General Question

Kardamom's avatar

How to prepare for a divorce without having financial resources?

Asked by Kardamom (30270points) July 11th, 2018 from iPhone

I am asking this question, after reading another Q, and I figured that there are probably lots of people, mostly women I’m guessing, that need or want to exit a bad marriage, but have little or no access to financial resources, and who may also not have many (or any) family or friends to rely upon for help.

I am not married, nor am I knowelegable about marriage law, so I was hoping that some of you have experience with this subject, or can point us in the right direction to find some answers, and hopefully some assistance, for those who might need it.

I’m asking this in General because I am truly looking for answers that can possibly help someone, rather than suggestions on “what should have been done” to avoid this unfortunate situation. Maybe someone would like to ask another Q in Social about avoiding marital pitfalls.

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14 Answers

LadyMarissa's avatar

My first husband beat me just for the fun of it. I felt trapped due to NO financial resources. It finally got so bad that I was desperate!!! I made appointments with over a dozen lawyers to beg for HELP. I didn’t go to those that I knew only acccepted the rich & famous.I finally found one lawyer who understood my problem. He gave me a low ball rate with an agreement that I would pay half before he filed the paperwork & the balance on completion. I also had to keep the property settlement to a minimum. That part wasn’t hard because I just wanted out with my life intact!!! This was back in the mid 70’s & things may be different now. I would suggest she leave with only her clothes & then work at starting over on the other side. I do know that many lawyers now days will give a free initial visit to determine the need & quote a price. Those visits seldom last over an hour & you’re NOT required to accept their services. So, she might want to start by contacting some local lawyers & accept that there will be NO division of property for the low ball rate. Her life will be soooo much better on the other side that she won’t be sorry she left!!! The worst day I had after the divorce was twice as good as the best day I had before the divorce!!!

seawulf575's avatar

My ex-wife was a psycho. She presented a danger to herself and to the children. But if I tried talking to her about anything her immediate response was to threaten to leave and take the children with her. I ended up talking to an attorney and found out that I could stop her from grabbing the kids and running by instituting a restraining order along with a divorce petition. The trick was getting the whole divorce started without her knowing anything about it. I managed with much patience. I was deep in debt (thanks to my ex) and couldn’t afford much of anything. I found an attorney that was good but reasonable and was willing to work with me on payments. If I had been a woman I could have claimed I felt threatened by my husband and could have gotten him ejected from the house. As a man, no such luck. I had too options: leave and leave the children with her or stay. So we ended up living together throughout the divorce process. I don’t recommend that. But finding a good attorney is a must. Most recognize the lack of funds and will work with you.

Kardamom's avatar

Thanks you guys. Do you have any advice on where and how to look for a good attorney? I’m guessing that some of the people in this situation would have no idea even where to begin.

rebbel's avatar

“I figured that there are probably lots of people, mostly women I’m guessing, that need or want to exit a bad marriage, but have little or no access to financial resources, and who may also not have many (or any) family or friends to rely upon for help.”
You guess it is mostly women that need or want to exit a bad marriage, or you guess it is mostly women that have little or no access to financial resources?

snowberry's avatar

@rebbel That’s certainly the case with the people I know. Far more women are physically abused than men. I’m not denying that men can’t be physically abused by their wives, but the statistics say that women get more abuse. I shouldn’t have to post a link.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You can find lawyers through divorce help organizations,

canidmajor's avatar

Look up Battered Women’s Shelters online, find a group close to you, and ask them for advice and recommendations. Even if a woman is not battered, these organizations often know what and where the resources are that can help a destitute person.

Planned Parenthood clinics will also will often have resource recommendations.

Hospital social workers can probably help as well.

LadyMarissa's avatar

You can find anything online. This site, you give them your name, email address, & brief description of your problem & they contact you. Back when I did it, I used the Yellow Pages. A local battered women’s shelter should also know the name of local lawyers willing to assist with your friend’s problem!!! Or she might check on lawyers who mainly work on Family Law (includes divorces). The one thing I discovered was that it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined & I should have tried sooner!!!

@snowberry You might be shocked at how many men are physically abused by their wife. My husband’s first wife could have been my husband’s evil twin!!! I know that our local battered women’s shelter won’t take in any males; so, we are now working on a battered men’s shelter for those who have NO place to go for help!!! You don’t hear about the men as often because most men are too embarrassed to admit that their wife beats them!!! My husband always said that he knew better than to hit her back because HE would be the one going to jail.

seawulf575's avatar

I took a chance. I found a woman attorney who seemed to have her head on straight. And she did a great job for me. Later on, the ex tried more wrangling and my atty had moved on to public prosecutor so I had to find another one. Found one that did a great job…as long as I told her what to do. She couldn’t recommend anything but could tell me is my suggestions were good or not. Dumped her. I guess one way to find a good atty is to find a divorced friend, find out if their atty or their ex’s atty were more vicious, and go for that one.

JLeslie's avatar

Is this Q only about assuming the party wanting to leave is being physically abused? I missed that in the original details when I read it.

I’m not divorced, but I know a lot of people who have been. In my experience some things vary quite a bit from state to state. In Florida, if you don’t have children, you can get a quick divorce really easily, unless the laws have changed recently. In some other states you have to wait 6 months to a year from time of filing before you can get your divorce. I am vehemently against this waiting period. Moreover, in some of these states where there is a waiting period, people are advised to stay in the home, because “abandoning” the home might work against them regarding rights to the house.

If someone is being physically abused and being kept practically secluded by a controlling spouse I think there are likely charitable organizations and services that might be able to help or direct the person through the process. There is a statistic of women being killed when they try to leave. They are not wrong about being afraid that it will make their husband furious beyond pale if he finds out. So, women in this situation need to exit fast and in secret. Many times they need to be willing to leave possession behind, and just get out.

Anyway, knowing the laws is very helpful, so talking to a couple of lawyers is worthwhile. As mentioned above some will do an initial visit for free. Just in conversation you’ll learn something to help you. Something about procedure and expectations.

I always say, when you sign the marriage contract you do it without having any papers in front of you about what happens if you break the contract. It’s the only legal document you sign without a contract tibread, and the contract actually changes if you move to another state. It’s a little weird.

Kardamom's avatar

@JLeslie, the Q isn’t specifically about people who are being abused, it’s more in regards to the person wanting or needing to get divorced, but not having a lot of money, either because the couple is poor, or because the person seeking the divorce does not have access to the couple’s money, and the person doesn’t have a personal safety net of friends and family.

Also, some people don’t know how to start the process of divorce, and don’t know where they need to go, or what needs to be done. I imagine the process can be complicated and daunting (and expensive).

Kardamom's avatar

@rebbel My own experience with friends and relatives needing to get a divorce, have been mostly when the husband was mentally abusive, and/or was cheating on the wife. In some of the cases, the husband had wanted their wives to be “stay at home mothers” and to not work outside of the home.

My cousin’s husband somehow managed to lock their joint bank account, so that she no longer had access to any money. I have no idea of the legality if this, I just know that my cousin had to come to family members to borrow money to start her divorce proceedings. Some people are not lucky enough to have friends or family to help out.

JLeslie's avatar

If they are poor, but both agree on terms, there is probably legal paperwork that can be filled out on their own, and then pay court fees. The only complication might be if they have children, the court might have additional requirements. I would call the court house and just start asking questions.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Go to a Councillor who will help you with resources and a safe place to live before the ax falls on the marriage. Some partners are dangerous when money loss is involved.

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