you shortly with an announcement that he's got himself a lawyer.<br><br>
Don't accommodate him, don't try to do him favors. You're breaking up, your lives are separating. Take care of yourself and your son. Just try to do it quickly and cleanly, and hire someone who knows what she's doing.<br><br>
If you want to go out, take ds to a friend's house or hire a babysitter. Don't leave him with stbx.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Luckily he has no money either, but his parents do. He wants to stay friends with me as he's told me that he'd rather have me as a friend than not at all, but you never know. All good points to consider. Thank you all. I may pay for a consult with a lawyer just for security.
 

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I'm in TX too, and I just went to a legal aid clinic last week. They said that I could bring in my forms and they'd review them for me once I get them together. Maybe that's an option for you? I'm going to the law library tomorrow, so I don't really know what I'm in for yet in terms of hiring an attorney/consulting on forms.
 

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I'd see a lawyer. (And I'm not just saying that because I am one, I promise. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) It may be that because he has been a father figure, living in the same home, presumably providing financial and emotional support (to some degree, anyway) for your son that he could take you to court and get visitation. It depends on the law in your state - not just as it's written but as it's been interpreted by the courts in your jurisdiction.<br><br>
I can certainly understand your desire to avoid that. On the other hand, if he's been your son's father in some sense of the word for the past, what, 6 years of so? it may be somewhat unfair to just remove him from your son's life.<br><br>
And I'd also stop the babysitting if you're concerned about having to give him visitation. Your setting up a situation that looks like visitation and may just be forced to stick with the status quo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you. Locally, we also have a "legal line" that's open for calls twice a month by the local bar association and I will try that first. I will start preparing my forms and then I'll have something ready to show an attorney. I've decided to do the forms myself since I don't trust him to do them correctly and efficiently! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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Honestly, I'd see a lawyer. Take your documents into the consultation and it'll be worth it.<br><br>
DH had a "decree" with his ex, it was notarized and he never saw an attorney to double check it. Well, it ended up being non binding - so when she filed to raise her child support (DH was already paying about double what the scale said he should), even though nothing had changed in either of their circumstances, we had no recourse. We had to get a lawyer and go to court and deal with it years after the fact. It was a huge PITA, not because we didn't want to pay for his older kids, it was just that we had to a. hire an attorney and b. go to court.<br><br>
So, IME, it's worth the upfront cost to have it looked at by someone who knows the rules and how to play the game.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>anniej</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8216517"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">(DH was already paying about double what the scale said he should), even though nothing had changed in either of their circumstances</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> given what state scales are, that means he was paying something more like half of what his kids actually cost their mom to raise, unless they were living in a cardboard box and getting their hair cut with a bowl. C/s also leaves out the fact that a cp is doing quite a bit of childrearing work for the ncp, usually at considerable cost to earning power, retirement savings, etc.<br><br>
So it may have seemed outrageous to you, but I'm guessing it wasn't actually an unreasonable request on her part. State c/s is a massive compromise that's based partially on the old idea of single mothers being beggars with a hand out, rather than the idea that the parents share equal responsibility for childrearing and its costs even after divorce.<br><br>
Around here, 2x state guidelines would put me at about $1K/mo for one kid. That would actually pay half of what it costs to raise dd monthly in a middle-class area of a low-cost housing market, saving for college, summer camp, the usual middle-class package. Costs are calculated as being over/above what it'd cost me to live as a single woman. They do not reflect the amount of childrearing work I do on her dad's behalf, or the cost to my career.
 
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