Where to start

I have been a stay at home mom for the last 8 years. There are things that just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try. I wanted to leave my husband and file for a divorce, but, I don’t know where to start. I don’t really have any income to support myself. I could work full-time and move out, but my son is currently in a half-day pre-school. I was hired for a full-time job but my “husband” accused me of abandoning my kids. I plan to hang on until my son will go to school full time. As a stay at home mom, where should I start? I would love to talk to an attorney but I can’t afford the consultation fee. I really have no one to talk to, my family is living in other country, so I am alone. Please help!

You are certainly in a tough position. You have a couple of options though. If your husband committed a marital fault, you can file for a divorce from bed and board. This will take about six months to complete though and he still may not even be put out of the house, but the judge can order him to leave. Another option is for you to leave the home with your children. You will need a place to stay though, and you have no access to money, so you would need to stay with friends in the area. Once you’re moved out, your separation period of one year begins. You can then immediately file for post-separation support, child support, equitable distribution and alimony. Another option, and perhaps the best, is to try to work out a separation agreement with your husband now while you’re still living in the home. This is not always possible though. Good luck to you!

My husband has been telling me he will call the police if I take the kids with me. He said there is no way our kids will get out of this house. My question is do I have rights with my own children, if so, what are my rights? How can I file for a separation agreement? Do I need an attorney to start all this process? Thank you for your help!

No, your husband is wrong. If you are still married, then there is no custody agreement or custody order in effect. Each of you has just as much right as the other to custody of the children. If you take the kids to stay with friends and initiate separation (and file for support), he can call the police if he wants to but the police will not be able to do anything since you are not violating the law by taking your own children. You do need to let him know that you have the kids, but you do not have to return them to him. If he felt the children are in danger with you, then his remedy is to file for emergency custody, but he will have to prove to a judge that you are endangering them somehow. The fact that he wants them back will not be enough. I would recommend you consult with a lawyer to help you create a plan of action. You need to take the children with you though if you do leave. He doesn’t sound like he will allow you any access to them if you leave without them, and in a custody battle he can allege that you abandoned them when you left.