Proceeding by Myself

Well you can’t serve someone with separation papers. You can give them to him. He doesn’t have to sign them. He probably won’t if they are not in his favor.

Most (not all) attorneys require retainers. All will require a initial consultation fee. It is their livelihood after all.

Leaving the house does not “look good”.

“3. Do not move out of the marital home without talking to an attorney first.” (

The only way to get custody of your daughter is to sue him for custody. That takes money (i.e. a lawyer). Yes you could do it by yourself. Typically those don’t turn out well. I assume there was no abuse either of you our your daughter.

Without custody you will have to pay child support. It matters not if you can’t afford it. It is calculated on your gross pay. Expenses do not figure in unless they are other child support expenses.

I am not worried about serving him with divorce papers right now. I am worried about getting custody of my daughter. Right now Im even more in panic mode becuase he just called to tell me his lawyer is helping him get an emergency custody order on the grounds that Im a flight risk since I filed first. That means I cant see her like I have been doing, and i might have to wait until all legal documents are done to do so.

Well I don’t know about “emergency custody orders”. You don’t have her so you can’t flee with her. I guess he means when you see her. Right?

When you (or he) sue for custody you must go through custody mediation This is a lengthy process that takes months. If you don’t agree then you go to court and the court decides who gets custody.

When you say you filed first. Filed what? for custody? You can’t file for divorce till you have been separated for 1 year. You can’t file for ED till you are separated for I think 90 days. I may be wrong on that. Filing first dose not make you a flight risk I would assume. Are you from another country? If yes then, he might make that claim.

Don’t forget. The courts put everything is its own silo. Custody is separate from child support. Divorce is separate from equitable distribution. We all know in actuality they aren’t Custody has a direct correlation on child support.

Don’t panic.

I am sorry you are going through this but, you need an attorney.

The courts are available to everyone and you can represent yourself, however just because you can does not mean that you should. At a minimum you should have a consultation with an attorney to find out your legal options. I do not know of any off hand that take payment plans, but it is probably worth it for you to call and around and see if you can find anyone.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

I have recently served my husband with seperation papers. I do not have a lawyer, I can not afford one, or I dont think I can. He has a lawyer and I am affraid I will loose with out one. Is there a way to find a list of lawyers that might take payments? How bad is it to go in there not represented?

Also, I left the house at the time of the breakup. It has been four months since I have been there. I agreed with my husband that it be best to let our five year old daughter stay with him becuase she was just starting kindergarten. But I do want her to come and live with me after this school year. How unfavorable is this going to look for me?