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Divorce


Chris-L

Well-Known Member
I think my marriage is over. Never gone through this before. Trying to raise 4 kids on a single income I have absolutely no money for a lawyer. Been married 5 years and live in Utah. Is this something we can do on our own? I think we can figure out money and custody on our own, and would like to leave that out of this. Does anyone have any advice? Do we just need to sign a paper and pay a fee?
 


Dr. Jones

In pursuit of #9
Contributor
Divorce sucks.. especially with kids .. and even more so with your specific situation. Having said that, it's far from the end of the world and things will work out, for sure.

As for your specific questions in your OP.. it's not that it can't be done without a lawyer, but it's not usual that two people can agree over something so emotional as custodial rights of their children. This is by far the most important thing to consider. Not only is there the obvious need to work out who has the kids when, but there are potential long term financial ramifications that you may not consider, or even care about, at the moment.
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You need to worry about it.
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My advice is to get as much as you can with regard to custody. You can always play nice and allow your wife to see them more than the court orders. You can always give more money than a court orders.. but you can never give less and you want to avoid being financially devastated and frustrated for nearly two decades.
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I would first gauge how aggressive she will be with wanting custody. If she's reasonable, you may be able to make it a go without an attorney.. but I doubt it. If she's being unreasonable, you have to find a way to get one. Also, be cordial, be nice, but don't be shy about telling her you will only engage a lawyer if it's absolutely necessary... do not tell her you can't afford one.
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Feel free to call me if you want to talk.
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Hopefully no one reads this and misconstrues my comments as wanting to deny rights to a mother or children. I am always very careful with advice like this and, having known both the husband and wife here, I have tailored things accordingly... and left out much of the reasons why.
 

Stoked

Well-Known Member
Contributor
2018 Award Winner
I'm sorry to hear that man. That really sucks.

My advice centers not on the divorce but on relations after the divorce. You and her need to sit down and get on the same page on certain things. Such as never placing the kids in the middle and being on the same page for discipline and what not. It is extremely important that the kids not be used as weapons or threats. That they see that their parents, while not in love, have respect for one another and can be friendly. I cannot stress that enough. I give this advice from having lived this. Both as a child used as a means to get back at one of the parents and as a parent trying to prevent that. My dad used me as a weapon and I have not seen him since I was 16. It destroyed, beyond any repair, the relationship he had with me and my brother. That talk wont be fun but it is necessary.

I'd imagine that if you and her can come to an agreement on custody and what not that the court will sign off as long as it is fair.
 

Stoked

Well-Known Member
Contributor
2018 Award Winner
Divorce sucks.. especially with kids .. and even more so with your specific situation. Having said that, it's far from the end of the world and things will work out, for sure.

As for your specific questions in your OP.. it's not that it can't be done without a lawyer, but it's not usual that two people can agree over something so emotional as custodial rights of their children. This is by far the most important thing to consider. Not only is there the obvious need to work out who has the kids when, but there are potential long term financial ramifications that you may not consider, or even care about, at the moment.
.
You need to worry about it.
.
My advice is to get as much as you can with regard to custody. You can always play nice and allow your wife to see them more than the court orders. You can always give more money than a court orders.. but you can never give less and you want to avoid being financially devastated and frustrated for nearly two decades.
.
I would first gauge how aggressive she will be with wanting custody. If she's reasonable, you may be able to make it a go without an attorney.. but I doubt it. If she's being unreasonable, you have to find a way to get one. Also, be cordial, be nice, but don't be shy about telling her you will only engage a lawyer if it's absolutely necessary... do not tell her you can't afford one.
.
Feel free to call me if you want to talk.
.
.
.


Hopefully no one reads this and misconstrues my comments as wanting to deny rights to a mother or children. I am always very careful with advice like this and, having known both the husband and wife here, I have tailored things accordingly... and left out much of the reasons why.


Good solid advice right there. My ex and I worked out a joint custody with her house as primary residence. That means I am entitled to have them at least 112 days a year. I get them more than that but it is a built in protection for you, her and the kids. Even if you two reach a verbal agreement get something in writing. An absolute, unnegotiable, must.
 

Chris-L

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the responses. My wife is the most unreasonable person in the world on 90% of things. But when it comes to the kids, she knows whats best. We have allready decided no alimoney is necessary. Neither of us believe in child support either. for now all the kids stay with me. I dont know what will happen in 2 years when she finishes school though. I dont even think I have a leg to stand on because 2 of our children aren't biologically mine. I just want the marriage over, and to figure the rest out as parents and friends as life goes on and changes. Is this possible? or does the court reguire agreements on custody and finances to finalize the divorce?
 

Dr. Jones

In pursuit of #9
Contributor
I would try my best to get primary custody. Not to be controlling, but in an attempt to not be manipulated. As Stoked said, post divorce relationship is important to the kids. Saying something like, "this is going to be hard, we'll feel a lot of emotions, we've shared a lot of our lives together, we will have moments we're hurt, moments we're pissed, every conceivable emotion, but I have something that is very important to me.. I want to handle this with care and leave the door open, rather than close it, so our kids can always have their mom and dad be friendly, speak well of each other, and both be able to attend their graduations, weddings, etc.. anything else and all of this is a failure. But if we can do that, I will consider this all a success... one day."
 

