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OT Divorce and Child Support

Can anyone tell me where you go to get paperwork to file for divorce and child support? Do you have to get an attorney to do it or can you do it on your own? My now ex has decided he is ready to move on with his life but has failed to pay a dime of child support and has made no move to file for divorce. I just want this nightmare to be over.

Sat. Dec 2, 10:09am

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It depends on the state that you live in. You should start out by googling the name of your state and words like "state court." In some states (perhaps most?) you can get child support without having to file for divorce which, depending on where you live, can be more time consuming and more likely to require a lawyer. Many state courts have "pro se" offices for people who are not lawyers but need to use the court system.

You might also google your state bar association (or city bar association if you live in a big city). Many bar associations have free clinics or lawyers answering basic questions for people seeking assistance with navigating the court system on their own.

Finally (although you might want to start here), try which lists state by state resources in a variety of legal areas.

Saturday, December 02, 2006, 1:39 PM

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Even if you aren't required to have a lawyer, you should probably have one. In my experience, many lawyers wioll give a free half hour or sometimes 1 hour consult that will give you some idea of your legal situation and what choices you have. Ask them about costs.

Saturday, December 02, 2006, 2:20 PM

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Thank you for your help. That link you provided helped me greatly. I found the paperwork I needed. I am going to try to do it without an attorney unless he decides he wants to fight for custody. He has said he won't but who knows. Right now his whole life is all about this other woman and he doens't care about the family he left behind. It is difficult to be strong but I know I have to get this taken care of.

Saturday, December 02, 2006, 5:05 PM

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Has anyone been through this, that can tell me it will get better? Right now I am going through times when I feel SO angry, to SO sad, to just wanting it to be over. My emotions seem a mess right now.

Monday, December 04, 2006, 10:04 AM

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anyone? Is everyone already on vacation?

Thursday, December 07, 2006, 7:40 PM

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You get the paperwork from the court house. Info there is always very helpful. BUT if this is already a nightmare and he is ready to move on but doesn't want to pay I HIGHLY recommend you get a divorce attorney. Don't leave yourself screwed. They may be expensive but you need to cover your ass and protect your daughter. I would never recommend an attorney but you have a child/children and that should be dealt with differently. The attorney will deal with all the child support issues. You can do it yourself but if he is already acting like an asshole he might give you trouble and for your peace of mind you should just let someone else deal with it. You have way to many other things to have to think about. The courts can garnish his wages if he doesn't pay. You can also file the papers yourself and go through mediation that will map out what and how much he will have to pay when he gets to have the kid/kids and so forth. That is cheaper but you will have to do all the paperwork. I believe here in WA it takes about 3-6 months longer to get a divorce with kids because there is the whole custody thing and visitations and such. But either way most divorce attorneys don't charge for a consultation. You can at least get advice. There are also all kinds of free legal help if you can't afford an attorney and are having problems with him. Good luck

Friday, December 08, 2006, 10:36 AM

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Oh one more thing. If you want support for yourself, especially if you have the kids and will be working and paying for child care if they aren't in school yet or if you want half of anything you are entitled to (401 k, stocks that were acquired during marriage, property, etc.) you should definitely get an attorney. With stuff like that it is always better to have an experienced person doing the work. If anyone has ever read legal documents you know what I'm talking about. Most of it sounds completely foreign and its always harder to understand then it needs to be.

Friday, December 08, 2006, 10:41 AM

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I have a number of friends who have been in similar situations to yourself, and who I've supported. Though you may feel scared, angry and alone (this is normal of course) - you are not. Sadly it is not so unusual these days. You are obviously a strong woman to be taking the difficult steps you need to take to move on for the benefit of yourself and your daughter (?). Things will improve. My friends are now some years down the track, and I would say that they are without exception very glad to no longer be with their ex-husbands - they are wonderful strong women and they and their children are leading very full and fulfilling lives.

Friday, December 08, 2006, 5:33 PM

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Thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it. With family in another state it sometimes feels so lonely.

Friday, December 08, 2006, 6:00 PM

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1. you REALLY need to have a divorce. Marriage affords your ex certain protections that he doesn't deserve, including the ability to give you his debts.
2. If you live in a Western state, then you probably live in a community property state, which means you should be able to get at least half of everything. And if he abandoned you (left the house) you might get even more.
3. Even if you don't live in a community property state, many states allow for alimony for adultry. If he cheated on you, you can ask for spousal support along w/ child support.
4. some states have a very easy system to calculate child support. I hope your state is one of them (it's just so much easier).
5. PLEASE get an atty. it will protect both you and your child. And make sure you like your attorney and s/he's not a hack. Finding an atty is just like finding a doctor, if you don't like him/her, then find another one! In most cases you get a free consultation, so both of you can decide if you fit.

Good luck! I'm a child of divorce, and I think that in many cases it ends up being better on the child in the long run. Yeah, it sucked that my mom and dad didn't like eachother a lot of the times, but it made my life easier that they didn't live together--UGH that would have sucked. And they ended up being happier (in their own, unhappy ways). But I won't lie--it's probably also the reason that I'm very crazy when it comes marriage, and it will be a long while until I actually do marry, and I will be very cautious.

Friday, December 08, 2006, 8:36 PM

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