Divorce attorney Janet McCullar addresses your concerns.
Virtually every woman who comes to see me about a divorce has fears about her situation. Many have spent months or even years contemplating divorce. The fear is palpable when I walk into the room. Tears are often shed, but sometimes those are tears of relief because I have provided some information to allay the fear. These are the most common fears expressed to me by women:
1. I’m going to lose custody of my children.
A husband may threaten to take the children, and most of the women I talk to have heard some horror story in which a good mom lost her children to an uninvolved dad. This is extremely unlikely. While I see more and more dads becoming involved and more parents choosing to divide their time between the children equally, change is slow to come in the area of divorce, and for the vast majority of couples, Mom will remain a primary caregiver and have the majority of time with the children. Although I have represented fathers who do have custody of their children, in every one of those cases, the mom was so impaired that she was unable to have the primary care of her children. If you are struggling or have struggled with addiction or a mental-health disorder, you are also not likely to lose custody if you have taken steps to deal with those issues. I have represented women who are recovered alcoholics or addicts who are fearful that their past actions will cause them to lose their children, and it is simply not the case.
2. I can’t afford to get divorced.
Attorneys fees are paid out of the resources of the marital estate, that is, the money you and your spouse have available. No one has set up an account to pay for a divorce, yet every day, the costs related to a divorce are paid. Most attorneys accept credit cards and the divorce is paid for over time instead of one fee up front. Divorce attorneys know most people need some help figuring out how to pay for their divorce, and for many, it is a question of access to money to pay for it. Many women who come see me have no idea how much money they have or how they are going to pay for a divorce. There is no need to feel any shame about this issue. Many homes are still set up in a traditional way: a stay-at-home mom and a working dad. If your husband says he won’t give you access to financial records, don’t worry about it. Divorce lawyers know how to get the information they need to determine what you have, what it is worth and how to divide the assets and debts.
3. I can’t support myself while a divorce is pending.
It is your attorney’s job to see to it that you and your children are supported during a divorce. Most often, this is worked out by agreement between the lawyers. If an agreement can’t be reached, you may have to go to court, but courts are interested in making sure there is the least amount of disruption to a family. Even when I was going through a divorce, I wondered how we could afford two separate homes but, of course, we managed. No matter how much money you have, dividing it up creates fears. There may have to be some changes, but while the divorce is pending, support will be paid.
If you have these fears, schedule a consultation with a custody or divorce lawyer like me and get an opinion about the risks to you based on your specific situation. Most divorce lawyers charge for a consultation by the hour, but it is worth it to meet with an attorney, pay the consultation fee and walk out of the meeting with one less fear. Just because you have a consultation doesn’t mean you are going to get a divorce. Many people meet with me just to get some information about their rights and options, so don’t let your fears keep you from getting the information you need!
The Law Office of Janet McCullar, P.C | 200 Steck Ave., Suite 300, Austin | 512.342.9933 |http://mccullarlaw.com