Dr. Jones

In pursuit of #9
Contributor
Thanks for the responses. My wife is the most unreasonable person in the world on 90% of things. But when it comes to the kids, she knows whats best. We have allready decided no alimoney is necessary. Neither of us believe in child support either. for now all the kids stay with me. I dont know what will happen in 2 years when she finishes school though. I dont even think I have a leg to stand on because 2 of our children aren't biologically mine. I just want the marriage over, and to figure the rest out as parents and friends as life goes on and changes. Is this possible? or does the court reguire agreements on custody and finances to finalize the divorce?

Here's the ugly truth. She can agree with all this now.. but what happens if 3 or 6 months from now she decides she wants all four kids and child support. Now she has your kids and your money.. and you'll suffer for many years. I recommend letting her have anything (materially speaking) she wants and get those things in writing as well as being the primary residence. More later...
 

Hartsock

Banned
I think my marriage is over. Never gone through this before. Trying to raise 4 kids on a single income I have absolutely no money for a lawyer. Been married 5 years and live in Utah. Is this something we can do on our own? I think we can figure out money and custody on our own, and would like to leave that out of this. Does anyone have any advice? Do we just need to sign a paper and pay a fee?

My wife and her ex did it on their own, they were young 19 year olds though, and it has cost them both a lot of money since trying to fix everything they ****ed up. Do it right the first time.
 

Gameface

PICKS = FLEXIBILITY
Contributor
2018 Award Winner
2020-21 Award Winner
What she's agreeing to now may not be what she agrees to after all her friends, family and acquaintances have the same talk with her that we're having with you. Protect yourself. Look out for your interests. Insist on a fair deal in writing.
 

bigb

Free at last!!!
Contributor
Don't that this wrong way, but to he'll with the bitch. Get everything you can now. Protect yourself and the kids now. Make it legally binding. Like has been said already, things change in months or years. PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR INTERESTS.
 

NUMBERICA

Guest
What she's agreeing to now may not be what she agrees to after all her friends, family and acquaintances have the same talk with her that we're having with you. Protect yourself. Look out for your interests. Insist on a fair deal in writing.

I hate to agree with this. And I've seen marriages destroy more lives than they've helped so I'm terrified of it. Take whatever I might say with a grain of salt. Best of luck.
 

Stifle Tower

Punch Bowl Re-Filler
Sorry to hear about the divorce, Chris-L. I went through one some 20 years ago. It was HELL and there were NO kids involved. Now I'm remarried and have a wonderful child. If you and your wife are agreeing on most things, then by all means, there are cheaper alternaties than traditional divorce attorneys. In my experience, some attorneys actually try to create more conflict so they can increase their work and fees. I know sirkicky will rail on me for saying that, but it happens. And I'm not saying it's necessarily dishonest or even intentional all the time by divorce attorneys. Attorneys simply believe the best way to litigate is by asking for the moon so you can eventually compromise back to the mid-level. And that level might be what you and your spouse had originally intended all along, before the opposing attorneys stepped in and had a number of meetings and documents flying back and forth while running up your tab.
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I'm not sure where you live, but google "non-profit or low-cost divorce or mediation." If you have one, an ecclesiastical leader may be able to point you in the right direction or refer you to someone who might be able to help. If you've had marital counseling, your therapist probably has contacts for divorce or mediation centers. But you ABSOLUTELY MUST have the assistance of legal professionals. As bigb and Gameface both cautioned, you and your spouse need to have everything in writing, from division of assets and debts to custody and support agreements. You can't avoid all fees, but you can significantly reduce the costs by going the non-profit route vs. an attorney who wants to overly negotiate and litigate and charge you hundreds of dollars per hour.
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Most importantly during this process, swallow your pride and anger. You might be right on a number of issues, but sometimes proving "right" is more costly than it's worth. I assumed some debts and gave up more mutual assets than what I really wanted to or felt was just, simply because the price of winning (which I was sure I could have) would have cost more than it was worth - not to mention the terrible fighting and feelings it would have caused (beyond what had already occurred).
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Also remember the most important element in all of this is your kids. Whether expressed or not, studies have shown that children often blame themselves for their parents' divorce. Don't hesitate to tell them you love them. Emphasize, but without denigrating your spouse, that it is the relationship between you and she that cannot be fixed, not anything that has happened on their part. It will be tough, but as you and they move forward, try to talk about your marriage problems and the cause of the divorce in general terms, rather than providing a detailed list of all your ex-wife's faults and/or "sins." Your children need to be loved by both of you; they don't need to be put on a battlefield every time they're with one parent or the other, being asked to pick a side or try to figure out who was right or wrong.
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Lastly, expect some behavioral changes from your children. It will vary from age to age. The older children may understand about relationships breaking up, and although they may not like or agree with your divorce, they'll be able to accept it. Younger children may be too young to fully grasp what is happening and they may adjust rather quickly. The real challenges may be with the pre-teen and early-teens (if you have those). They're trying to figure out who they are just as a major change is now broadsiding them. If you have the means (and again, maybe there are non-profit sources available), I recommend counseling. Not because your children are messed up. I just think in many cases it's helpful for them to have a completely unbiased outlet where they can express their true feelings - whether that be grief, anger. loneliness, fear, etc. - without the fear of being judged or hurting someone else's feelings.
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I know PKM has already volunteered his "ear" if you need someone to talk to. I'll do the same as someone who has walked a similar path. Keep your head up, Chris. I'm sure you're a wonderful parent and probably a decent person. Divorce brings self-doubt. Don't be afraid to grieve; that's normal. But avoid getting too down on yourself.

 


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