Can I get full custody if I am a stay at home mom? 19 Answers as of June 02, 2011

My husband has been talking divorce this last month, said he even talked to a lawyer but hasn't filed. Not sure I believe him or not really. I don't know if he serious about it or not, but we have a 5 year old child involved. I don't think there any way to save the marriage to tell you the truth. He’s been having fun so to speak, with a girl online. Anyway. He says he wants full custody, tells me what I will and will not want, in a divorce and continues to tell how I would not be able to take care of him on my own. That I shouldn't have full custody. There is no really good reason for him to say this, we both have our major flaws, but I don't think either of us would be bad off in taking care of our son. Only for me, I have been a stay a home mom, no job, no money. My name has never been put on the checking account, or any property that is owned. I have no car though I know I have a place to live. My question is where would I need to go to get the help in this case? Should! I move out and find a lawyer, or wait till I get some legal help before hand? I been told I should file first, as it would give me temporary custody of our child? But would I need to move out first before I could do this? Would I have to move out first before I could get any legal aid help in this case? I am not sure if he will kick me out or not, if he will come home and hand me papers then call my mum to take me away. I feel he will try to keep me from my son, but I think that’s his fear too. And I have intentions to keep him from his son at all. I would like to compromise but he does not seeming willing too at all. What should I do to go about this?

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Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Hunker down. If he files, in this area, there is a "status quo" order that requires the parties to keep things as they are. He will be obligated to continue supporting you until the divorce is final. I always recommend that my clients exhaust all remedies before divorcing, including counseling. If it all fails, then you will know that you gave your best effort for the benefit of the child. In the mean time, start saving for attorney fees, preserve your evidence, and build your case as best you can. I hope you can find a way to work it out for your child's sake. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/2/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You should schedule a face-to-face consultation with an experienced Family Law Attorney, without delay, to evaluate your options and your risks.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Contact a lawyer to at least schedule an initial consultation (most family law attorneys provide that consultation for free or a minimum cost) that will give you some general information about the divorce process and likely results based on the facts of your case. Until a divorce petition is filed, either parent is equally free to take the child and leave. Once the petition is filed, the court can conduct a temporary orders hearing to decide where the child should reside while the case is pending. Residency and parenting time will be decided based on the child's best interest only - not who has more money. You will probably be expected to obtain employment within a reasonable time, but you can reasonably expect to receive both spousal support and child support while the case is pending. The fact that your name is not on any accounts or property does not change the fact that all property is presumed to be marital and subject to fair division unless he can show it was owned before the marriage or acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance. Generally, there is no legal difference based on who files first for the divorce or who moves out; practically, however, the one who leaves with the child has the advantage of control until the court can actually decide what to do.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/1/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
I have seen similar situations play out in one of two ways. In scenario one, the party sits back and waits until it is too late, the bank accounts are depleted, money moved, he has positioned himself, paid his lawyer in full, and is ready. In scenario two, you do not wait, get advise, line of your evidence, get ready. Even if you do not hire or pay your lawyer right now, have one ready to go, find a lawyer, interview him or her, get facts, get mentally prepared. I cannot tell you what will happen at the custody fight, no lawyer can with as few details as you have provided here. That said, I would guess he has been abusive and controlling in the past. Your dissertation of what he is telling you now indicates to me that he is accustomed to being in control and thinks he is in control now. You can let him have that control, or get control of your own life. The choice is yours. If you were my daughter, I would drag you to the lawyer and help you get control. As for talking to legal aid, you do not have to move out before talking to them, go, make an appointment now. Worst case, they say no, you at least get some information.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/1/2011
The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
You really need to sit down with a divorce attorney and get some advice. This is complicated and important stuff. The fact that he is keeping you out of the family finances is just a real problem. The good news is that I can absolutely without doubt force him to give you the records and answer all your questions about the family finances, no matter how much he thinks he can hide the money. He is threatening to 'kick you out'? Not on his best day. Call me, I can help you. And...I enjoy doing this kind of work. I will enjoy assisting you and your son. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 6/1/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You would be wise to consult legal counsel before taking any steps that could significantly affect your rights in a divorce. That would include moving out of the family home or making any agreements regarding custody or parenting time. You cannot be "kicked out" of the family home without a court order. Until that occurs, regardless of how the home is titled, you have a right to occupy the residence.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would recommend that you consult with a divorce lawyer in your community as soon as possible about your rights and options. You should also talk with family and friends about helping you to retain a good divorce attorney. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Talk to some family law attorneys. Many do so for free, for an initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    As with most divorces with children the issues are complex. You need a lawyer because first and foremost your husband is not objective; he is not your lawyer and he certainly no longer has your best interest at heart. Lastly, he doesn't know the law. Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    In Ohio and Michigan you have many rights that may enable you to have counsel at your husband's expense. But you need to see counsel today. Most have one free consultation. Make sure you find an attorney with family law experience and who has successfully represented women in your position of being a stay at home mom.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You will have to start the process and let the court decide what is going to happen if you two cannot agree. Neither of you can kick out the other during the pendency of the divorce without a court order and neither of you have superior custody rights without a court order.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    Your scenario has too many questions that can be answered in an email and without additional information. I would recommend borrowing money from friends or family to consult with a local divorce lawyer in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    I would suggest that you file while living in the house. It gives you a certain amount of security. Whether you need an attorney depends on a number of factors. You would be best at least consulting with one.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    You have posed many questions. A parenting plan for your child will be established in the child's best interest. There is no real advantage to who files first. You may be entitled to attorneys fees based on your circumstances. I would be happy to help.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    I can help you with your case. There are too many questions to answer in this forum. Please contact me for a free consultation if you are in my area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC | Bridgette D. Kaczmarek
    It doesn't matter who files first, you or your ex. It has no bearing on child custody, property rights, etc... The court's do have a self-help desk in their clerk's office that can assist you with preparation of pleadings if you decide to file first or if he files first and you have to answer the petition. You are entitled to remain in your home until conclusion of the case. The person responsible for the mortgage depends on the parties' income. Since you are a stay-at-home mother, the court may award you temporary spousal maintenance and you may even be entitled to remain in the home and have your ex responsible for the mortgage. As for child custody, since you have been the child's primary caregiver since he was born, you have a slight edge. However, the courts promote equal parenting time for both parents. While you may be the primary caregiver from temporary to final orders, unless something exists that shows your ex is not suitable to have parenting time, or if he chooses to have less parenting time, you will likely end up with 50/50 parenting time when the dust settles. I would advise you to take advantage of the court self-help center before you start looking to hire an attorney. They are very helpful there. In addition, a lot of attorneys offer free consultations and can provide additional information to help you get started.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    My suggestion is do nothing before you talk to counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/31/2011
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