Family Law: What should every woman know before separation, divorce, or saving her marriage?

First of all. Assume the worst. NO ONE will really help you but yourself. And possibly your closest family or friends, if you haven't been cut off from them. If you have been, reconnect now. All those abuse hotlines will listen to you, then tell you "good luck," then hang up on you. You have to keep yourself safe. YOU have to make a well-thought out long-range plan. Do not leave until you have lots of money - taken from the joint account or saved. Live like you are roommates. Go to school and get that certificate, or get a job before you leave. Stash $ with trusted friends so that you can claim it back later. I did this with 3 people. I had to get out to save myself from emotional and verbal abuse that was escalating, but I didn't have a job at the time. I didn't want my daughter, who was 5 at the time to grow up thinking men should treat women this way. He ignored us when he wasn't bullying or berating us.

I had to go into mediation. I had just started a job, and I was severely depressed that day and my lawyer wanted $5,000 more to continue if I didn't settle that day. I didn't have any more money. This is a common tactic lawyers use. I thought she had my back as a stay at home mom. She didn't. She acted like she was on the other side. One important thing- as far as the abuse goes: the question lawyers always asked me was, "Were there any police reports?" Well, no, you don't call the police when someone puts you down or calls you names or yells at you. So that was his word against mine. Get police out there EVERY time he threatens you or hits you or anyone near you anywhere. You will probably need a trusted neighbor or two. Don't ever back down from reporting it. Your future depends on it. If the police get sick of you calling, tell them they need to do their job. Keep a journal of events. Take photos of the bruises and damage to the home, etc. Keep the proof elsewhere. Never let anyone know of medication use, they'll use it against you. Never admit you are suicidal. You could lose children. He will act like you are the "crazy" one in court, even though he is the one with the problems. Don't let him win.

My Ex ended up getting primary custody of my daughter and I get to pay him child support because he looked more "Stable!" I live in Texas. 30% of your income doesn't sound like much to most people to pay for child support. But it means everything when you live in poverty. I have had a series of low-income jobs with lots of nothing in between, mainly due to the bad economy. I've been homeless and had to declare bankruptcy (which does not remove child support or taxes owed) and my Ex has taken me to court for non-payment of back child support. He seemed indifferent in the marriage. Now he is out to destroy me. He does not need my money to raise my daughter. She has everything she wants. She is spoiled. He and his mother are masters at parental alienation. She used to be better to me than my own mother. Now she will not even speak to me. They are beyond rude; they are evil. You cannot believe how people will change. He is bullying me through the court system and he has plenty of money to do so. At first I couldn't even find a free lawyer. I went to free legal. I thought I had a lawyer there, but due to a misunderstanding, they wouldn't represent me. I have been to free legal because I qualify due to low income 5 times now and I've only gotten partial help once (them telling me how to handle it which didn't work). They say they are unable to help because of their caseload. Divorce usually destroys the woman financially, but takes the stress of daily living off of her.

I finally found a pro bono lawyer. He helped me get 1 year free of child support payments so I can get back on my feet. I have to pay at least $50 a month towards the back child support through the state. At that small amount (at 6% interest that goes to the state of Texas) I'll never pay it off because I'm 52. The deal is that I only get to see my daughter 2 hours per week. No overnights. I usually cannot go see her because he bought a house and moved 40 miles away, which is still in the boundaries of the divorce agreement (that we both have to live within the 3 surrounding counties). He didn't disclose he was moving when I agreed to this deal. He has the right to approve of anyone I want to live with. And who is going to deal with that to live with me? He is still trying to control my life, because now the year is over and I have to renegotiate with him and I'm unemployed. I'm afraid he'll want me to pay full child support each month. He's still trying to control me. And I have been divorced now for 9 years. He has been out to destroy me since I told him I was leaving him. My daughter is 15. I have very little I can talk about with my daughter. I don't really have much of a relationship with her anymore. I have the possibility to start a new job at about $30,000/yr. but most employers want to offer me about $25,000 or even less- just part-time. I can't "get a job." Someone has to hire me. I'm trying as hard as I can. . .

By the way, my Ex makes $105,000/year plus bonuses and has since our daughter's birth, and has been employed by the same place this whole time. And he yells at co-workers and is an ass to others, not just to me. All I can figure is that he is the guy that fires people for them!

I met him at church and I knew him a long time before we got married, but he changed completely afterwards, including not being a Christian anymore. I know the same thing probably happened to you (change of personality). I hope this helps. Love and hugs.
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